PianoGen A unique collection of historical and practical information about British and other pianos.

The World's Largest Collection of Historical Information
about British Pianos.

When Bill Kibby began tuning pianos in 1963, he was already collecting information about musical instruments, so it was a natural progression to focus his field of interest onto pianos and piano firms. Having left college, he found that there were still many unanswered questions, and as he began seeking solutions, people that he asked for information responded by asking him for other topics, and so his "Piano Archives" service was born in London in the early 1970s.

While living in Essex in the 1980s, Bill also contributed appendices to the Musician's Piano Atlas and its supplement, and was awarded Graduate Membership of the Institute of Musical Instrument Technology, on the basis of his original research work.

Many piano owners, museums, authors, libraries, collectors, descendants of makers, and even the makers themselves, call on our PianoGen service (now based in Lowestoft, at the most easterly point of Britain) for information every day, or pass on enquiries, and we have amassed a unique collection of information, which is used in producing our PianoGen booklets.

The archive includes thousands of prepared pages of text with piano photos and other illustrations of paperwork, pianos, etc.. There is also information on related subjects such as musical instruments, awards and prize medals from exhibitions, pianobilia and many non-piano items of general historical interest. Reference works include various music trades directories, books, Royal Bills, victorian newspapers, magazines, plus a large collection of directory lists, including general lists of London piano firms for every decade.

Think of it as a huge encyclopedia of pianos, but you only buy the pages you want: Much of this was achieved by careful study and logging of descriptions of individual instruments, especially those which were about to be scrapped, burnt or broken up, but the beauty of offering people information on a daily basis is that all sorts of useful bits and pieces arrive here unprompted, and anyone seeking advice on an unusual piano may possibly be a source of useful information too. This means that PianoGen also includes many items which could not be found by active research, since they arrived at random, often by accident.

"Walking With Ghosts"

You can hear Bill Kibby playing guitar or bass on several tracks of David Wright's new album "Walking with Ghosts", which is already rated "Synth Album of the Year" by several outlets. Dave says "If I could play guitar, that's how I would want to play it!". Steve Roberts' write-up says "The second section 'Walking with Ghosts - The Gift' raises the tempo a little with Bill Kibby's guitar gracing the mix before another memorable tune makes an immediate impact upon the listener, while the guitar contributions continue to impress throughout." Audio samples can be found at Dave's site, where the album can also be purchased...


Following a severe bout of glandular fever in 1990, Bill was suffering from M.E. (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) for 14 years, and - almost overnight - went from working 14 hours a day to sleeping 20 hours. In spite of very gradual recovery, the combination of chronic fatigue, muscle and joint pains still made it difficult to travel around tuning pianos, or doing musical performances in any great quantity, indeed ONE tuning was an almost impossible day's work, and Bill was at his most productive when sitting at the computer, surrounded by books and files.

Suddenly and dramatically, after a few weeks on an exclusion diet, most of the symptoms just disappeared, so if you have had M.E. for years, and received no help from anyone, ask us for a free document on the subject.

Now, Bill often plays piano in hotel restaurants, as well as performing his one-man multi- instrumental show around East Anglia. Plans for a jazz & blues trio have been delayed by the lack of versatile bass players!

We specialise in finding piano information that is not available in the standard textbooks, so often, the information we supply is unique, not available from any other single source, and although our active research is mainly directed at antique british pianos, that doesn't mean we reject foreign pianos, because new information arrives at random, every day.

Who else in the world works on piano history professionally, on a daily basis?


"I would like to say that I am delighted to find your site on Pianoforte makers, there seemto be plenty of sites for broom makers and carmen, but after all where would ourancestors have been without the pianoforte makers / tuners? - Many thanks!"

"Our postie did his job this morning, and there was your booklet - wonderful."

"Thank you so much for this speedy response - I was amazed!"

"I have just browsed through it over breakfast, and must congratulate you onthe presentation and contents."

"About 25 years ago I employed a genealogist in London who sent me some of these addresses, though he was nowhere near as thorough as you."

"The adverts and comments about Henry Tolkien's pianos are interesting, even to a non player like me."

"Your booklet arrived safely this morning. It's fascinating."

"I would like to say what a great site you have developed"

"Bill did a great job in bringing us together."

