Monday, 22 March 2010

Saturday 20 March 2010 – Woodmansterne Green

Dad with the Moggridge piano from Oklahoma City, USA (top) and with the LA piano (centre). Bottom shot is what we can see from our shelter under the gatehouse.

I awoke early, around 10 minutes to six. If the truth be known it was 0536hrs, but I lay there wondering what to do: get out of bed or loll around until 0600hrs, but then I remembered the alarm on my iphone that was due to go off at six on the dot and once I'd got out of bed to turn it off, why bother going back?

Outside it was murky. The clouds grey, the ground wet and signs everywhere that it had only just stopped raining. We were due to go to Merstham but there were things going on. My brother Jon and cousin Philip had both managed to ship over Moggridge pianos from the USA (one from LA and one from Oklahoma City) so Jon had arranged it for mum and dad to see them and it was a surprise.

In a nutshell, dad's been compiling a history of the Moggridge family and in the process has discovered (actually, he knew already) that there were pianomakers in the family. Dad's grandfather and his brother both made Moggridge pianos and managed to get a contract from the King of Persia. Apparently, some kind of dispute arose between the Moggridge family business and the Persians, which the Moggridge family won, and dad remembers talk about 'the Persian money', which was sent over on a regular basis once the dispute was resolved. I'd imagine there are plenty of Moggridge pianos out in Tehran. Perhaps President 'I'm a Dinner Jacket' has one, who knows?

Anyway, to cut a long story short, Jon and Philip traced the pianos down and shipped them over here and they arrived last week. These are old pianos, made in 1891, so they're not in the best of nick, but I know that Jon is going to restore his one. Philip's is not in bad nick compared to Jon's but I think he'll probably have it restored too.

Andy had things going on too so the suggestion of riding to Woodmansterne instead of the 30-mile round trip to Hunger's End, fitted everybody's agenda.

The weather wasn't too bad: a bit of rain here and there and yes, we did get wet, but not drastically so like in the past; but either way we sought refuge underneath the gatehouse of the church on the Green (a regular haunt if it's raining).

We drank tea, ate cereal bars and generally chewed the fat and then cycled home. It was great seeing those pianos, by the way, and Dad was chuffed about it.


  1. Thats interesting about the piano. I have a collard and collard baby grand whcih is a nice English Piano made in the early 1940's I think. I am its 2nd owner

  2. Yes, the Moggridge piano, apparently, was supplied to the King of Persia, so we're all assuming there must be a fair few of them out in Iran, but it seems as if they were exported everywhere. There's a sad edge to the story but I daren't say anything until my dad publishes the book.