If you travel on the road from Ashbourne towards Buxton, after about two miles you'll see a left turn to Thorpe. As you enter the village, you'll see a garage with a rather unusual sign. In addition to advertising its fuel prices, it mentions a Compton organ. You have reached "Pipes in the Peaks" at Dovedale Garage.

The organ in question started life at the Regal/ABC cinema in Derby before being sold for 200 to an enthusiast in Castle Donnington (that's near to Nottingham East Midlands Airport). In 1990, it was bought by Dave Thorp who transported it to Thorpe, an undertaking which involved nineteen trips in a small van. He had no experience of either removing or rebuilding such an instrument but, over the next ten years, every component was restored. A showroom, designed to accommodate cars, the organ and other curios, was added to the existing garage and a turntable lift was installed (originally from the Birmingham Odeon), together with staging from the Chesterfield Regal.

In 1999, the opening took place and visitors could not only hear the sound of the organ but also see it rise from "underground" in the manner which was commonplace in cinemas in days gone by. Since then, there have been more additions to the set up and a regular series of concerts takes place.

A group of us from Ashbourne attended the June event which not only gave us a marvellous musical experience but had the added advantages of an excellent barbecue served at half time plus a well stocked bar.

If you are in the area, one of these concerts is not to be missed. You'll find details on the website ( ) or a phone contact can be made on either 01335 350 258 or 0777 800 5729

The photographs below give some idea of what is on offer.

Jon Layne
Secretary Ashbourne Section CROCA