AN ARTICLE by a Chester-based organist and writer about the restoration of a much loved cinema organ which once entertained thousands of film fans in Chester has been published in a magazine on the other side of the world,

To accompany the publication, pages from the Chester Standard, in which the article was first published, will be on display in a theatre in Australia.

Contributer to popular website Chestercinemas, Paul Crofts wrote an article about the restoration of the 81-year-old organ from Chester’s much-missed Regal ABC cinema and how it is now being played to a whole new generation of film fans at the Majestic Theatre in Queensland, Australia.

Chester and District Standard:

Joseph Storer at the organ in 1950

As well as it being published in local newspapers, on the Chester Cinemas website, and widely shared on social media, it was also be picked up by The New Zealand Film Buffs Association and re-produced in a recent edition of their magazine.

Speaking about the amount of interest in the article both in print and on social media, Paul said: “I have always loved History and have been playing the organ since the age of 10 so being able to combine my interest in both in one article was really special.

"The response to it has been incredible, as well as the fantastic coverage in our local newspapers and online, I was contacted by the New Zealand Film Buffs Association asking for my permission to publish it in their quarterly magazine, something I would never dreamed of happening. They very kindly recently sent me a copy of the magazine, it was brilliant to see the article reproduced in a publication on the other side of the world."

Chester and District Standard:

The Compton organ back entertaining audiences in Australia

Paul added: "I also sent a copy of the Chester newspapers in which the article first appeared to The Majestic Theatre in Pomona, Queensland in Australia, where the newly restored organ takes pride of place and they tell me that they are going to display the pages of the newspaper in the theatre with other items of memorabilia connected to the theatre’s long history.

"Ron West, the theatre’s resident organist contacted me to say that an audience member at a recent film showing asked about the organ and was amazed when told it was from Chester as she lived here as a girl and remembered hearing it being played in the Regal all those years ago, an incredible co-incidence and such a lovely story. I’d also like to thank former Regal Cinema projectionist and one of the co-founders of the Chester Cinemas website Peter Davies for the use of the historical photographs and his reminiscences about the organ and the cinema which all added to the article."

Chester and District Standard:

Paul Crofts with the magazine containing his article

The Majestic Theatre has been enjoying the fame the organ has brought with it.

A spokesman said: "After much press coverage in the Chester Standard and other newspapers across UK & NZ about our wonderful 1937 Compton Organ, we have now hit the radio waves at Oldham Community Radio UK.

"Ian Wolstenholme who has been presenting "Community Keyboards" On Oldham Radio for over 20 years has given the magnificent Majestic Theatre a mention on his program and aired a performance of our famous organ that was recorded live in 1960 at its original home at the ABC Regal Theatre in Chester. Ian has sent us a copy and it will be played this coming Friday on Noosa FM. Also for all the organ fans a couple of quirky tracks from Japanese Organist Isao Tomita the electronic guru of the 1970s will be aired."

Paul also contacted Organist Norman Scott who was the last regular organist to play the instrument at The Regal before it was shipped off to Australia. Norman wrote back to Paul telling him about the final days of the organ at the Regal Cinema on Foregate Street and to his surprise, sent him a recording of the instrument being played by Liverpool theatre Organist, the late Charles Smitton at a meeting of The Theatre Organ Club held at the cinema in 1964. An excerpt from the recording and the history of the organ has since featured on internet based radio show “Community Keyboards”, presented by broadcaster Ian Wolstenholme. News of Paul’s article and it’s coverage in the Uk and New Zealand together with part of the 1964 recording has also featured in a programme presented by The Majestic Theatre’s events and community liaison coordinator Alison Hadfield on Australian Community Radio Station Noosa FM, based in Queensland.

Full details of the history of the Chester ABC Regal Cinema and organ together with a wealth of information about all of Chester’s long lost Cinemas can be found at