I, as a piano tuner enjoy exploring the history of music as I travel around London for my work. Allow me to share with you what I’ve discovered about Chester Place in Camden town, and its fascinating past. For instance, were you aware that it used to be the epicentre of piano manufacturing? London witnessed the very first piano demonstration, and it was none other than Charles Dibden, a resident of Camden Town, who conducted it. He now rests in the churchyard, nestled between Bayham Street and Camden Street. Interestingly, the piano industry later flourished right in his own neighborhood.
Camden Town making a Dent in the Piano Industry
At that time, piano manufacturers found Camden Town to be an excellent hub for their operations. They could efficiently use the Regent’s Canal for the cost-effective transportation of heavy and bulky pianos. Camden Town’s proximity to the railheads at King’s Cross, Euston, and St Pancras made it an ideal location for both water and rail transportation. Soon, the area quickly evolved into a thriving centre for the piano industry. During its heyday, in addition to manufacturers, there were various small-part makers, including French polishers, piano castor makers, piano stool craftsmen, piano movers, piano tuners, and, of course, salesmen. All of these professionals earned their livelihoods in and around Camden Town and along the Canal.
Unfortunately, in the 1900s, German competition became extremely fierce, and by 1912, German exports of pianos and piano parts had grown to be sixty-five times larger than Great Britain’s. Germany took control of the piano industry, much like Japan would later dominate the electronics industry after the Second World War. During the 1960s, the Koreans initiated piano production and adopted modern machining techniques. They precision-machined parts to within 3 microns, ensuring that every component fit perfectly on the first attempt. This eliminated the need for the skill and time of a fitter, as pianos could be assembled without the need for fitting. This resulted in a significant reduction in production costs. Eventually, even the Royal Academy of Music began purchasing Korean pianos.
AMH Pianos Services London in Camden
Did you know we have an office in Holborn (Boroughs of Camden)? We offer piano servicing, tuning, repairs, restores, removals and we even have lots of pianos for sale. If you need any of our piano-related services or have any questions, then please get in touch with our team in Camden.