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Forrest's 65 Key Gavioli Fairground Organ

The famous organ builders GAVIOLI of Paris were responsible for the craftsmanship that went into the building of this beautiful hand - carved mechanical instrument.

Built in 1895 for the firm of William Hoadley & Son of Barrow it has travelled the fairgrounds ever since.

The superb 65 Key organ was built to stand in the centre of the magnificent set of three-abreast Gallopers built by Savages of Kings Lynn Norfolk the previous year 1894.

The Gallopers and Organ were taken from fair to fair behind a Mammoth Steam Traction Engine named DREADNOUGHT. When the fair was in full swing the engine's other job was to generate the power for the Gallopers' electric lights.

The Gallopers, Organ and Engine were bought from Matilda Hoadley in 1921 by Swales Forrest of Gravesend Kent. The set travelled together until the beginning of the second World War when DREADNOUGHT was replaced by an ARMSTRONG SAURER haulage tractor.

In 1962 the organ was taken to Holland to be rebuilt by Mr.G.Perlee of Amsterdam.

The Gallopers and Organ can still be seen travelling the fairgrounds of the London and Home Counties area


Other Items

A CD of this organ is now available. It contains 24 tracks and is priced at £10.00. They can be purchased from John where ever the ride is, or by emailing me if you can't locate him.

Tapes of the Gavioli are available from John, and are priced at £5.00 each.

To hire the Ride and Organ,

Go to John's new website at:


call John Forrest on:

07885 475916
Email Me

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.


Places to See Forrest's Gavioli and Ride in 2004



9th-13th April Blackheath Easter Funfair Blackheath, Southeast London
4th-6th June  Rochester Dickens Festival   Castle Gardens


Images of the Organ

Organ and Ride at the 1975 Medway Steam Fair on the Great Lines.   This picture is copied from the cover of a 1971 album (LP) of the organ. Photographed by Bernard Mattimore.

A recent picture of the Gavioli. Compare the colours with the earlier pictures.


Again, the organ looking immaculate after the restoration and re-paint.


The key frame, which is located on the right hand side, just behind the snare drum.

  This and the next two pictures are captured from a camcorder video taken in 2001

The following pictures were taken of the organ and ride at the Dickens Festival in Rochester Kent.    On June 1st - 3rd 2001

This picture was taken at the Dickensian Christmas festival in the Rochester Castle gardens on my old SLR camera in 2002. John liked the picture so much that he uses it to advertise the ride.   This view was taken at the same time. The ride had only just been uncovered and the lights turned on. It was a very cold December morning and the public were yet to start arriving.

The next three pictures were taken at the 2003 Detling Steam and Vintage Vehicle Rally. It was the hottest day ever recorded at 101 f and all organs were suffering from the heat.


This picture of the ride was given to me by John, and it shows how it looked prior to the most recent refurbishment.


This picture was supplied by the Emerson family who used to own an almost identical organ. It appears to be an early picture of Forrest's Gavioli, possibly taken while it was stored at the Wingham engineering works during the 1970s.


This picture was also supplied by the Emersons of Barrow. It is more recent and shows the organ during a period when John occasionally took it to steam rallies on a trailer without the ride. Note the excellent  oil paintings at the bottom left and right, which were the works of John himself.

  This is a quick glimpse of the sister organ when it was still owned by the Emerson family. This organ will be featured in more detail on another page. There are a few other 65 key Gavioli's in the world but as far as I know these are the only two in the UK.
Pictures on this site are available for Personal Use only