Bell Musical Insruments Ltd - who areor were they?

Bell Musical Insruments Ltd - who areor were they?

A Paolo Soprani BC box has recently come into my posession, through family. I think it is an Elite, however on the back is attached a plastic label with the markings-

Bell Musical Instruments Ltd
S 26607

I’m assuming the last bit is a serial number, which is intriguing me . Is it the 26607 Paolo Soprani sold by this company? whoever they are, which seems doubtful that so many have been sold especially by one company. Or is it the total number of items sold by them, again doubtful, or is it a Paolo Soprani serial number?

Can anybody enlighten me? I’d be interested in the history of this box if it’s possible to track it down.

Re: Bell Musical Insruments Ltd - who areor were they?

Possibly Bells of Surbiton (UK)? They specialised in accordions and had instruments rebadged under their name. I don’t know if they’re still going - they were about 15 years ago.

Re: Bell Musical Insruments Ltd - who areor were they?

There was a Bell’s Accordions show-room / repair workshop in Darlington (NE England) back in the 1980s - at any rate, that’s what people called it. I don’t remember much about it but I did have a melodeon re-tuned there.

But I don’t know if Bell was an instrument manufacturer, importer or just a retailer, whether the business existed in countries outside the UK, or whether within the UK it had a chain of shops or just the odd one.

Re: Bell Musical Insruments Ltd - who areor were they?

There used to be a mail order musical intrument/equipment company by this name. I think I still have one of their catalogues from the 1970s somewhere in the house - but it’s been in a box over the course of two flittings, so wouldn’t be able to lay my hands on it easily at all.

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Re: Bell Musical Insruments Ltd - who areor were they?

Bell Accordions 157-159 Ewell Road, Surbiton, Surrey was the mecca for accordion players from London and surrounding areas in the fifties and sixties. They had one floor for Piano Boxes and one floor for Button Keys. Numerous Irish box players, including myself, often made their way to Ewell Road just to browse through the vast selection of Hohners/Paolo Sopranis and Galanti Boxes that were on view. The man in charge was Jack Larkin and I remember arriving at the shop just as they were closing for lunch. He gave me a dinner voucher compliments of Bells and I had a nice meal in a nearby cafe while I waited for it to re-open. In the fifties they use to have a sponsored programme on Radio Luxemburg 208 for accordions and it featured the great Toraf Tollefsen on the five row . It also featured our own Ciaran Kelly from Athlone playing traditional on the two row (anybody know what ever happened to him) As electronic instruments started getting more popular and accordion sales slumped the name was changed to Bell Musical Instruments and they sold a whole range of other musical instruments. They did have the Bell brand name on a range of piano boxes but I can’t say I ever saw it on a button box. Their northern branch was on the Aycliffe Trading state near Darlington Co Durham. I last saw the shop at Surbiton in the eighties but haven’t heard of them since then.

Re: Bell Musical Insruments Ltd - who areor were they?

The Darlington shop is still going - owned by Geoff Holter - I have had repairs etc. done there.A really friendly and helpful team.

http://www.geoffholteraccordions.co.uk/

Re: Bell Musical Insruments Ltd - who areor were they?

Free Reed - that’s them; you’re right about it being on the Aycliffe Trading Estate - I’d forgotten that. There *is* (or was recently) an accordion shop in Darlington, but I’ve forgotten its name. Again, I had a repair done there a few years ago.

Re: Bell Musical Insruments Ltd - who are or were they?

This latter’ll be Geoff Holter’s, that Geoff has mentioned. Yes, very good service. A strap-adjuster bolt on my not-old Salterelle sheared for no comprehensible reason and they soon found me a replacement. I hope Salterelle don’t win any contracts to build bullet trains for the UK, that’s for sure…

Re: Bell Musical Insruments Ltd - who areor were they?

Fascinating guys. One wonders if they keep records of their sales, presumeably so if they bother to serial number them. Think I’ll try and contact them, see if they can throw light on the matter.

Thanks to all who answered, the amount of knowledge stored between the members of this board is astounding!!!

Re: Bell Musical Insruments Ltd - who areor were they?

Free Reed - The box is still branded Paolo Soprani, the information/identity plate if that is what it is, is approximately 2"x1" and fastened on the rear of the Bass button side :)

It’s that I’d never seen one on any of the other PS I’ve owned or for that matter on any other PS i’ve ever seen :)

Re: Bell Musical Insruments Ltd - who areor were they?

I had a piano accordian from Bell’s, and have recently had a severe housefire. Fortunately I had the reciept seperate as it was leather bound and lovely. It was purchased by my uncle in 1972. This is a plea to user Ron P, or anyone with a catalogue of the time, to either sell the catalogue or scan some relevant pages. I will pay for all time, expenses etc. I am very keen to track down the same model. Serial number is:

M - 1691

Any help or information at all would be greatly appreciated! It was very personal to me and can’t seem to track anything down. Thank you.

Re: Bell Musical Insruments Ltd - who areor were they?

Hello my name is Enda I have become the proud owner of a B and C Paulo Soprani accordian from a friend who sadly passed away a month ago I was wondering where the serial number is on it as i would like to know its age There is a sticker on its case with the name NILS NIELSEN A.C.E TREKKSPILL BOUNDARY ROAD CHALFONT ST PETER BUCKINHAMSHIRE Does anyone know if this place still exsists?

Re: Bell Musical Insruments Ltd - who areor were they?

Do your friend favour and play it.

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Re: Bell Musical Insruments Ltd - who areor were they?

Company #:
NL16864857

Company:
NIELSEN,NILS,

Address: TREKKSPILL
BOUNDARY RD

GERRARDS CROSS
SL9 9PQ


A Danish spelling for his name, but "trekkspill" is the Norwegian word for accordion. Must have Norwegian connections, I suppose.

Looks like the company might still be going.

Re: Bell Musical Insruments Ltd - who areor were they?

nills nielsen was still going strong 3 months ago when i last spoke to him, he originated from norway and was in the accordion buisness in london in the 1960 with toralf tollefson . nielson was tollefsons accordion tuner

Re: Bell Musical Insruments Ltd - who areor were they?

To enlighten you regarding the small black or white badge on your Paolo Soprani

Any instrument that was sold second hand or repaired by Bell’s Accordion showroom immediately had the Bell’s label attached and recorded.

The majority of repair work was generally done at the Surbiton branch and will normally be signed and dated inside by whoever had done the repair (may even be me).

If any instrument needing a complete overhaul was normally sent to Allcyiffe Darlington Co Durham (but not always) but it still carried the Bell’s label.

For your information when Bell’s was still owned by Arthur Bell they produced their own accordions at Allcyiffe but sadly after his death the company was taken over by the German company Hohner so the manufacture of the Bell accordion was taken over by them, although still had the Bells label.

The general instrument showroom mail order warehouse shut in 1983 due to the lease running out. Accordion and keyboard showroom opposite was owned by Bell’s and remained for a number of years (not sure how many).

It was a fun place to work and I wish it was still in existence.

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