Industrial Heritage Online

Industrial Heritage Online

Hilton and Hilton

Redeveloped. The site is now occupied by the HMRC offices and garden on Castle Street.

In about 1890, the two Hilton brothers, piano manufacturers based in Mirfield since about 1870, moved their operation to Leeds. The works on Saville Street were claimed at the time to be the largest pianoforte manufactory in the provinces.

The works were described in 'The Century's Progress' of 1893:
"The main entrance to the works is in Saville Street. On the ground floor of the building, at this point, are situated the general offices of the firm, and the private business-rooms of the partners. On the same floor are found the store-room, and the commodious packing and receiving rooms adjoining the goods yard. Next is the engine-room, with two steam-engines of forty horsepower, attached to a series of beautifully constructed machines in the next room. These machines are adapted for working both wood and metals, and were specially made for these purposes by Messrs. T. Robinson & Son, Limited, of Rochdale. They comprise band, circular, and other saws, tenoning, boring, moulding and shaping machines. Adjoining is the room for storing the bracings, panels, trusses, and mouldings after they leave the hands of the machinists. Then come the japanning-rooms, constructed as ovens, and fitted up with drying racks and all the modern appliances for japanning the castings. In the veneer-room is displayed a curiously varied stock of almost every kind of fancy wood that can be utilised in the manufacture of pianos. In this department intending purchasers can select veneer for their own particular pianos so as to match any sort of furniture which they have in their houses. Outside of these interesting rooms are the extensive timber-yard and weighing-machine. There are also various outbuildings, stables, and coach-houses, and special facilities for the drying of timber, some descriptions being kept as long as five years before being moved. It is then stacked under sheds open on all sides, then in sheds partly closed, and finally in drying-rooms heated by pipes running through and under the stacks. Afterwards it is made into “parts”, which are stored until they are wanted. The main building of the factory is four storeys in height.
The top floor is used for back-making, veneering, sound-board making, marking off, and case-making. The second floor is occupied for the processes of case-making, incising, gilding, and also for action fitters, polishers, fly-finishers, and rough tuning. The final examinations of the instruments, which are always supervised personally by one of the firm, take place on this floor. The magnificently proportioned show-room is fitted with movable partitions, where from one to two hundred instruments, in a wonderful variety of cases, and at prices to suit the financial resources of all classes, are always displayed for the choice of customers. In the centre of the building is a powerful lift, worked by a rope from the adjacent engine."

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Key Words :- pianoforte manufacture musical instruments
Linked Sites :- ,
Address :- Lisbon Street, Leeds , West Yorkshire, LS1 4UE
Grid Ref :- SE 2933 3356
Co-ordinates :- Lat - 53.797525 , Long - -1.556203
Local Authority :- Leeds Council
Pre 1974 County :- Yorkshire - West Riding
Site Condition :- Site redeveloped to industrial / commercial use
Site Status :- Site demolished or no longer extant
Site Dates :- 1890 -