89-Key Gavioli No. 8265

Built in the 1890s, this is an early example of an 89-key instrument with automatic registration; it was imported to England by Arthur Righini of Manchester who sold it to showman Edmund Holland in 1906 for use in his four-abreast galloping horses. It later passed to Lancashire showmen Silcock Bros., who had it converted by Wright & Holmes from perforated cardboard books to pinned barrel operation. The instrument was returned to the former by Chiappa Ltd, London c.1953. After a brief ownership with Screeton Bros. it was purchased in 1965 by Ted Reed, when it was once again overhauled by Chiappa Ltd and redecorated by James Tiller of Long Sutton.

In 1991 the Museum suffered a devastating fire, this Gavioli being one of its victims – the organ was restored to playing condition with new drum wings and proscenium carved to match the originals and decorated by Jimmy Williams, in the style of Tiller.

Played on open days between:
November, January & March: 11:35 – 11:50, 14:00 – 14:15 & 16:20 – 16:35
December, February & April: 12:45 – 13:00 & 15:40 – 15:55

Silcock Gavioli

Photographs: AFOM Collection (lower: as used in Holland’s gallopers, unknown date).

89-key Gavioli 8265 playing: Merrily We Roll Along – Tobias (recording courtesy of Thomas Potter).