Steampipes – November 28th 2019

The London Area Groups of the Ffestiniog, Talyllyn and Welshpool & Llanfair Railways welcome you to a new venue for the Steampipes Show – the 40th show bearing that name. Our stay at The Salvation Army’s William Booth College was short lived as the quoted venue hire fee for this year would have made the show uneconomic.

We are grateful to Len Rawle for putting a good word in for us with The Musical Museum and hope for an extended run here. Because this venue is significantly smaller we are putting on two shows on the same day to accommodate our regular patrons and have been rewarded with a sell out for the afternoon show!

The three railways are extremely grateful for your support of Steampipes over the years and willingness to travel to new venues with us. We are delighted to welcome back Rob Foxon as compere for his fifteenth Steampipes show. A feature of Steampipes has always been the screening of real FILM on a real screen; there’s nothing digital about today’s presentations! We are grateful to Rob both for compiling the programme and providing the specialist projection equipment that allows us to screen the films in the time honoured way.

As a leading railway film historian, Rob is best known for his Railways Remembered presentations now in their 40th year, but he has screened films to enthusiast groups for much longer. Rob became interested in
railway history on film following a chance meeting with John Huntley in the 1960s and has since researched and restored many otherwise lost films. He holds a large collection under the title The Railway Film Archive. Despite his role as compere, Rob has come to enjoy the films every bit as much as the audience!

We are pleased to welcome Len Rawle MBE to the console of the Mighty Wurlitzer pipe organ here in the Musical Museum for this year’s Steampipes show. Len has been our resident organist since 2004 and is widely known for having rescued the Empire, Leicester Square’s Wurlitzer pipe organ and then building his own home around it! He has retained his passion for playing, restoring and re-installing Wurlitzer theatre organs throughout his adult life and has acted as a consultant to many projects around the world. He was for seventeen years the Musical Director of Yamaha UK. He has made over thirty recordings and has numerous broadcasts and television appearances to his credit. In addition to performing on the UK Theatre Organ and Electronic Organ Society circuits, his music has taken him around the world several times, including eleven USA tours. He re-opened the historic organ the famous Tuschinski Theatre, Amsterdam and has inaugurated many other theatre organ transplants including in Holland, Perth in Western Australia and Christchurch, New Zealand. This year has seen another full diary of performances including a tutorial for would-be theatre organists in Geneva. Very much a hands-on enthusiast, Len enjoys keeping the Mighty Wurlitzers in the Woking Leisure Centre, the IOM Arcade in Douglas and the one here at the Kew, Musical Museum, in tip-top condition. Not infrequently, he meets fellow enthusiasts who share a joint fascination for
vintage pipe organs and steam trains. “Long may they both reign,” says he. For his “Services to Music”, Her Majesty the Queen awarded Len the MBE in 2011.

Steve Foxon continues in his position behind the projector managing the technical side of the presentation. As Rob’s son, he has been brought up with films and is himself a professional film archivist.