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Mark Hone

Talbot House and its famous piano

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Mark Hone

Mrs H and I have just paid a rather saddening visit with some friends to Talbot House. Mrs H. was a proud early member of the 'Everyman's Piano Club' and has played the famous old piano (with permission) on all of our many visits to Talbot House. However when she handed her treasured and rather dog-eared membership card to gain free entry today she was told 'Sorry, we don't accept those any more'. Ah, well, she thought, sad but nothing lasts forever. However she was really upset when she came to play the piano itself: it is very badly out of tune, some of the keys stick together and it is extremely dirty. She formed the distinct impression that it is being neglected. In the past the management seemed keen to encourage this living link with the past through the creation of the Piano Club and the refurbishment of the instrument itself a few years ago. Now the opposite seems to be true and the piano seems to have been abandoned to its fate. Even for an experienced pianist it is now virtually unplayable. I hope that we're wrong about this.

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Mark Hone

I'm a little surprised that there have been no comments about this. Are there any other members of the now defunct Everyman's Piano Club on the Forum? I wasn't meaning to have a go at the volunteer wardens, who do a sterling job. The piano needs professional attention if it is to remain a viable musical instrument.

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IanA

I missed this thread and was only alerted by a mention in the one about the Yorkshire Trench (which I do not wish to hijack!). I played the piano many years ago but was not enrolled in the 'Everyman's Piano Club' - I'm not joining any club which would have ME as a member! It was stiff, untuned and a bit of a trial to play but my efforts seemed to be appreciated and I also squeezed a hymn or two out of the wee portable harmonium in the loft. Without examining it, I cannot say what ails it but, if the action is sticking, it's probably damp and there are dehumidifiers which can be fitted inside a piano. It deserves an examination by a technician who will be able to give a prognosis. Come on Toc H.

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Pighills

Perhaps you (someone) could set up a "Friends of TOCH Everyman's Piano" and raise funds for its upkeep?

It would be a great shame to lose it.

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303man

I took a small party on a RBL Remembrance Tour and we stayed at Toc H In Aug this year, one of the group was a professional piano tuner, if only I had been pre warned! I even dressed the part and posed by the famous photo.

PQ Talbot House

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JWK

From Belgian TV (they had an (very informative) 8 hour program on WW1 and the Armistice today)

 

Jef Neve playing the piano at Talbot House, from 04:40 (He ends with "That was for them")

https://www.een.be/nooit-meer-ten-oorlog/even-ontsnappen-aan-het-front

(Video doesn't play in my Firefox, but dóes in IE, and I'm outside of Belgium so hopefully it all works for you)

 

1546108537_11talbot.jpg.34ded2c0c52167b1676562ecbcab3eb5.jpg

 

 

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Interested

The link certainly worked for me; the piano sounds fine, looks sounds like something's been fixed in the last 4 years.  Thank goodness.

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IanA

Very good. When I last played it (a few years ago) it clearly needed some work.

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simond9x

Thanks for posting. Very sad and very respectful.

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Gareth Davies

I played it last month. Eric Morecambe's famous line comes to mind.

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Mark Hone

Mrs H was one of the surprise guests who appeared during our 25th annual Bury Grammar School Battlefields Tour in October and she duly accompanied our traditional sing song at Talbot House. She confirmed that the piano is in much better nick than it was a few years ago, although she still mourns the demise of the Everyman's Piano Club. 

Edited by Mark Hone

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