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Emerson's Gavioli

Emerson's 65 Key Gavioli Fairground Organ

The famous organ builders GAVIOLI of paris were also responsible for the craftsmanship that went into the building of this sister organ to Forrests 65 key Gavioli

Built around the same time as Forrests it was supplied to the family( Pipers of Ireland ) from brand new who had the instrument in the center of their gallopers until 1914 when my great grandfather Randall Emerson went over to Ireland from Barrow-in-furness to buy it from them to replace an 89 key Gavioli fairground organ that was in the center of his gallopers.

The organ remained in the gallopers until it was transferred over to the brand new Noah's ark supplied to Emerson & Hazards in 1936 from Lakins. It remained in the center of the ride which was later fitted with motorbikes and then later again the bikes and animals were replaced with waltzer cars supplied from Maxwells.

When the waltzer was sold around 1972 the organ was placed in a lorry and retained by my grandparents Ernie and Rose Emerson and spent the remainder of its life in their ownership as an attraction in the grounds of (Levens Hall) a stately home until 1990 when it was sold to a Showman called Herbert Silcock of Southport who had the organ re-painted and overhauled and it remains in his collection to this day.

Thomas Emerson MacWhannell

Pipes and Registers

Melody 21 notes with Violin F; Piccolo; Glockenspiel.

Counter Melody 17 notes with Baritone and Clarinet.

Accompaniment 10 notes with Open and Stopped Flues.

Bass 6 notes with Open and Stopped Flues plus Reed Trombones.

Percussion: Snare drum (2 keys); Bass Drum and Cymbal (coupled)

The bell ringers arms are controlled by the Bass drum key.

The band leader's left arm and head are controlled by the Cancel key, while her right arm has it's own key.

The Glockenspiel is triggered by the Trombone register.

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Images of the Organ
Descriptions by  Thomas Emerson MacWhannell

This was in 1920 at ULVERSTON , CUMBRIA with the 65 key Gavioli organ in the center of EMERSON & HAZARDS gallopers   This shows the organ in the center of the Noah’s ark in 1956 which had some motor bikes on the ride as well as the original animals

Ex Emerson & Hazards gallopers at Margate 1963 : this was the ride that the gavioli was placed in when it was bought from PIPERS of Ireland around 1914


This is the organ around 1977 in the albion lorry when it was a resident attraction at LEVENS HALL


This is my grandad ERNIE EMERSON around 1970 who took great pride in keeping the organ looking and sounding like the spectacular instrument that it is

  This was in 1966 organ is in the centre of the noah's ark after the top of the centre had been altered
Kendal New Road 1956 : this picture was taken in 1956 at KENDAL . (left) JOHN EMERSON my grandads brother and (right) MR HALL tuning the organ ready for it to be featured in a BBC program that was being made about the lives of traveling showmen called (SEVEN WEEKS OF A SUMMER SEASON) of which the organ provided most of the music for the program.   Another picture of the organ in the albion in 1972 the same year it was taken out of the waltzer

New waltzer cars : this picture was taken in 1967 when the bikes and animals on the Noah,s ark were replaced with waltzer cars from Maxwells but the organ remained in the centre   This was taken about 1900 and is of my great grandparents RANDALL & SUZANAH EMERSON my great grandad RANDALL bought the 65 key Gavioli from PIPERS of Ireland around 1914
This was taken by me in 2003 at MR HERBERT SILCOCKS premises where he has a collection of Gavioli organs including the ex EMERSONS 65 key Gavioli which he now owns and has had refurbished and repainted since it was in our ownership   Quite possibly a picture of the Gavioli around 1900 when it was brand new supplied to Pipers of Ireland

This is the keyframe which the card music passes through to produce the magnificent sound that the organ creates.   This was taken after the drop down side of the lorry had been painted by my uncle ERNEST EMERSON JNR

This was taken at a steam gathering at Flookborough in the late 80s


This was taken in 1981 when the organ was resident at Levens Hall

Three close-ups of the carved figures. Click on each one for a bigger picture.   This was probably the only place where the two 65 key Gavioli's were playing together. Nearest is Emerson & Hazard's gallopers; furthest is Matilda Hoadly's, the year before it was sold to Forrests.
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