British Made Musical Instruments, Music Players, Speakers, Headphones, Radios, Audio Equipment, etc.
I know very little about traditional organs, but nonetheless I was fascinated to see the Verger operating the bellows of a church organ in an episode of Dad’s Army I watched the other night. These old church organs are things of great beauty and there are it appears a number of organ makers and restorers still going in the UK. These are the ones I found on the net.
http://www.melright.com/busker/organs.htm – A guide to where to buy hand turned street pipe organs.
http://www.willis-organs.com/service.htm – Founded in 1845 this company have built many of the great pipe organs in churches and town halls of the world and still make and restore pipe organs.
http://www.harrisonorgans.com/ – Also make and restore pipe organs.
http://www.deanorgans.com/ – Manufacture, rebuild and repair pipe organs – barrel organs, fairground organs, street organs, etc. and specialise in mechanical pipe organs playing by perforated cardboard book music.
http://mechanicalorganownerssociety.weebly.com/links.html – Links to builders of fairground organs.
http://www.alanpell.com/ – Automatic playing instrument manufacturer.
http://www.robbarkerorgans.co.uk/ – Mechanical musical instrument builder and restorer.
http://www.acpilmer.com/ – A.C. Pilmer Automatic Music – restoration and maintenance of mechanical musical instruments.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pipe_organ – Wikipedia page about pipe organs.
I am not really very knowledgeable about musical instruments but I will try to feature other instrument makers as I come across them here.
Cavendish Pianos – http://www.cavendishpianos.com – are made in Britain. They work together with craftsmen from all over the UK to make pianos in the Yorkshire Dales.
Nineboys Guitars – Acoustic guitars made in the UK.
Brian Eastwood Guitars was established in 1973. All Brian Eastwood guitars are custom built in the UK. Brian Eastwood Guitars is not affiliated with Eastwood Guitars manufactured in the Middle East. Acoustic and electric guitars – http://www.brianeastwoodguitars.co.uk
Southwell Guitars, as far as I can gather, are made in the UK, from European sourced timber. Only ten to twelve of these exclusive guitars are made per year; classical or nylon string modern guitars and re-prodtcions of historic guitars – http://www.southwellguitars.co.uk
The Great British Banjo Company (Shackleton) manufacture a small collection of banjos here in the UK – i.e. The Islander Ash Leaf open back, and The Shackleton. Shackleton also have a great range of British made clothing, accessories, and beer – http://thegreatbritishbanjocompany.com
Heritage Leathergoods of Birmingham make and sell a range of English made guitar straps at their an online belt store called Belt Us (which also sells English made belts). The company also make a wide range of small leather goods (trade only, but they have an eBay store) – http://www.heritageleathergoods.co.uk
Van Kleef Custom Drums are “hand built in Sheffield, England, UK” according to the front page of their website. Van Kleef’s twitter tagline is “Van Kleef Custom Drums design and build bespoke drums from components made entirely in-house. Built by hand in Sheffield, UK.” – http://vkdrums.com
British Drum Co, established in 2015, were accredited with the Made in Britain marque in May 2017 and say on their website “The British Drum Company adheres to the proudest traditions of British drum manufacturing, using only British made shells…” – https://www.britishdrumco.com
Marshall Amps have a factory in Bletchley, Milton Keynes, England. The amplifiers which are manufactured abroad are the MG Range, MB Range and the Acoustic Combos, all other amplifiers are manufactured in the Milton Keynes Factory (according to their website 4.12.13).
