hosted on condor3913
 Mechanical Music Digest  Archives
You Are Not Logged In Login/Get New Account
Please Log In. Accounts are free!
Logged In users are granted additional features including a more current version of the Archives and a simplified process for submitting articles.
Home Archives Calendar Gallery Store Links Info

End-of-Summer Fundraising Drive In Progress. Please visit our home page to see this and other announcements: https://www.mmdigest.com     Thank you. --Jody

MMD > Archives > January 2015 > 2015.01.13 > 01Prev  Next


Aeolian Company in the UK
By Rowland Lee

Tom Sendall, in his posting regarding Aeolian in the UK [150108 MMD],
mentions that the plant in Hayes has been demolished; I am pleased
to report that this is only partially true.  Although most of the site
was indeed cleared in the 1970s, with the loss of the Universal Music
Roll plant, the Vocalion Records building, the power house and other
smaller structures, the original building -- the Weber piano factory
of 1909 -- still stands.

It is a substantial structure, 19 bays in length and 4 storeys high,
built of reinforced concrete clad in red brick with some stone
dressings.  Huge arched windows (a trademark of architect Walter
Cave) span alternately single and double bays on the top floor.  The
main entrance is a grand portal, a bit like a Norman church entrance,
a big arch with several rows of masonry stepped further and further
back, leading to a big timber door with diamond-shaped panels.  The
building is now split into small rentable units and is protected by
being listed (grade II) although its condition has deteriorated
somewhat.

Most of the buildings on the site were designed by noted architect
Walter Cave (1863-1939), who had designed Aeolian Hall in London
in 1903.  Subsequently in London he designed the Bechstein Piano
Showrooms (now part of the Wigmore Hall) and premises for Chappell's,
the music publishers, opposite Aeolian Hall in Bond Street (the
Chappell's building was destroyed by fire in the 1950's).  His most
famous London Building is the former headquarters for Burberry, in
The Haymarket.

Although Cave had, as a young man, achieved a certain musical fame
for designing an Arts and Crafts upright piano for Bechstein, he was
an odd choice of architect for Aeolian as he was principally known
as a 'society' builder, designing seductive medium-sized country
houses and gardens, at least one of which had an Aeolian Pipe organ
installed at the time of building (opus 1081, Frank Lawson, Ewelme
Down Berkshire, 1908); Further research may reveal a connection to
the Orchestrelle company via one of his early clients.

His planning was sensible and functional, making the most of limited
space, while the internal detailing of his buildings is always of
the very highest standard.  It would appear that the success of his
Aeolian Hall commission led to his other London commissions; The
Orchestrelle/Aeolian plant at Hayes was certainly his only large
industrial commission.

Rowland Lee


(Message sent Sun 11 Jan 2015, 13:12:21 GMT, from time zone GMT-0800.)

Key Words in Subject:  Aeolian, Company, UK

Home    Archives    Calendar    Gallery    Store    Links    Info   


Enter text below to search the MMD Website with Google



CONTACT FORM: Click HERE to write to the editor, or to post a message about Mechanical Musical Instruments to the MMD

Unless otherwise noted, all opinions are those of the individual authors and may not represent those of the editors. Compilation copyright 1995-2022 by Jody Kravitz.

Please read our Republication Policy before copying information from or creating links to this web site.

Click HERE to contact the webmaster regarding problems with the website.

Please support publication of the MMD by donating online

Pay via PayPal

No PayPal account required

                                     
Translate This Page