Page last updated at 05:02 GMT, Friday, 30 October 2009

Doors shut at last UK piano maker

Kemble Pianos
Kemble pianos have been made in the UK for three generations

The doors are due to shut at the UK's last large scale piano manufacturer after nearly 100 years of production.

Ninety jobs have been axed at Kemble and Co, as a result of its main shareholder Yamaha transferring operations to Asia.

More than 350,000 upright and grand pianos have been made at the Milton Keynes-based firm since 1911.

Earlier this week it produced its last piano, which was signed by all staff at the Bletchley factory.

Pianos are to continue being sold with the Kemble and Co name, and to the specifications developed by the firm.

Queen's award

Brian Kemble, joint managing director, acknowledged that the firm was saved from closure in 1986 when Yamaha stepped in.

Mr Kemble, who is the grandson of the company's founder Michael Kemble, said: "They've given us another 23 years of making pianos."

During Yamaha's involvement, the company has made and sold more than 120,000 pianos and won a Queen's award for export.

"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," added Mr Kemble.

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