Most music players (i-pods, iPhones, the Pono player, etc.) and most headphones are made in China, but not all…
Roksan audio, founded in 1985, manufacture in the UK. Their search engine headline is “Roksan Made in London“ and they say on their website “A British company founded over thirty years ago, Roksan is one of the most recognised names in the audio industry. Offering international, multi-award winning products ranging from the highest level of vinyl replay to amplification, loudspeakers and streaming source products. All equipment is still designed and manufactured in the company’s London-based headquarters and factory.” I don’t know whether everything they sell is made in the UK, so do check before buying. Their sister company Monitor Audio only manufactures in China – http://www.roksan.co.uk
Naim Audio do not give any information about country of origin on their website. According to Wikipedia Naim and Focal-JMLab (of France) merged in 2011 and Wikipedia says that currently the company runs the 2 companies as independent operations. I have been told that Naim Audio is still being manufactured in Salisbury, England, but you will want to check that the equipment you want has actually been made in the UK – https://www.naimaudio.com
Rega audio equipment has a factory in Southend-on-Sea in Essex, England. You can see pictures of their factory on their website. It says “Made in England” on the front page of their website. Whilst they do outsource, it appears to me that most items are made in the UK. According to Wikipedia, in addition to making its own brand products, Rega is an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) supplier. They make turntables, cartridges, tonearms, amplifiers, speakers, etc. Dealers are listed on their website – http://www.rega.co.uk
There is no information about country of manufacture on the Inspire Hi-Fi website but it is rumoured on the internet that their turntables are made in England. It would be worth checking where they are made if you are interested – http://www.inspirehifi.co.uk
There is clear information on provenance on a ceramic speaker by Yair Neuman. Their bluetooth speaker is made from Cornish clay and partially made in Stoke-on-Trent and hand finished in London. The wood comes from Argentina and Chile. The screws and electronic parts come from China, Taiwan, South Korea and Hong Kong. There is more detail on the provenance of this speaker here and it is available here – http://www.yairneuman.com
Sugden Audio say on their website “Sugden products are a truly handmade quality British product.” They have a factory in Heckmondwike, West Yorkshire where in addition to making their audio equipment they also have a cabinet making facility for loudspeakers. Stockists are listed on their website. They make amplifiers and hi-fi and speakers – https://www.sugdenaudio.com
Ruark Audio (Ruark Acoustic), makers of DAB radios and small audio products, have or had a factory in Southend-on-Sea in 1996 but no country of origin information is given on their website today. If you are interested in ether products you should ask where they are made. Update – One of my top contributors Rob found out in May 2017 that Ruark Audio products are all foreign made now. They told him this – “Hi Rob, all of our product design and development is done here at our office in Southend On Sea. However all of our products are manufactured overseas at our factory we have been working with for the last 10 years. We would love to manufacture our products here in the UK but unfortunately there are no longer any cabinets manufacturers who can produce the handmade cabinets we use in the volume we require.”
Linn Products Limited manufactures hi-fi and audio equipment; complete music systems, amps, turntables, speakers, etc. They do not give any clear information about country of origin on their website. On their Facebook page they say “Linn manufacture everything in-house”. On the products itself it says “designed and manufactured by Linn Products Limited…Glasgow…”. They are also an independent record label and on the Linn Records webpages there is a photograph of “The Linn Factory, Waterfoot, Scotland”. All this seems to suggest Linn products are manufactured in Scotland, but this is not explicitly stated anywhere and nor does it say against individual products where they are made (and we all know many companies mislead their customers over country of origin), so check where the Linn product you are interested in is made before buying – http://www.linn.co.uk
It has been suggested to me that Audio Note UK (not to be confused with Audio Note Japan, or Audio Note China) manufacture their amplifiers, tonearms, cartridges, loudspeakers, DACs, cables and kits components in the UK, but there is no mention of country of origin on their website (although in Google search they do describe themselves as a UK manufacturer), so I assume Audio UK equipment is all foreign made, but it might be worth checking with them if you are potentially invested in their products.
Papworth Audio Technology valve amplifiers are manufactured in Cambridgeshire, England and the company state that most of their components are manufactured by companies in or close to the University City of Cambridge – http://papworthaudio.co.uk
TALK Electronics is a UK manufacturer of Hi-Fi equipment, with their own in house manufacturing facilities, making or at least assembling or building in the UK amplifiers, headphone amplifiers, turntables, phono stages, loudspeakers and accessories. The cases (covers) they use are foreign made. Edwards Audio is one of their brands – http://www.talkelectronics.com
“Kleio is a new UK based high-end audio equipment manufacturer. We officially launched in 2015 with our first two products from our K1 series, the K105 pre-amplifier and K135 integrated amplifier. Designed, engineered and built in the UK and supplied with a 5 year warranty, our aim is to offer a range of high quality products that will make you fall in love with your music collection all over again” – copied from their website 20/7/15 – http://kleioaudio.com
