Friday 17 August 2018

Mary Kenny: Play on! An 85-year-old family piano has a story of its own to tell

 

Mary Kenny, writer and author. Photo: Tony Gavin
Mary Kenny, writer and author. Photo: Tony Gavin
Mary Kenny

Mary Kenny

Some decades ago - back in the 1930s - my mother acquired an upright piano which pleased her very much. It had, she told me, belonged to the Archbishop of Dublin Dr John Charles McQuaid when he was Dean of Blackrock College, and whether she purchased it from him directly or through another owner wasn't quite clear. (Younger people: if you want to know something about a past episode of your family history, remember to ask while there is still someone alive who can answer. The day will come when there is no one left who knows.)

In any case, it was a German piano, made by Schiedmayer & Soehne of Stuttgart, and '1809' was added to the manufacturer's monogram - although, as has subsequently become evident, that was just the date of the establishment of the company. This upright black piano was probably made in the early 1900s.

I have a vague notion it cost about £25 when Ma bought it (at a time when many people would have earned around a pound a week).

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