Shops and businesses

Lyon and Hall: Western Road

By Andy Grant

Established in the 1850s

Towards the end of the 1850’s, Edwin Penfold Hall (1835-1910) went into partnership with a member of the Lyon family, an old established manufacturer of pianofortes. Initially the business acted as an agent, introducing interested clients to London based piano manufacturers. Shortly afterwards their first shop selling pianos, harmoniums, harps and other musical items opened at the corner of East Street and Grand Junction Parade (King’s Road).

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Photo:92 Western Road c1956

92 Western Road c1956

From the private collection of Andy Grant

Photo:The sheet music department

The sheet music department

From the private collection of Andy Grant

Diversification of the business

Although the name Lyon and Hall was used throughout its entire existence, Lyon’s interest in the company did not last for any longer than 18 months, leaving Hall as the sole proprietor. The East Street shop was the focus of the business until 1941, when bomb damage helped decide to move to new premises at 92, Western Road. By this time the business had diversified into record sales, also offering radio and gramophone sets as well as the first televisions.

Photo:Demonstrating a television

Demonstrating a television

From the private collection of Andy Grant

Photo:92 Western Road photographed in 2013

92 Western Road photographed in 2013

Photo by Tony Mould

Catering for popular and classical tastes

The company took particular pride in promoting various entertainments, both popular and classical, as well as being amongst the first to offer new technological advances. Local recitals and demonstrations were offered in the ‘Clarence Room’ in the Metropole Hotel, free to those obtaining tickets from their showrooms. The company celebrated its centenary in 1956, although by the 1970’s the  Western Road shop was concentrating more upon colour television sales. Lyon and Hall ceased trading, but the premises remained as a music shop into the 21st century

You can read a personal reminiscence from someone who worked in the shop in the 1950s here.

This page was added on 30/04/2013.
Comments about this page

I recall buying sheet music from Lyon & Hall in the early '70s when I played guitar: The Beatles' songbook, as well as current hits by Paul McCartney (Another Day), George Harrison (My Sweet Lord), Gordon Lightfoot (If You Could Read My Mind) and quite a few others.

By John Wilkin (30/04/2013)

I worked at Lyon and Hall from 1972, Saturdays and school holidays only at first, then I joined the staff full time from September 1973. I was in charge of the organ department and shared charge of the piano department with Cyril Haslett, who was part-time by them. The manager at the time was Phil Baldwin. I stayed with the firm until it closed down after the fire at Easter 1975, and was there on its last day of trading. The sign in the window that day said "Everything, including the staff, must go!" I remember all the staff, including a certain Andy Grant. Is that you?

By Andy Gilbert (10/04/2014)

Hi Andy, not guilty, I'm afraid - I've never personally been in the premises! Regards, Andy

By Andy Grant (10/04/2014)

Hi Andy, I Joined L&H in about 1955 as an improver, I was 15 and it was my first job. I still have many memories of those days. My Boss was Mr Spry and unless I am mistaken he's in the photo demonstrating a TV to a customer. Very interesting photos Andy.

By Alan Drake (20/04/2014)

I bought my first record player from Lyon and Hall in the 50s, and loved being able to stand in the booths listening to records before I bought. Such great memories.

By Bobbie Sims (07/02/2016)

Did they continue to sell pianos like Bechstein up until they closed?

By John Thompson in (25/04/2017)

I was there when they closed, in charge of the organ and piano departments. Yes, we were still selling pianos. No Bechsteins, but a wide range of makes. Knight, Monington and Weston, Danemann, Zender, Bentley etc from the UK, and Yamaha and Kawai from Japan. We'd always carry at least one grand in stock, usually a Yamaha 5'6" or 6' model. And organs from Hammond, Wurlitzer and Yamaha. In the year or so before the shop closed we also handled Conn organs for a time.

By Andy Gilbert (10/08/2017)

I worked on Saturdays at Lyon and Hall in the sixties television and "gramophone" department. The manager was my uncle, Tim (Harold) Spray. That is definitely him in the picture. I think his assistant was Keith Jupp. At first I was only allowed to sell batteries and styli but after one particular Saturday when I was the only one there and had to demonstrate televisions, radios and radiograms, and then sell them, I was given a pay rise of five shillings a day and allowed to deal with all the customers. I remember everyone being very formal in the way they addressed the various heads of department. I stayed at Lyon and Hall for a couple of years before going to college.

By Alan Brackley (22/08/2018)