“Graham Slee Projects audio products are designed, built and tested in the English North-Midlands and South Yorkshire by engineers – they are truly British made!” They also say on their website “Our audio components are designed and handmade in Great Britain for your listening pleasure”. Phono Stage Preamps, Headphone Amplifiers, DACs (Digital to Analogue Converters), Amplifiers and accessories – http://www.gspaudio.co.uk
Atacama (Sambell Engineering Ltd of Croft in Leicestershire) make speaker stands, hifi racks, AV supports and TV stands. The company was originally founded in 1969 and moved into the production of speaker stands in 1992. They say on their website that they have their “own UK based in-house design, manufacturing and testing facilities…” and they use a little Union Flag logo with the words ‘Made in the UK’ on the front page. They about section is headed “Atacama quality multi media furniture made in Great Britain”. All products appear to be UK made and are available from their website. They also appear to own Apollo furniture (see below) – http://www.atacama-audio.co.uk
Apollo Hifi and AV furniture, established in 1975, make hifi, speaker stands and AV supports. They say on their website “all Apollo products are designed and made in the UK ensuring quality and value and include a 2 year manufacturers Guarantee”. Originally based at Tipton in the West Midlands they moved to Croft in Leicestershire in 2013 under new ownership and I assume they now belong to Atacama (see above) – http://www.apollohifi.co.uk
Black Rhodium audio and visual cables are “British Made Cable” and they say on their website that “Black Rhodium is proud to support British manufacturing…through our close partnerships with our suppliers”. They also sell foreign made cables – http://www.blackrhodium.co.uk
UmaK sell audio accessories, beds, mattresses, bedroom, living room and children’s furniture which is all designed and built in the UK by UK companies. For example they sell Edwards Audio (see above), Stirling Broadcast (see above), Graham Slee (see above), and Black Rhodium (see above). Together with their British made furniture, Umak sell British made turntables, speakers, amplifiers, DACs, phono preamps, headphone amplifiers, pre-amplifiers, cables, connectors, and accessories – http://www.umak.co.uk
Chord Electronics Ltd audio products (CD players, amplifiers, etc.) appear to make, or at least assemble, some of their products in England. On their website if you look the pdf instruction manuals which are available for some products, some of those say made in England on the last page. For example, their 2Qute Mini driverless digital to analogue converter is made in England, as is their Hugo Portable Headphone amplifier. However, country of origin is not mentioned on their website, so I assume many of their products are foreign made. The only thing they do mention on their website is having an assembly workshop in Kent. You will need to carefully research where a product is made before buying – http://www.chordelectronics.co.uk
RHA Headphones do not give any information about country of origin on their website. British Family suggest they are made in the UK, but I have been told that RHA headphones are actually made in China and a quick search around the internet sadly appears to confirm this.
Flare Audio ISOLATE earplugs (ear protectors) and ISOLATE Mini earplugs are made in England. Country of origin is clearly stated for each of these products on their website. These are available to buy from their website. They “…block, rather than absorb sound…” and reduce noise levels rather than stopping noise entirely and offer “protection for sleeping, music, travelling, motorcycling, motorsport”. You will need to look at individual product details to see country of origin. I was pleasantly surprised to find, hidden away in the information on the Flare website, that these ISOLATE earplugs are British made. Flare also make wireless earphones and loudspeakers but no country of origin or prices mentioned for these products – https://www.flareaudio.com
Harbeth speakers are made in England. “100% of all Harbeth loudspeaker systems are designed and hand made in England, at the Harbeth factory in Lindfield by the same small team. Likewise, all Harbeth cabinets are made in the UK by experienced craftsmen” – http://www.harbeth.co.uk
PMC Speakers are all handmade in Luton, Bedfordshire. They sent Rob, one of my contributors, confirmation of this in a twitter message 24 May 2017. PMC (the Professional Monitor Company) Speakers were founded in 1991 and make both professional and home speakers. No country of origin information is given on their website – http://pmc-speakers.com
KEF might (or might not) make a few of their speakers in the UK. In June 2017 they told one of my contributors Rob “Certain models including the MUON and the REFERENCE models are also hand-built and tested at our on-site factory here too.” Their answer to his question “”Are your products UK made?” seemed evasive, so I am not sure if they make anything in the UK. Ask before buying. KEF and Meridian Audio speakers are owned by a Hong based company which apparently maintains some manufacturing in the UK as well as manufacturing in China. Country of origin is not given on their websites for products so you will need to ask and it may be that all or most products are foreign made these days as country of origin is not clearly stated on their websites – http://www.kef.com – https://www.meridian-audio.com
For watching music videos and films and more, televisions from Cello Electronics are all made or at least assembled in the UK. Some Seiki televisions and monitors are assembled in South Wales. Videotree exclusive waterproof, mirror and outdoor televisions are manufactured or at least assembled in the UK.
