On the first Sunday of the winter months, in a little corner of Amersham, the members of the Amersham Fair Organ Society hold public open days. These are where members of the public are welcomes and can watch and listen to the different fair organs that look after in a small hall on an industrial estate.
A fair ground organ was the way of producing musical entertainment at travelling fairs before each ride could have its own music. On the outside, some of them have automaton figures that play drums, hit cymbals or triangles, to create the sound. The organ pipes which form the main sound are also often on display.
These magnificent, highly detailed and painted, instruments produce music which is programmed from punched cards which are fed into their mechanism very much like a musical box. However, they are on a grander scale and designed to produce sounds over the noise of a busy fairground. Each of the organs has their own distinctive sound. As well as the organs, one was piano sounding and another has brass horns and bells to create the sound.
Inside the hall there are eight such machines of various sizes around the outside. In the middle, there are tables and chairs so that you can sit and enjoy a cup of tea and a bit of cake much like a cabaret. Then in turn each organ was powered up and played for about 20 minutes. The musical rolls included a nice selection of classical and pop items such as ABBA.
Parking was a bit tricky but the entrance and hall has flat access. Although closed now until November the public open days are free to attend but they would appreciate you buying a cup of tea and making a donation to help with their restoration projects.