"You are wonderful, thank you so much for this data. It is very kind of you to do so."

"Dear Bill, thanks for the booklet which arrived yesterday. It looks rather excitingand I look forward to reading it over the holiday."

"Bill, thank you for responding with the great information you have so far."

"We appreciate the help and would like you to continue your research."

"Dear Bill, Thanks again for all your information."

"I was most interested to read the Windsor accounts, the descriptions of the pianos sold to the Royal household and the continued connection for tuning, repair etc."

"Bill, Thank you for all this wonderful information!"

"Thank you very much for the information you provided and your speedy response!"

"Yes, my piano does look like your 1868 picture."

"Dear Bill, This is wonderful. I'll answer your questions point by point in two sections."

"Dear Bill, Thank you so much for writing. I have been trying for many yearsto find more information about my maternal great great grandfather."

"Thank you very much for your suggestions and assistance."

"Thank you for your response regarding the entry in your database."

"Thank you very much for the comprehensive information."

"What an interesting site you have produced. "

"Thank you very much for your prompt and interesting reply about my piano."

"Thank you for your prompt reply"

"Hi! Many many thanks for this information."

"Hi! Thank you for the information that you have found so far on my Benedict piano."

"You obviously have extreme knowledge in this area. Thank you again."

"I am very excited to receive your e-mail."

"I sure do thank you a lot for what you have found so far."

"Many thanks for your information on the Henry Tolkien piano firm."

"I thought your website was really well-produced and interesting."

"Thank you for such a prompt and informative response."

"Many thanks indeed for your help."

"Thank you again for all your references."

"As you say, it's a long business collecting information and I am most grateful to you for sharing your finds."

"Thank you for your very informative site."

"Thank you for responding so quickly, your site was the only answer I have received."

"Thank you for those details - I am interested in it ALL!!""Thank you! The information is not only interesting but also informative."

"Thank you so much for the information regarding the Moutries as piano makers.""What a fascinating website."

... and Bill says "THANK YOU!"

We would like to thank the many people who have supplied piano information since 1963; or helped us to find it; including the Aberdeen City Librarian; Alan Childs; Alastair Laurence; Alec Maxwell; Andrew Garrett; Angela Patmore; Angus Kindley; Arthur Pallett; Association of Blind Piano Tuners; Austin Niland, Bernard Watts; Bill Roope; Billy Little; Bob Henderson; Bowes Museum; Broadwood Pianos Ltd.; Castle Museum; Christie's Ltd.; Claire Hamburger MA; Colt Clavier Collection; Dick Burnett; Ernest Daynes; Eduoard Robbins; Evelyn Fisher; Finchcocks; Forum, Norwich; Frank Holland MBE; Fred Ratcliff; G.A.Key Auctions at Aylsham; Gary Randall; George Woolford; Gill Green; Gordon Phillips; Guildhall Library; Jenny Sandercock, Jim Beighton; Joan Reid; John Davis; John Markham; Julia Walton; Julian Dyer; Kenneth Mobbs; Kimble Reynolds; Lady Buckley; Lionel Sims; London College of Funriture; Maura Henry; Mary Thrower; Mike Kibby; Miss Berry; Monika Barns; Monington & Weston Ltd.; Morley Galleries; Mr Cameron- Cathie; Mr Oxley; Mrs Wright; Musical Museum Brentford; Olive & John Owers; Peter Abbott; Peter Davies; Peter Rowe; Peter Sumner; Philips Ltd.; Piano Tuners' Quarterly; Rita Dix; Robert Kirkman; Rod Watt; Ron Gray; Royal Archives at Windsor; Roy Sagar; Sarah Medlam; Sherry Waring; Sotheby's Ltd.; Stephen Kirkman; Suffolk Record Office; Sylvia Cooper; Tania Staite; Terence Pamplin; Tim Hamilton; Tony Bingham; Tracey Jane Biggs, Victoria & Albert Museum; W.Trow Goddard & many others too numerous to list individually.

Apologies also for any apparent lack of gratitude to those people who sent information during my "Rip van Winkle" period, and whose names became separated from the goods in the general fog!

Most of all, our thanks to Barrie Heaton, who has made this website possible.

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