Page last updated at 11:28 GMT, Monday, 26 October 2009

Music comes to end at piano maker


The company has been making pianos at the site for three generations

The final piano is being made at the UK's last piano maker after nearly 100 years of production.

Over 350,000 upright and grand pianos have been made at Kemble and Co in Milton Keynes since it opened in 1911.

Main shareholder Yamaha announced its decision to close the Bletchley factory in April. It is transferring production to Asia, with the loss of 90 jobs.

Brian Kemble, joint managing director of Kemble and Co, said the last piano would be signed by all the staff.

He said: "We've already given one piano signed by all my staff to Milton Keynes Academy to support music in Milton Keynes and as a tribute to my staff.

"I've had a fabulous team here."

Queen's award

Mr Kemble, who is the grandson of the company's founder Michael Kemble, said it was some consolation that Yamaha came to the firm's rescue in 1986.

"If they hadn't done that we'd have been out of business then," he said.

"They've given us another 23 years of making pianos."

Since 1986, when Yamaha became involved, the company has made and sold more than 120,000 pianos and won a Queen's award for export.

The pianos will continue being made in Asia to the same specifications as in the Milton Keynes factory.

"I'm looking forward to celebrating the centenary of the Kemble brand in two years time, but it's just very sad it's not coming from this factory," said Mr Kemble.

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