Menubalk Historie

created 01-10-2009

update: 2-12-2013

The Museum can be visited at:

Reed Organ & Harmonium Museum
Victoria Hall
Victoria Road
Saltaire Village
West Yorkshire BD18 3JS

+44 (0)1274 -585601
(after 18:00)



Collectie Olthof

Harmonium Museum Nederland


Saltaire Reed Organ Museum





Harmoniummuseum Liestal




Harmonium Art Museum België





















































































































Band 62




As per December 1, 2011:

"Owing to the closure of the Museum, there is no longer a Harmonium Museum in England.
However, there is a VIRTUAL museum, created by Rob Allan: a website of giant proportions, showing virtually every known brand built in the United Kingdom, both pressure and suction instruments."

Here you can visit the virtual museum



The Harmonium Museum at Saltaire



The historical Saltaire village

Sir Titus Salt  

In 1853 Sir Titus Salt built a textile mill close to the river Aire and the Canal from Leeds to Liverpool.
For this type of factory a superb location due to the need of an immense volume of water needed for the textile production.

At the same time the - in social context - progressive Sir Titus decided to build a village to house the necessary laborers. This village had to have - in his opinion - all that was needed to live in a socially acceptable level of wellfare. A church, houses and even a cultural centre.

Sir Titus named this village to himself and the nearby river Aire, and hence the name Saltaire was born.

Sir Titus passed away in 1876 and was entombed in a mausoleum adjacent to the local church.

In the village's centre Sir Titus Salt built the community centre annex cultural centre and it was named Victoria Hall, presumably named after the famous Queen Victoria. In 2001 the Saltaire Village was appointed an Unesco monument.
The Victorian Reed Organ Museum is established in one of the Victoria Hall wings.

This museum is a private initiative of the Fluke family, Phil and Pam. They came from London and started this museum in 1985.

They were - obviously - proud to have established the first Harmonium Museum in Europe.
Harmoniums were to be found also in various museums all over Europe housing collections of musical instruments. However, they did not get the attention we need to promote the harmonium. Most of the time they were in stock rooms and were only available to scholarly study.

Without exaggeration, it can be said that in the 80's of the previous Century, scholars were hardly interested in the study of the harmonium. Scholars were interested in other types of musical instruments.

Stimulated by initiatives like the one of the Fluke family and other museum efforts in Switzerland, the Netherlands, we now can make the statement that "amateurs" have overtaken the scholarly community. In this way they have triggered the scholarly community to start investigating the harmonium again.
This website also is proof of this overtaking the scholars.

  Saltaire Church


The picture above on the right shows the United Reformed Church of Saltaire. A marvellous example of Victorian building. The parish occupying this church building is Calvinistic-presbyterial.

In this church is to be found a relatively large pipe-organ (one of my other passions, fvdg) This organ has 3 manuals, full pedal and 55 stops.
Details about this organ are to be found here

At the left side of the church the mausoleum can been seen, where Sir Titus Salt has been entombed. Below on this page some pictures of the mausoleum.

Referring to the scholars versus the "amateurs" mentioned above: Even the writers of the various books mentioned on other pages of this web site, are mainly from other disciplines in scholarschip and not musical instrument scholars. Examples: Louis Huivenaar, harmonium restorer started as a book binder and teacher of book binding. Robert Allan is a physicist.

By exchanging data and historical facts in between the "new self made scholars" a new impulse was given to the study of the instruments based on the free reed.

Saltaire aerial view

The first harmonium museum: Saltaire

Phil and Pam Fluke started collecting in 1976. They were looking for a piano to embellish the family's musical interests. It just happened that the the guy in the couple went out to find a piano and came home with something totally different. As struck by lightning they both fell in love with the 11 stop reed organ. A spark of lightning ignited a new love to be born.

In 1985 they decided that the collecting of reed organs - 28 in the meantime - and four kids, was no longer managable in the house. Hence they decided to start a museum. Lobbying started, and resulted in being able to rent a part of Victoria Hall in Saltaire. Victoria Hall is the building with a tower on the right side of the picture above.

Victoria Hall   Victoria Hall
Front of Victoria Hall

The Saltaire Harmonium Museum is housed in one of the wings of Victoria Hall.

Display of instruments  

Aims and goals of the museum

  • collect and preserve various types of harmonium

  • education, musical entertainment

  • to encourage and promote the reed organ



The Saltaire catalog

The collection of the Saltaire Harmonium Museum is captured in a catalog. In this booklet there are very detailed descriptions of all items in the collection. Details are presented about: builder, year of manufacturing, size, composition of the instrument, technical details, number of stops, manual compasses, number of reeds, historical data about builders.

Adjacent to the instruments, the museum also collects historic catalogs, pictorial items, patent documents, advertizing materials by harmonium builders and scores of music for reed organs.

Furthermore the museum is also a restoration workplace. Restoration is done in cooperation with a closeby working restoration firm. Parts and pieces needed for restoration and maintenance are also kept in stock and available for purchase by owners of reed organs.