Japanese company Sony make broadcast and professional video cameras in South Wales. They also manufacture for others and the Raspberry Pi computer is made in their factory. As far as I know they do not make any domestic home electrical items like TVs in the UK anymore. Sony might still have a disc (optical storage media) manufacturing operation (making CDs and DVDs; Sony DADC UK Ltd) in Southwater in West Sussex too. If the factory is still in Southwater it was formerly part of Rank’s Deluxe CD and DVD operation with the site being sold to Sony in 2006. The other Rank Organisation Deluxe CD and DVD factory in Blackburn became the Entertainment Distribution Company (EDC) factory after it was sold by Rank and the factory was closed and production moved abroad in 2010. Neighbouring Blackburn Microtech Solutions, formerly LG Philips and Mullards, makers of cathodes for televisions, other television components, audio amplification valves, 3D X-ray scanning technology for airport scanners and energy efficient light bulbs, closed down in 2009 – https://www.sony.co.uk
Rogers speakers are now made in the Far East, as are IAG (International Audio Group) speakers (owners of the brands Mission, Quad, Wharfedale, Audiolab and Castle Acoustics) these days. Wharfedale used to manufacture their speakers in the UK, but these days as part of the International Audio Group (IAG) all manufacturing takes place in China. Tannoy speakers are made in the Far East. Cambridge Audio products are all made in the Far East, as are NAD products. Leaks (H.J. Leak & Co.), which was sold to the Rank Organisation in 1969, ceased production in the 1970s. Likewise Radford speakers closed in 1989. Gerrard turntables closed in 1995. Gradiente Electronica of Brazil had bought the company in 1979 and some production may have moved to Brazil after that. A company called Loricraft Audio, based in Swindon as Gerrard was, restores old Gerrard turntables and make a turntable called the Gerrard 501 under licence. Loricraft also make vinyl record cleaners. Home Retail Group, the owner of Argos, bought two of Britain’s oldest radio and television brands, Alba and Bush in 2008 and as far as I know the names have disappeared except in Argos and there is no suggestion that Bush and Alba are still made in the UK. The Alba Group, which was renamed back to its original name, Harvard International, in 2008 and is now called Alba (Alba Broadcasting Corporation Limited) again and was left with Goodmans and former German company Grundig (now Turkish owned). Goodmans is still going but there is no suggestion on their website of any UK manufacturing. Haybrook and JPW(Audio Group International) do not mention country of origin on their websites and are presumably foreign made. Kudos do not mention country of origin on their websites and are presumably now foreign made. Likewise with AVI. Philips products are now all made in the Far East. Arcam (A&R Cambridge Ltd hi-fi and home cinema equipment; now owned by JAM industries of Canada) no longer manufacture in the UK (assembly is now done in China and the USA), as they confirmed to me by email on 1/9/14.
It may be that Bowers & Wilkins speakers still have a factory in the UK. Country of origin is not given on their website for products so you will need to ask where they are made and it may be that all or most products are foreign made these days as country of origin is not clearly stated on their website – http://www.bowers-wilkins.co.uk
A quote from the Roberts Radio website “plastic-cased receivers and personal cassette players are imported from the far east … However, wooden-eased receivers still predominate, and these continue to be made at East Molesey.”
Unfortunately country of origin information is not given on the Roberts Radio website or on the product packaging, so you will want to confirm with the company directly if a particular product is UK made before buying. Roberts Radios are part of the Glen Dimplex group.
The Clarke Tinwhistle Company brochure says “made in England since 1843” on it, suggesting all (or perhaps some) of their products are made in England. They make tin whistles, harmonicas, and kazoos. Products are available on their website – http://www.clarketinwhistle.com
For ordinary whistles Acme Whistles are made in Birmingham, England. I checked with the company (in December 2012) and they confirmed this. I asked “Are all your whistles made in the UK” and their response was “Yes they are all made in our factory in Birmingham”. Acme Whistles have the “worlds biggest and finest selection of professional whistles”. I have a few of their made in England whistles. Some of them I have had them for years and the quality is excellent. Acme Whistles were founded in the 1860’s, made the world’s first police whistle and are well known as the world’s top whistle manufacturer, manufacturing police whistles, scout whistles, hiking whistles, mountaineering whistles, referee whistles, football whistles, sports whistles (for skiing, hunting, etc.), silent dog whistles, shepherd’s whistles, bird call whistles, life jacket whistles, military whistles, survival whistles, personal safety whistles – really every type of whistle you could imagine. They also make whistle chains and lanyards. The best whistles in the world are made by the JL Hudson Company in England under their trade name ACME Whistles. Long lasting and very affordable – http://www.acmewhistles.co.uk
Percussion Plus – http://www.percussionplus.co.uk – are manufacturers and retailers of percussion instruments for the education and retail sector. Some of their instruments are imported from abroad but they have expressed a desire to bring all production back to the UK in time. At present around 40% of their range is manufactured in their factory in Market Harborough, Leicestershire.