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100-year-old concertina gifted to Rutland Morris is restored and played again




A 100-year-old concertina gifted to a dance group has been restored to be used again.

Rutland Morris were gifted the old and battered concertina two years ago, which had belonged to the club’s archivist’s partner Judy Burrage.

Judy explained that it had been owned by her father, a merchant seaman, who had played the instrument in bars and ship’s salons all over the world.

Restored concertina by Rutland Morris. Photo: Gordon Blunt
Restored concertina by Rutland Morris. Photo: Gordon Blunt

The concertina was restored by the club’s squire Andrew Mills, who managed to research the makers of the instrument, Lachenal & Co, and the approximate date of manufacture 1920.

Andrew said when the concertina was taken to pieces he found the bellows in a surprisingly good condition, but that there had been some damage to the reed pan that had probably occurred during the construction of the instrument and showed signs of a hasty repair.

Andrew added: “Looking at the instrument you can tell that it was played on a very regular basis but had been looked after reasonably carefully, so I’m guessing it was a much- loved instrument.

Andrew Mills and Judy Burrage with the restored concertina. Photo: Gordon Blunt
Andrew Mills and Judy Burrage with the restored concertina. Photo: Gordon Blunt

“The build- up of soot on the pads and valves of the most used notes was terrifying. It was not played politely in some front parlour, but somewhere filled with cigarette smoke and with a smoky coal fire such as the public bar in the local pub or even bars across the world.”

Judy was present when Andrew played the instrument as Rutland Morris slowly began to return to public dancing with a performance alongside the Maze at Wing on Monday , May 24.

Andrew said: “This was quite a moment, both with our return to socially distanced dancing, and to play this restored concertina for a purpose that the instrument was designed for. Altogether a great night , in spite of the weather.”

Rutland Morris is cautiously returning to an evening dancing programme and anyone who attends to watch is urged to observe social distancing.

More details at www.morrismen.co.uk



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