I came across this beauty in a large Georgian stately home that is open to public and run by the National Trust. I couldn’t help but admire the vibrant green loudspeaker: it’s like a curious, giant leaved plant, sitting there, on the corner table. There was pile of 78s, the winding handle was all set up and a record was waiting in place on the turntable.
No doubt the occupants of the house during the early 20th century would have listened to music on this gramophone. Did they have parties with dancing or musical evenings listening in contemplation?
When I first moved in to a tenement flat in Edinburgh my neighbours were a married couple who had lived there many years. She had been born in the flat in 1932 and they had come back to live there after he retired from the merchant navy. One day they were having a lively discussion on their way down the stair as to whether they should throw away an old wind-up gramophone or take it to a charity shop. He didn’t think anyone would would want it and was intent on putting it in the bin. Luckily he met me coming up the stair and that’s how I acquired this lovely old machine complete with a set of 78s. It’s wonderful – no electricity needed – so when the fossil fuels run out I’ll be listening to my 78s. I’ve got a wind-up torch so all I need is a wind-up internet!
Having a bit of a clear-out, I found our old Dansette record player. It was actually my big brother’s, a present for passing his 11+ exam. He had one record: She Loves You by the Beatles. We listened to it over and over, singing along with the easy lyrics: “She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah!”
When I lifted the lid, I could smell the sound of that record … the memory of it, the excitement and fun. We got a few more singles, ’45s’ and my brother went on to collect hundreds of records, singles and LPs and it all started with the Dansette!
I took these quick snaps but will take some better photos to post later and dig out some more of the records to see if I can find She Loves You.