When Pianos Ruled The World

Thursday 16 July 2009

Now that I’m the proud custodian of a piano, I’m starting to notice more pianophernalia in my neighbourhood. Down the street a way is this fine old advertisement for Boyd Pianos, one of many defunct piano companies, from the days when piano merchants hawked their wares on walls and billboards.

The Ghost Signs blog has a more thorough analysis of this rather unusual sign, and comments:

In addition to their main piano business Boyd also had a sideline in theatre box office ticket sales. Perhaps this relates in some way to them supplying pianos to theatres and this being a natural bolt on service they could offer to the theatres and the public?

When I saw the phrase “Box office for all theatres”, I thought it was mid-century adspeak meaning that theatre owners could pack in the punters if they have a piano; but maybe that turn of phrase was too American to make sense to the English.

There’s another, less elaborate wall advertisement for a piano store in Willesden Green. This became the inspiration for my composition St Paul’s Pianos.