Finally, the museum holds listings of extant instruments built by Mustel, Alexandre, and some other builders. In the collected data is also the original purchaser and the present owner of the instrument.

The instrument collection

In the collection are examples of various types of reed organs:

  • Presssure harmoniums
  • Suction reed organs
  • Combination instruments as piano & harmonium; organ & harmonium; harmonium & celesta;
  • Automatic playing instruments ( rollplayers)
  • Portable & Folding reed organs
  • Pedal reeg organs and pedal harmoniums
  • Unique examples (instruments of which only one is built)
  • Enharmonic instruments (16/32/53 tones per octave)


An example of description

Nota Bene: This Holt reed organ was the biggest one in the collection. Recently it has been sold and is now in private hands again.

John Holt, pedal reed organ, 3 manuals and pedals

Built by: John Holt Birmingham
Nameplate: John Holt Pioneer Works Harborne Birmingham
Style: 3 manual & pedal, practice organ
Serialnumber: 1554
Case: Massive natural oak


Dated: 16 september 1938
Size: b x d x h = 200 x 140 x 195

Manuals: 5 octaven C-c4
Keycover: ivory
Manualsplit: none
Pedal: C-f1, radial-concave

Number of stops: 41
Number of reeds: 1.461


Swell 8 rows

Pedal 6 rows

Great 7 rows

Choir 6 rows


French Horn 8
Cornopean 8
Contra Fagotto 16
Gemshorn 4
Flute 4
Echo Gamba 8
Violin Diapason 8
Lieblich Gedact 8
Lieblich Gedact 8 (zwevend)



Trombone 16
Solo Flute 4
Octave Diapason 8
Salicional 16
Bourdon 16
Open Diapason 16
Double Diapason 32
Subbass 32


Trumpet 8 (encl.)
Fifteenth 2
Principal 4 (encl.)
Clarabella 8
Geigen 8
Large Diapason 8
Violone 16


Suboctave coupler


Hohl Flute 8
Clarinet 8
Wald Flute 4
Vox Angelica 8
Dulciana 8
Double Dulciana 16



Oktave coupler





Swell - Choir

Pedal – Swell
Pedal – Great
Pedal - Choir

Great - Choir


Various combination pedals

Reeds (bold printed stops are Estève reeds; italic stops are derived stops or mechanical stops.
(8 x 61) 488 reeds
(6 x 30) 180 reeds
(7 x 61) 427 reeds
(6 x 61) 366 reeds


A1 = 440



Dit instrument werd op verzoek gebouwd voor dr. Marmaduke P. Conway, organist van Ely Cathedral.


Adress of museum


Literature about this museum

Monika Lustig e.a. Michaelsteiner Konferenzberichte 62: Harmonium und Handharmonika, Michaelstein 2002 "The reed organ Museum in Saltaire - its conceptions and developtment, by Pam Fluke. p. 101-104. Text of this article is quoted in full below.

Pam Fluke (© 1999)

The Reed Organ Museum in Saltaire - its inception and development

1. Our Museum

a) How we got started and subsequently established in Victoria Hall, Saltaire

We set up our museum in Saltaire in October 1985. At that time it was the only such museum in Europe. Since then, a colleague - inspired by us - has set up a museum in Switzerland. Colleagues in Holland, Germany and Denmark are also planning museums. We have been avid collectors since 1976, when we acquired our first reed organ - by accident! We were vacationing in a cottage in the Dales. The lady living next door played her piano every night; it sounded lovely. I had played piano since I was a young girl; but as we lived on the nineteenth floor of a tower block, we thought that we would manage without. After hearing the pianist in the cottage, however, we were converted! When we 'got back to London, Phil went to the antique market at Tower Bridge to buy a piano. He returned home not with a piano, but with a reed organ. Phil had been captivated by the lovely casework - an excellent French polish - and the fact that it had about eleven stops which Phil assured me would give a variety of sound. The problem was that not all the stops worked.

Phil asked an old piano tuner if he knew someone who could do the work for us. He said that none of the workers were still in business, but as long as Phil had reasonable do-­it-yourself skills and noted everything he did, he could do the necessary restoration work himself. He did, the reed organ sounded lovely and we were 'hooked'!

