Sunday, 9 November 2014

Duck, Son and Pinker Pianos

Duck Son & Pinker was founded in 1948. William Duck had his first Piano shop at 2 Pulteney Bridge but grew to occupy the whole of one side of the bridge. In 1878, William's son George became a partner in the firm and in 1884 Thomas Pinker joined the firm - thus the name: Duck, Son & Pinker. 
Thomas Pinker was originally employed as a piano tuner but being a man with a talent for business, he was a valued member of the firm. Out of hours he played the organ at a local church and was a member of the Bath Rowing Club.

There are many pianos that bear the Duck, Son & Pinker name and it is difficult to pinpoint where they were made. Some models were made by Skerrett, a better quality model was made by Brasted. Others, from the look of the insides, might have been made by Bentley. Their earlier, straight-strung pianos, may well have been made at the premises in Bath or in Bristol.

The decline of the piano side of the business reflected the widespread downturn in acoustic piano sales across the industry over many years. Today, it is hard to imagine any piano business tuning 5,000 pianos every month but at their height, D.S.&P. really did achieve an astonishing 65,000 piano tunings in a year! They had an army of tuners working from Bath down to Cornwall and into Wales. They had branches in Swindon, Swansea, Bristol, Gloucester and for a while, Weston Super Mare.

I remember tales from the old tuners when I was an apprentice: they were given a bicycle, put on a train to South Wales, and told to go up and down the valleys going door to door for piano tuning work! Those really were the golden days!

Duck son and Pinker was the classic local, music 'institution'. Entering the shop was like stepping into a bygone era. Vacating its traditional Pulteney Bridge premises during the 1980s, the business continued to survive up until 1 April 2011.


  1. They were not particularly careful with their premises! Their shop in Swindon breached disability regulations and in the Bath shop you could see where a couple of graceful interior pillars had been ripped out - there were gaps in the plaster where the capitals had been.

    The Bath shop was essentially bankrolled by its owner for some years. When he died, his legatees quickly closed the business down. Bath now has no music shop of any kind.

  2. My friends dad who was blinded in the war worked for DSP as a piano tuner as did a lot of injured servicemen at the time . All gone now.

    1. My grandfather Leonard Kick worked as a blind piano tuner for D S & P for a number of years during the 50s & 60s

  3. My Aunt Rosina married Joseph Pinker who was the Thomas Joseph Pinkers Nephew in this post who partnered in the business. As a professional genealogist and family historian this blog is a great find on my aunt's husbands family the Pinkers.
    If any other 'pinkers' or my aunts family Seaby's happen to come visit here please get in touch Id love to hear from anyone related to either side of the family :)

  4. How much would an organ made by DS&P cost today