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Welcome to The Amersham Fair Organ Museum

Preserving Fairground Organs for your pleasure

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Welcome to the Amersham Fair Organ Museum, one of our town’s best kept secrets! The collection was founded by Albert Edward ‘Ted’ Reed (1926 – 2022) who had a keen interest in steam engines and fairground equipment – notably mechanical organs. From the 1960s onward Ted expanded his collection to encompass the instruments on display at the Museum today.

In 2004 a charitable trust was formed in order to safeguard the future of this iconic collection and make it available to the public, it is a lasting tribute to Ted Reed, whose dedication and foresight in preserving fairground organs and their traditional music will ensure that this important part of Britain’s heritage is secure for future generations to enjoy.

Check out our what’s on page for latest information and events.

What is a fairground organ?

Mechanical ‘fairground’ organs were used by travelling amusement proprietors at the turn of the 20th century in order to provide music for their rides. These instruments work on the same principle as the pipe organ found within churches, with pressurised air being passed through actions and pipework, thus creating the sound. Instead of being played by means of an organist at a keyboard, the organs ‘read’ a perforated cardboard book, paper roll or pinned cylinder which is then communicated to the action in the usual way.

Unfortunately, mechanical organs fell out of favour in the 1930s when low-cost amplified records became available; many instruments were simply destroyed or salvaged for parts, thankfully some survived into the preservation age. In recent years there has been a resurgence in the popularity of mechanical organs, with many showmen bringing their instruments back into commission for the enjoyment of their patrons once more.

Plan Your Visit

Find us

The Amersham Fair Organ Museum
28 Plantation Road
Amersham
Buckinghamshire
HP6 6HJ

Amersham-on-the-Hill, the home of the Amersham Fair Organ Museum is roughly 30 miles northwest of London and is easily accessible by car and public transport.

AFOM Map

Public Transport

The Amersham Fair Organ Museum is approximately a 0.75 mile walk from Amersham [AMR] railway station, which is served by London Underground Metropolitan Line trains from Baker Street and Aldgate and Chiltern Railways services between London Marylebone and Aylesbury/ Aylesbury Vale Parkway.

On Sundays, Carousel Buses service 1A operates hourly between Hemel Hempstead and High Wycombe via Amersham, connecting with the West Coast main line and Chiltern Railways services from Banbury and Birmingham to London respectively. Alight at either Hervines Road (near the Boot and Slipper public house) or Amersham Station and the Museum is about a 0.75 mile walk from either.

Car

From the M40 – Leave at Junction 2 and follow the A355 North towards Amersham. At the bottom of Gore Hill, at the roundabout take the third exit onto the A413, following the A404 Watford directions. Go across the next roundabout and up Stanley Hill. Turn left at the mini  roundabout (signposted Chesham), go under the railway bridge, take the first exit off the next roundabout, then immediately right into Plantation Road. The entrance to the Museum is about half a mile away on the right.

From M25 clockwise – exit at junction 16 onto the M40 Oxford bound. Leave at junction 2 and then follow the M40 directions above.

From M25 anti-clockwise – exit at junction 18 and turn right at the end of the slip road onto the A404 towards Amersham. Follow the road through Chorleywood and Little Chalfont. After passing the Audi dealership, turn right at the mini roundabout (signposted Amersham-on-the-Hill and Chesham), go under the railway bridge, take the first exit off the next roundabout, then immediately right into Plantation Road. The entrance to the Museum is about half a mile away on the right.

