25th Feb, 2021

Norton Collection Museum's display of historic Bromsgrove music shop hits the right notes

A NEW display at Bromsgrove’s Norton Collection Museum has been dedicated to a pre-1900 town music shop.

The venue’s owner Dennis Norton found the details of Perk’s in an 1895 directory he had.

It is believed to have stocked a number of instruments and items for music-lovers back in the day, although it is not known exactly where it was in the town.

In the display there are a number of different organs, including ‘paper roll’ instruments, a concertina, banjo, violin and a variety of music boxes which were big at the time.

One of them was a ‘cylinder’ music box specially ordered by Thomas White, a Bromsgrove entrepreneur who traded in cloths and dyes. It came with eight cylinders which meant he could have 64 tunes to play.

It is estimated it would have cost him £100 when he bought it in 1880 (the equivalent of £11,000 in today’s money).

Mr Norton said: “I think it is one of the best displays in the museum.

“The model and the machines in it are all from that – late Victorian – era.

“The items have been collected over the years and the Thomas White music box is a fabulous centrepiece.”

Mr Norton has also asked anyone who has any further information on Bromsgrove’s Perk’s music shop to contact him on 01527 919531.


So who was Thomas White?

Thomas White bought an old dye factory and built Perry Hall on the site which later became the Perry Hall Hotel and is now Bromsgrove School’s Housman Hall student residence.

He started his Thomas White Cottage Homes and left a deed of £11,000 (estimated the equivalent of £925,000 in 2017) to a group of trustees who now run the ‘Whites Cottage Homes’ charity.

As specified by White, the organisation runs almshouses for women over the age of 60 who have a Bromsgrove connection.

Visit www.whitescottagehomes.co.uk for more information.


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