Dave Sergeant

The Musical Museum in Brentford is devoted to the display and preservation of all types of self playing mechanical musical instruments from musical boxes through pianolas to the large Wurlitzer organ. It was founded in 1963 and has been in its present premises since 2009. I combined my visit with a walk along the Thames and Brent to make a day of it.

I began my day at Kew Bridge station where I made my way down to the Thames. The museum is a short walk along the river on Brentford High Street. There were road works outside which made reaching the entrance a little complicated.

When I arrived I found I was the only visitor at the time. I spent a few moments having a quick browse before joining the tour at 10.30. The guide went round all the instruments telling me about them and demonstrating them playing. The organ on the right is quite impressive and it seems it can record an organist playing it which can then be used to play back the same performance.

A selection of phonographs, the earliest of which played back from a disk with mechanical projections rather than the normal grooves. All totally mechanical with good sound coming through the horn loudspeakers. Then a general view of various organs and instruments.

More organs and pianolas.

A small music box driven from a cylinder with projections. It can play several tunes with the cylinder moved horizontally to select each one. The one on the right has two violins and an organ integrated and played from a roll. A mechanical masterpiece, though the violins didn't sound that realistic.

After the tour and another wander around I left the museum after a fascinating couple of hours. I then made my way back down to the river. St George's Church near by was the original home of the museum, it is now residential flats. A pleasant walk along the river on a stretch I have walked several times.

The walk follows the Thames path for a while and approaches the river Brent and the Grand Union canal.

I then found part of the path closed due to development work in that part of Brentford. A short diversion back to Brentford High Street then through the Butts area to reach the canal again. From there I made my way to Brentford station where I had lunch in the adjacent Kings Arms before catching the train home.

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