Flutemakers Guild – History

For those interested about Flutemakers Guild, here’s a PR blurb from them (circa 1986)

The Flutemakers Guild was founded in 1961 as the result of a number of craftsmen breaking away from a very famous flutemaking firm that was being absorbed by a larger organization. It was felt that the individuality needed to produce a handmade flute of the highest quality would be lost when the heavy hand of “big business” took over.

Contact was made with the Lord Mayor of London (who had played flute as a young man) and he suggested the owner of a gold and silversmithing company, Mr. C. S. Padgett, might be able to help with premises and finance, this he did and became, and still is, our director. These first premises were at 48 Broadwick Street, London, W. 1. where we stayed until 1974 when these premises were sold and the move was made to our present address, 10 Shacklewell Road, London, N. 16.

The Guild was formed to carry on the tradition of making flutes in the ways that had produced the fine British flutes of earlier years, this we like to think we are still doing! Of the original seven craftsmen who started regrettably we are now down to two, various people having been trained and gone on to other flute firms, but we are still going and producing handmade instruments. The remaining two members are Chris Bouckley, trained by us and with us for nine years and Harry Seeley, founder member and flutemaker for thirty six years – maybe one day we will train some more flutemakers, who can say!

Because of the way we work we are able to produce, to order, any instrument of the flute family from piccolo to C Bass in any of the precious metals. Wood flutes and piccolos are also available, one of these being the Thinned Wood flute, the body of which is about half the thickness of a normal wood flute, the tone holes being left raised out of the wood instead of being cut in. This instrument may seem an oddity in this age of mass production but it illustrates that the skills to make them are still available.

In the last few years much talk in the flute world has been about “modern scales” which we have tried to keep in line with, our type of manufacture lends us very easily to accommodate anyone who has the desire for a scale of his or her own design. We like to think that in these times of the “hard sell” and “in built obsolescence,” players can come to us to order a handmade flute that really is made by hand and will last a lifetime.

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