Pass through the Museum’s main entrance and step back in time to a more leisurely age when entertainment was ‘live’.
From the late Victorian era onwards, fairgrounds with their brightly lit rides and amusements travelled the country, but it is the music of the fairground which evokes the most lasting memories of these travelling shows. At Cotton we have fine examples of fairground organs by Limonaire and Bruder together with a French made Gavioli, which unusually is still played manually by turning a large wheel.
In the 1920s, dance halls were all the rage and from that decade we have a massive Mortier cafe organ and a later Decap dance organ, featuring saxophones and moving percussions which amuse the children.
The stage houses a mighty Wurlitzer cinema organ which rises on its lift to entertain the crowd just as it did in the 1930s in its original home at Leicester Square Theatre in London.
In Victorian East Anglia, music boxes and hand turned organettes were a large part of domestic musical entertainment. Reflecting this, the Museum has a wide selection of these in all sizes, including the massive ‘orchestra’ box which has its own drum, bells, castanets and wood block.
The social heritage of East Anglia is well represented by the many local bygones and curiosities on display, many acquired by the Museum’s founder, the late Robert Finbow, who devoted many years to building the Cotton Collection you see today.
A warm welcome awaits you at Cotton.