A Brief History
The Musical Museum was founded 60 years ago by the late Frank Holland. He started with his own private collection of some half-dozen reproducing pianos, and in 1963 he was given use of the former St George’s Church, Brentford to get the collection under one roof. He was initially allowed use of the premises for only two years, but the museum was still there 40 years later - as was Frank, who had moved into the vestry!
In 1966, the collection was formed into a Charitable Trust as The British Piano Museum, and in the early years, a number of famous pianists who had recorded rolls earlier in the century, came along to the Museum to hear themselves play.
During its existence, the Museum’s collection has grown steadily and it now encompasses a wide range of musical instruments and unique inventions which tell the story of how music was recorded and reproduced through the ages. The Museum has also built up a nationally significant (and growing) collection of over 20,000 music rolls, which are stored and actively curated in a purpose-built library.
The current building was specially designed for the Musical Museum, and was opened in June 2008. The shell of the building was funded by a Heritage Lottery Grant, and the transfer of the collection from the old building and the setting-up of the galleries was carried out entirely by volunteers. In addition to the instrument galleries and roll library, the Museum contains a workshop, concert hall, and a café with views of the river.