Recent National Meetings

Spring Meeting 2018, Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire - Highlights

Based at the Petwood Hotel with its World War II RAF associations, and the 617 ‘Dam Busters’ Squadron.  As a consequence, the Squadron Bar today boasts a range of memorabilia and tributes to Guy Gibson VC, Leonard Cheshire VC and Officers.Friday afternoon saw us gathering at the Burtey Fen collection near Spalding for a two-part concert on the 1934 Compton and 1929 Wurlitzer cinema organs.  We also heard a fairground organ, designed and built by Denis Matthews.  The collection also includes a 76 speaking stops pipe organ – made up of a combination of several other previous organs, the pipework coming from the organ made for the Charterhouse School Chapel in 1872 by the German organ builder, Edmund Schultze.  The cinema organs were very skilfully played by Tom Horton, making his first appearance at Burtey Fen, whilst above him was a huge screen so that we could see his fingers playing the banks of notes and operating the various stops. Saturday morning, we paid a visit to the Bubble Car Museum, bubble cars being ‘a significant part of British motoring history’. And a display of a number of other old familiar items from the 1950s & ‘60s.  From here we travelled to a nearby private collection of mechanical music and classic cars including a superb Derby Bentley, a couple of Armstrong Siddeleys, a lovely Riley saloon and a wonderful Calthorpe car of the twenties with a most precarious-looking dickey seat.  Others in the collection include an Austin 7 and a number of Rolls Royces. After lunch we were treated to the music from many instruments including a 1910 Ruth concert organ, the gigantic Hupfeld Helios orchestrion, a Bluthner Grand Piano, a Poppers Happy Jazz Band and a Philipps Pianella orchestrions, a number of street and café barrel pianos and a Racca Piano Melodico, as well as an exquisite example of a Bremond cylinder musical box and Steinway Welte reproducing piano, playing the early style of red paper rolls. The traditional Society dinner on the Saturday evening was followed by a short concert given by the Horncastle Ukulele Group. Sunday morning was occupied by a ‘show and tell’ session starting with a video recording of a film by the late Bob Minney of the collection of his lifelong friend, Norman Woodford.  The demonstrated talks included the musical movement to a clock base; a Capital ‘cuff’ style C from c.1895, its single comb has 81 teeth and it was imported from the USA along with 17 cuffs; a piano forte cylinder box from about 1850, with a serial number of 1184; a Lecoultre-Granger 6 air box from about 1842, with a cylinder containing long, short and intermediate pins.  There followed an up-date on the new museum being created in Moscow.  The first group of visitors to this is likely to be composed of members of the MBSGB, as they will be invited on a ‘pilot visit.’  The morning ended with a presentation about a musical movement constituting a ‘work in progress’ – and the work to date was stunning.

Spring Meeting 2017, Ironbridge, Shropshire - Highlights

  • Time to admire the historic, and naturally beautiful, Ironbridge Gorge near Telford and see the original "Iron Bridge".
  •  On Saturday we were all provided with a group passport ticket enabling us to visit the majority of attractions in the area including:-
  • Blists Hill Victorian Village.
  • Coalport China Museum
  • Museum of the Gorge
  • Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron 
  • and many more.
  • Sunday morning we returned to the private room in the hotel for a series of workshops:-
  • Roy Evett continued his presentation on the simple maintenance of disc musical boxes
  • Kath Turner, talked about how she had restored, an unusual automaton with musical movement, with a monkey cycling to the accompaniment of an animal orchestra.
  • Gordon Bartlet demonstrated two serinettes, one from c.1820, probably made in Mirecourt in France and the second a modern reconstruction.
  • Terry Longhurst demonstrated two cylinder boxes on the theme of trills, one from around 1832, possibly by LeCoultre, the other, a Ducommun-Girod around 1850, serial number 26085, played eight airs on a 13" cylinder.
  • John Phillips demonstrated his jig for setting Symphonion gantries
  • Finally, we were all entertained by a video of Joe Rinaudo playing the American photoplayer.

Autumn Meeting 2016, Hampshire - Highlights

  • Saturday - West Dean College for the day with the following presentations:-
  • Malcolm Archer Talking about the restoration of a George Pyke organ clock with automata now in the Temple Newsham Museum.
  • The care and repair of musical box discs by two Society members.
  • Jean-Marc Lebout, from Brussels, about French cylinder musical box manufacturers Pierre-Henri Paur, August L’Epée, David Cadet, Alexandre Soualle, and Clément Fils & Cie.
  • Finally a member's advice and tips on restoring cases
  • Saturday evening in the hotel - ‘show and tell’ items, including:-
  • an usual box by David Lecoultre, with hidden drums and bells, and expression delivered by long and short pins
  • an unusual Chapuis Zoller four-air box, with two combs of 52 teeth each, with the teeth in pairs, driven by a fusée motor between plates
  • a Paillard interchangeable box, with four cylinders, each playing five airs
  • Concluding on Sunday with a visit to the Hollycombe Working Steam Museum. The steam train ride proved to be very popular, as were many of the fairground rides. There were also several fairground organs to enjoy, including a Pell and McCarthy featured alongside a Gavioli and Limonaire.. Dating from the 1870s, the oldest known ride in the UK, Mr Field’s Steam Circus,  resides at Hollycombe, accompanied by probably the oldest Gavioli in this country.