London's East End Synagogues, cemeteries and more......

My personal journey through the Jewish East End of London

The Hyams Brothers and the story of a mighty Wurlitzer cinema organ being brought back to life in the Troxy, Commercial Road
In the former Trocadero (Troxy) cinema in Commercial Road a mighty Wurlitzer cinema organ is being brought back to life.  The Troxy was opened in 1933 by the Hyams brothers and it was one of a string of cinemas they owned throughout London, including the Trocadero in the Elephant and Castle where the newly restored organ originally had its home.  The three Hyams brothers were Phil, Sid and Mick Hyams. Phil, the eldest, started in the cinema trade as a teenager, working in the New Popular Cinema Theatre in the Commercial Road. The New Popular was partly financed by the brothers' father, Hyam Hyams, nephew of the founders of the Grodzinski bakery chain. Phil was joined by his brother Sid and together they built up a small cinema chain.  In 1927 the Hyams converted a vast tram shed into their first super cinema: the 2,700 seat Broadway at Stratford. Of significance was the installation in the Broadway of a modest but highly effective Wurlitzer theatre pipe organ. In 1927 these were a relative novelty in the UK, and the Broadway Wurlitzer was one of the pioneers. In 1928, the Hyams sold their existing cinemas to the newly formed Gaumont British combine and started afresh as H&G Kinemas.  The Hyams brothers went on to open other cinemas, including the Trocadero in Commercial Road and the Trocadero in the Elephant and Castle - both equipped with Wurlitzer organs. 
Sadly the Trocaderos closed in 1960.  The Elephant and Castle Wurlitzer was saved by the Cinema Organ Society and put into storage.  The Commercial Road Wurlitzer was sold off for spare parts and the building became a bingo hall.  Later the organ was installed in Edric Hall on the South Bank, but when that closed for redevelopment in 2004 a new home for the organ was needed. 
By now the grade two listed Trocadero in Commercial Road belonged to the Sharma family and they kindly offered the Cinema Organ Society the use of their magnificent building as a home for the organ.  And so, matters have come full circle as a mighty Wurlitzer once again takes its place in the Commercial Road Trocadero.  This is not the end of the story because considerable funds are still required to complete the installation.  If you want to know more, or wish to donate, please contact the Cinema Organ Society via their website:

Above: the mighty Wurlitzer in situ today in the Troxy, Commercial Road

Above: The Troxy, Commercial Road, its magnificent interior and exterior today.