The Stanhope Collection
© The Stanhope Collection 2018

Player Pianos


There are three instruments in the Collection. These were popular 1900 – 1930 before the age of the gramophone. Paper rolls operate the piano via a pneumatic transmission system. Energy is supplied either electrically or by foot pedals.
There are about 500 rolls here. Some were recorded by composers playing their own works – for example Rachmaninov, Gershwin, Chaminade. There is also a selection of early jazz music: rag time, swing and boogie.
1913 Weber Upright, 88-note Aeolian pedal operated pianola action. Purchased from Chandlers of Rye piano shop in 1966 as fine toned playing instrument complete with working pneumatics. Restored by Reg Richings  in  the 1990s and subsequently by Michael. It has acquired a collection of Ragtime rolls. Selection of early jazz music: rag time, swing and boogie.
1912 Broadwood Upright with Hupfeld 88/65 note pneumatics, pedal operated. It is under restoration. This instrument was rescued by Mike Boyd from outside a N. London pavement, it having been pushed out of a public house.
1928 Gaveau grand piano with electric Ampico roll system. Found by Michael in the family of the Godbers in Mayfield who ordered the instrument from Harrods. Gaveau did not otherwise export to Britain and the combination Ampico-Gaveau is something of a rarity. It was acquired in the Stanhope Collection via a swap with a 1932 4-door Morris with an ohc engine as used by the MG Car Company. During instrument repairs an imperfection in the Ampico installation was found by Michael and corrected. The Gaveau was re-strung in the Stanhope workshops and new hammers fitted and toned by Ben Edwards, a former Steinway technician.