Pohlmann Showroom on Princess Street

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The firm was founded in 1823 by Henry Pohlmann thought to be related to Johannes Pohlmann the maker of the first pianos in England. The business began in Corn Market 1823 then in Waterhouse Street in 1830. The firm developed to a point where it had a showroom and warehouse premises in Princess Street and a steam works, piano manufactury and warehouse in Hall Street, Halifax. In 1890 they employed 40 people.

The firm controlled a great number of valuable patents and with the exception of Messrs Erard of London, they were the first to make pianos with a 7¼octave keyboards. New construction of full iron frames introduced by Pohlmanns to England in 1870 and 1871 and were the first to use overstrung bass in upright pianos. They had a big export trade to South America, New Zealand and Australia.
There is a claim which is repeated in several sources that Pohlmann refused to allow his workshops for munitions production. We cannot find the verification for this and it is possible that it was a slander created maliciously because of their German ancestry. It is unlikely that they were either pacifists or German sympathisers as many of their family served in the war. Two of their sons served in the RFC and one of them, Reginald Pohlmann was shot down and killed in 1918.

The business, however, went into decline after the war. They stopped making pianos in the 1930’s and switched to retail of radios and later televisions. Eventually they were taken over by Rediffusion.

Halifax Courier Advert, December 1917

Halifax Courier Advert, December 1917