Way back in 2012, a street piano was placed near the station at Herne Hill, south London. Four happy years later and its work is done (don’t worry there’s another one on its way) – and there’s no doubt it survived this long is thanks to the hard work and dedication of some of our local community heroes.
Number one is Roy Martin our local piano tuner (pictured above). Most of the time he’s working for people like Stevie Wonder and Damon Albarn, but he’s also taken Herne Hill street piano under his wing, repairing and turning it on his way home for four years. A piano that is played this often needs a lot of extra tuning, and Roy has kept it going.
On a day-to-day basis we have Elaine the florist (AKA the Flower Lady, pictured below) and Alan from Pullens to thank. Opening it in the mornings and closing it at night helps to keep everyone happy – residents trying to sleep as well as boogie woogie pianists.
And Herne Hill Forum who brought the piano here day one and have managed the Herne Hill Piano Project so well that with the generosity of the amazing Herne Hill Community have raised over £5000 through a crowdfunder – for a new piano. This much-loved landmark will live on now thanks to them.
But we’ll leave the last word to Roy. Take it away R0y!
“Our well- loved piano has done a fantastic job. I became aware over a year ago that the piano had some problems and was perhaps working too hard for its age and needing a rest. I found a younger, fitter piano.
“As a piano technician the really good work is invisible ‘under the bonnet.’ And we have chosen a very good company to do the work so we will now have a piano as good as new for a much lower price. I am hoping we can have more events and attract more amazing people who may be tempted to do some performances for us. I hope you will welcome the new one – it may be a bit shy at first but its still ‘The People’s Piano.’”
Sadly, after 27 years, Pullens has closed its doors. Thank you for everything Alan and Debi!
Join us for an event to celebrate Herne Hill’s first street piano – and welcome its stunning replacement – on October 1. Details to follow soon.