Where have all the pianos gone? Not to our living rooms, apparently. With sales of acoustic pianos falling to around 4,000 a year across the UK, Harrods has now taken the decision to close its 118 year old piano department. According to Harrods, pianos no longer ‘warrant the space’ in the shop. ‘If a customer wanted to buy a piano, we would deal with it, but we’d do it on a case-by-case basis,’ a spokesperson said. And The Times newspaper quotes one wistful employee as saying: ‘Pianos don’t do as well as handbags.’ In the early 20th century, Camden Town alone had 100 small-scale piano factories and workshops employing 6,000 people and around 14,000 of the instruments sold annually up until the late 60’s. Rebecca Taylor
But for those who love nothing better than a tinkle on the ivories, there are still some lovely independent piano shops out there. Here are some of our favourites:
This family run business offers two floors of grands, uprights, and digital pianos, as well as piano stools, other accessories, practice rooms and a tuning service.
Blüthner can trace its lineage back to 19th century Germany and its grand pianos have graced many a concert stage around the world. It also offers restoration and repairs, as well as tuning and teaching services.
The exclusive dealer in London for the classic Schimmel pianos, as well as secondhand modern pianos by manufacturers including Yamaha, Steinway and Fazioli. It offers a hire service and three sound insulated rooms for practice or concerts.
Markson is a third generation-run family business that has operated for over 100 years. It offers a wide range of pianos, as well as hire, restoration and tuning services.
Hecksher & Co
Although it sells piano parts, not pianos themselves, Heckscher & Co, in Bayham Street, Camden, is worth a mention as it is almost the sole survivor of the traditional piano industry in Camden Town. The firm started in Germany in 1869 and moved to England in 1883, where they set up as piano manufacturers in the West End. Today they offer replacement wires of all gauges, green baize, new keys and any other services required to keep your Old Joanna going.
Do you know any good piano shops? Let us know.