With a family name that is synonymous with the very heart of the organ scene here and overseas, Len Rawle has the benefit of a family steeped in the tradition of theatre organ preservation. More than 40 Theatre organs have passed through the 'saving' hands of the Rawle's! Following his rebuilding of the Granada Harrow Wurlitzer, he recently completed the transplant of a mighty Wurlitzer in the Isle of Man. For many years he has maintained the large Wurlitzers at Kilburn and Woking and successfully headed up a £40,000 project to raise the long entombed Granada Tooting Wurlitzer in South London, one of the most significant restoration projects in the UK. It is one of the most famous of broadcasting Wurlitzers still in its original home.
Born in Tonypandy, South Wales in 1938, Len's classical training, starting at age 4, came from the London College of Music in Cardiff. Later his studies transferred to London where he also came into contact with many leading organists. He was also fortunate in having the UK's first residence based WurliTzer, transplanted from the Granada Wandsworth Road London, into the family home at Northolt, Middlesex.
At the time he met his wife to be, Judith, he was planning to save the famous 4 manual WurliTzer from the Empire Theatre, Leicester Square…..It became the centrepiece of their own, self-built home at Chorleywood, Hertfordshire!! Described by many, as the finest sounding residence WurliTzer in the World, he has recorded, broadcast and televised this, one of the largest WurliTzers in Europe, many times. Two particular highlights, were, appearing on the very first 'The Organist Entertains' BBC Programme (plus many subsequent ones) also in the much celebrated and often repeated Sir John Betjamin BBC T.V. documentary 'Metroland'. Poet Roger MacGough formerly of ‘The Scaffold’, Judith Chalmers and even the Blue Peter team` have also recorded documentary programmes with Len. He also appeared in Carlton TV's 'The Mighty Organ' and with historian Lucinda Lampton for the award winning series ‘Sublime Suburbia’. More recently historian Dan Cruikshank visited the homes of those who new or worked with Sir John Betjamin, not surprisingly, Len was again featured at his fine Wurlitzer installation during BBC2’s ‘Betjeman and I’. David Dimbleby has also conducted an interview with Len at the Granada Tooting for the BBC series ‘How We Built Britain’. He has also been seen at the Tooting Wurlitzer in a Channel 4 presentation.
Len was Musical Director for Yamaha UK for 17 years. As 'Mr Yamaha' he helped establish the UK electronic organ market and specified the design of their organs for Western Europe. He also structured a network of over 100 music schools and trained 400 teachers. This in turn led to over 11,000 students being taught on a weekly basis!