From the A41 southbound – leave at the A416 Chesham exit and follow the A416 through Chesham towards Amersham. At the Boot and Slipper public house, turn left at the roundabout onto Rickmanswoth Road (signposted Rickmansworth/ Watford A4154). At the twin mini roundabouts, turn left onto Sycamore Road, then right at the next roundabout into Grimsdell’s Lane. The Museum entrance is on the left in about half a mile where it becomes Plantation Road.

hilary d
hilary d
5 March 2023
The Amersham Fair Organ Museum 5.3.23 We came to the museum for the free open day,my friend had told me about it as she had visited before. We had a lovely time listening to the different organs on display,enjoying all the tunes of yesteryear,with a lovely cuppa and cake!
Inspire42158747373
Inspire42158747373
2 February 2020
Found a real jewel of a place on our doorstep How could we not have known of this great place after living nearby for over 30 years! We found out via IANVISITS a web based guide to Whats On. Starting with working out why the SatNav didn't locate it to walking around the corner and seeing their signpost; traditional signposts always work when your phone fails you. Led in by the sound of organ pipes playing traditional melodies we were greeted by a cuppa and cake to spend listening to 4 hours of delightful music from these beautifully restored fair organs. We even won a prize in the raffle. Go find this time machine and be whisked back to a time when automation was first replacing musicians, perhaps the first AI. Keep restoring and preserving these wonderful pieces of automation and they will live forever to enliven future generations lives.
DrStrange888
DrStrange888
23 July 2019
Amazing The Amersham organ museum is a sight to behold it has a stunning collection of organs and friendly stewards.
SallyM2013
SallyM2013
22 September 2018
Follow the music In an unassuming building, it's easy to miss - you need to follow the sound of the music to find it. Once inside, you can buy a cup of tea and a cake, take a seat and enjoy the sounds of fairground organs from yesterday, but get there early as it can get busy. There are only limited open days.
rentaquote
rentaquote
14 June 2018
Museum of mystery With its limited opening hours, obscure location and lack of information about its exhibits, this is a museum of much mystery. I've been twice and discovered nothing about the collection of organs. All I can tell you is that they are beautifully crafted and make one hell of a noise! Housed in anonymous shed on an industrial estate, the museum is unknown even to many lifelong Amersham residents. On its handful of open days - typically the first Sunday of the month from November to March - members of the public are allowed in to listen to the organs. Admission is free, tea costs £1 and cake is £1.50. It's fun to marvel at the sophistication of the seven mighty music machines. But it would be far more interesting if one knew even a little of their history and how they came to be here. How hard would it be to provide an A4 sheet for each organ giving some basic information about it? The museum website is no help. For many months it has been promising that a comprehensive history of the organs will be 'coming soon'. It takes a trawl through various third party websites to discover that the Amersham museum houses the personal collection of organ enthusiast Ted Reed and has taken 50 years to assemble. Definitely worth a visit, but a bit more information would be a bonus.
ThisisMe
ThisisMe
7 January 2018
What a gem! I heard it advertised on the local radio. They only open on occasional Sundays. It's free. It's hidden. It's unique. It's bizarre. It's fun.... we took our three children aged 7, and 5 year old twins and they were totally taken aback. The music is SO loud. You just go there, but a cuppa and cake, sit down and relax and enjoy the music. I've never seen anything like it. We were shown around by one of the fabulous volunteers and they explained how they work... oh! What a wonderful day to spend a freezing cold January Sunday afternoon.
Witchazel_11
Witchazel_11
20 August 2017
Fab...u...lous What a great place and novel way to spend the afternoon. Nothing to be negative about. The whole experience was wonderful and I would totally recommend it.
Andy S
Andy S
13 February 2017
Good cold day visit Anyone been to a steam fair in the summer. If you can remember seeing the organs, this museum houses many of the organs. In the winter, once a month it is possible to visit and hear them play. It's an amazing experience for people of any ages. The drinks and cakes were nothing special but Amersham has some great tea places, restaurants and pubs.
Sceptre1902
Sceptre1902
9 January 2017
An unusual Sunday musical treat Secret gem hidden in an industrial estate, it's more a collection of working organs than a museum. On occasional Sundays the beautifully decorated machines are cranked up to belt out raucous tunes, while you can sit and listen with a cuppa and some excellent home made cake. Make sure to peek round the back and see how the music is fed into the machinery.