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This Mortier organ, Serial number 1023 was built circa 1926 in Antwerp, Belgium by the firm of Theofiel Mortier For a dance hall at Kluisberg near Antwerp - Hence the continental name for the organ "De Kluisberg".
The organ has had several ownership's. It was once owned by a company that would take it out in pieces and build it up in halls and marquees. We also know that the organ was once owned by Mr Oscar Grymonprez.

Having survived the ravages of time, the second world war, and the fate of so many large organs being cut down to make smaller ones the organ was eventually sold to Mr G Perlee, the famous Dutch organ builder, and it was an occasional attraction in the Jordaan district of Amsterdam.

After a great deal of persuasion Mr Perlee sold the organ to the Late David Barlow, an old and trusted friend who brought the organ to England in 1962 in pieces on the back of a Bedford Lorry to the Wingham Engineering Company, of which he was Managing Director, with the help of Tom Boorman, who was a Manager also at Wingham Engineering.

The organ was built up at first in the main workshop at Wingham where a few concerts were held. Later on that year it was built onto a mobile trailer.

Whilst in Mr Barlow's ownership the organ made appearances at Traction Engine rallies, Street collections and the fairgrounds of the Forrest family.

After the tragic death of Mr Barlow in 1967 the organ passed into the ownership of Roger Burville, a good friend of Mr Barlow's. With help from friends and family Roger and his wife Penny have been able to keep the organ on the road. During this time it has raised well over £100,000 for various charities, the main one being The Cancer Research Campaign, travelling as far as the Isle of Wight, Dorset and North Yorkshire in the process.

The organ is 28ft (8.5m) long and 20ft (6m) high when fully built up, with a travelling height of 14ft 9" (4.5m). It weighs about 8 tons.

The organ has 101 keys which control 19 Registers, or stops and over 750 pipes. It is fully chromatic.

An outstanding feature of the organ is its completely original hand carved wooden front. This was repainted to its original colour scheme by Mr R. Hogben of Wingham in 1970.

the organ can be seen out and about during the summer at various Traction Engine Rallies such as the Sellindge Steam Special, during the spring bank holiday weekend, The Festival of Transport at Hellingly during the August Bank Holiday weekend and The Great Dorset Steam Fair during the week following the August Bank Holiday. It can also be seen at Christmas time in the Cities of Rochester and Canterbury.

Sometimes we have a stage in front of the organ and we have Can-Can Dancers dancing to the music of the organ.

A troupe of dancers that regularly dance with us is the Pauline Reader Dancers.

Notes by: Matthew Lawrence.

Recordings of the Mortier

Roger has asked me to mention that he now has two volumes of the "Mortier Magic" CD available at £10.00 each.
If you can't reach Roger you can email me by clicking HERE


Due to private problems, Roger has been forced to put the Mortier up for sale. I can give no further details at this time but you can see the sale notice by visiting this site. CLICK HERE

Images of the Organ

The Organ, complete with top section and original tractor unit.

  A splendid sight, even without the top.  As it appeared at the 1975 Medway Steam Fair on the Great Lines.

The Mortier Organ Crew and The Pauline Reader Dancers at Sellindge 1999.


The dancers performing at Sellindge.


These three pictures were taken at The Beltring Vehicle Pageant on 28th July 2001.


The ERF truck which pulls the Mortier, and carries the AC generator.   Sellindge 2002.

These three pictures were taken in Canterbury City Centre on December 14th 2002.


This excellent picture of Kluisberg floodlit was taken at the Great Dorset Steam Festival 2003.          Photo by Claude Bourgeois.

  Also at Dorset 2003. On the left is Roger and on the right is Claude Bourgeois, who is an organ owner from France.

These three pictures are at the 2003 Detling Steam and Vintage Vehicle Rally and the temperature was a scorching 101f.  I asked Roger why the organ was playing so well in such intense heat, then before he could answer, I noticed his son crawling under the trailer with a bucket of water. He explained that it was for their home made humidifyer.

Pictures on this site are available for Personal Use only