By the time we moved to Yorkshire, we had about twenty-eight organs and four children. We had to do something to relieve the lack of space in our house. The curator of one of the Bradford museums informed us that they wanted to display our collection in Cliffe Castle. The organs were in this lovely venue for over three months, with the exhibition being extended by popular demand. But what to do when they came back home? We had acquired several more in the meantime! We looked for a suitable building, but most we saw needed a great deal of work. Eventually we discovered that a room in Victoria Hall in Saltaire was coming vacant and, after much petitioning, we were allowed to hire the room and move in there. Ours is a private museum, the collection belongs entirely to us. We receive no funding or financial support.

b) Our aims and goals for the museum

  • to preserve examples of reed organs and their various types
  • to educate and entertain
  • to encourage and promote the use of reed organs:
    • through hiring out a good harmonium
    • through al1owing 'hands on' in the museum - with defined parameters set out in the Visitors Guide on each instrument
    • through the publication of a Catalogue of the Collection that gives information about the instruments and the builders, and of a Guideline for Restoration that guides and advises people who want to restore their own reed organs
  • to establish archives contributing to the knowledge of the social history of the reed organ:
    • Photographic Archive - both current and historic
    • Specification Archive - we have over 1,500 different examples
    • Patent Archive - we have a large col1ection of British patents, plus some from France, Germany and the USA
    • Advertising and Catalogue Archive - a very large collection of original material which supports research and enquiry
    • Trade and Postcard Archive - showing the extent of the industry, as well as where reed organs were used and enjoyed - original cards
    • Music Archive - a growing number of pieces composed specially for the reed organ
    • Other materials - i.e. printer's blocks showing the various instruments advertised in catalogues in the USA, France and the UK
    • Spare Parts - we have reeds, handles, hinges, wooden parts, etc., to help restoration
    • Registers - details of the individual instruments made by a particular builder. So far we have instruments of Mustel & Cie., Alexandre François Debain, Père & Fils Alexandre, and Trayser. Others are in preparation. These registers are used by researchers and restorers.


c) Instruments we have collected and why

In the twenty-five years we have been collecting, we have worked to put together a representative selection of reed organs:

  • Pressure instruments - for chapels, churches, homes, cinemas, etc.
  • Suction instruments - for parlour, chapel, church, schoolroom, etc.
  • Combination instruments
    • a piano-organ (Orgapian) used in the silent movies
    • a pipe and reed organ - specially made by a reed organ builder for his own use
    • reed and celesta - both pressure and suction
    • reed organ and desk (!)
  • Automatic instruments
    • Mustel Concertal - a very rare example (pressure)
    • Story & Clark Phoneon (suction)
    • Small "orguinette" for parlour use
  • Portable instruments
    • book harmonium
    • lap organ - by Père & Fils Alexandre (Paris)
    • Salvation Army folding, portable organs
    • rocking or elbow Melodeon (USA)
  • 2 & 3 manual and pedal instruments
    • both pressure and suction, with reeds ranging from 2' pitch to 32' pitch
  • Special instruments
    • an Exhibition 2mp pressure harmonium with a highly decorated case, which won it a prize in the 1862 London Exhibition
    • 2mp Estey Organ Co. with case specially constructed for the Masonic Peace Hall in London
    • Enharmonic instruments
      • R. H. M. Bosanquet Harmonium with 53 tones per octave
      • Colin Brown Harmonium with 32 tones per octave
      • McClure prototype with 16 tones per octave

2. Conservation
Our conservation credo:

  • Materials/methods to be used: Wherever possible, we use original material, i.e., leather treated in the 'old' way with salt and alum; bellows cloth that is a copy of the original; similarly felts, silks and cottons. Original replacement parts wherever possible, i.e., reeds, handles, etc. We always use hot animal glue and often the original tools, which we collect.
  • Recording all data concerning the instruments in the collection: We always document any restoration with detailed photos of the work. Keeping examples of original materials: cloth, wood, etc. We also have a Museum Catalogue, set up in conjunction with the Museums and Galleries Commission of Great Britain, with whom we worked in the initial stages of establishing these guidelines.
  • Recording data concerning harmoniums in general: All instruments we see or hear of are recorded in our archives, so that the information is available to us or anyone else who wishes to consult it.


The Saltaire United Reformed Church

Interieur van de kerk
Church interior
Side of church
  Church and organ
Song text  
Church along river


Celebration United Reformed Church


Mausoleum of Sir Titus Salt

Mausoleum   Mausoleum   Mausoleum
Mausoleum   Mausoleum  








Reed Organ & Harmonium

Victoria Hall, Victoria Road, Saltaire Village, Shipley, West Yorkshire BD18 3JS
Phone: +44 (0)1274 585 601
// // //
Victoria Hall, a magnificent Grade 2* listed building, standing within the environs of Saltaire village was constructed in 1869 by Sir Titus Salt for the benefit of his workers. It has now become a popular venue for a whole range of events and is even home to the Reed Organ & Harmonium Museum, which boasts a surprising collection instruments. The museum, belonging to Phil and Pam Fluke, possesses both large and small exhibits giving visitors an ideal opportunity to see the so many different types of organs and harmoniums at first hand. Open from Sunday to Thursday the museum offers a warm welcome to all with many of the instruments being played on a regular basis.



Victorian Reed Organ Museum

by harmoniumnet tripwolf
The Victorian Reed Organ Museum has no website. However, on my website I have a page dedicated to this museum. The page is available in English and Dutch. Comments on the content of the page(s) are appreciated. To visit the page follow this link:





Terug naar Historie