The State Compton Organ

One the State's many wonderful features is the original Compton pipe organ. Pipe organs were originally installed in cinemas in the 1920s to provide accompaniment for silent movies but their use continued throughout the 1930s, after the talkies arrived, for musical interludes, incidental music, broadcasts and recordings.

The State's Compton organ in its fully elevated position at front of orchestra pit

The organ consoles were usually elaborate items with ornate carvings or illuminated glass sides, as with the State's organ, and they were usually placed on a lift so that they rose majestically at the front of the auditorium. The State organ console is in the centre of the orchestra pit in front of the stage. The pipes are all underneath the stage and the sound comes through louver shutters and out into the auditorium.

Although the State organ was a typical example of its time, it is now one of the few remaining Compton cinema pipe organs in the country with its original pipe work, percussion, silent movie effects and illuminated glass sides. The organ is one of only a handful of such organs still in a playable condition in their original cinema location. It is therefore an important historical item in itself.


Pipe work and percussion hidden underneath stage, sound shutters visible from behind pipes.