London – Public Piano players Heaven
January 1, 2023
Had there been a worldwide ranking for Public Piano cities, Greater London, England, United Kingdom would definitely be in the top 5. So many initiatives, so many Events, year-round pianos and consequently so much history.
About the Organizers
Since UK-based Luke Jerram ignited the Public Piano Boom back in 2008, numerous initiatives took over the streets of London. Here’s a taste of various flavors:
- Play Me I’m Yours – London – Too bad that PMIY are no longer actively organizing Events (still selling their label though until this very day), but we’ll allways be grateful for all their beautiful pianos over a decade!
- Platform88 Underground Pianos – This initiative from Yamaha UK have celebs like Jools Holland as their anchor men, putting pianos out in places like Canary Wharf and Tottenham Court Road tube station.
- St Pancras International Train Station – At the peak in 2015, there were no less than 5 piano within line-of-sight, as mentioned earlier.
- Canary Wharf – itself has an underground mall with a nice bunch of pianos launched in 2019.
- Private piano donations to train stations like Stratford International DLR
- Countless shopping centers like Westfield Stratford City with grand pianos
- Street Buskers are thoroughly regulated in the UK and sadly, most of them are not allowed to play the streets these days during the pandemic. Once they’re back, real Piano Pilgrims like Fabio Tedde a.k.a. Pianist Without Borders will gracefully share their self-transported piano in train- or underground stations with you. If you ever encounter Fabio in places like Bond Street, London Bridge, Green Park or Oxford Circus, please don’t forget that in his home-base London, he’s a trying to make a living too!
- Last, an honorable mention to The People’s Piano at Herne-Hill. We played that piano (replaced over the years) during many trips. How many of the Public Pianos you played, started in 2012, then got their own website, Twitter, an Instagram accounts, then starred in an award-winning documentary (embedded below)?! Sadly, its latests Tweet dates March 3rd 2020 stating: “Apparently my keys can spread disease and we can’t take any chances. So I’m sorry to say that I’m CLOSED for the foreseeable future. I’ll let you know when I’m up and running again”.
About the Pianos
Before diving into map details below, kindly note:
- Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, some if not most of these pianos might not be accessible at them moment of publishing this article.
- This great map – credits to PianoLessonsInLondon.com – shows NON-public pianos too, like concert grandpianos in theatres and other venues! We cannot say this enough: please always respect local regulations…
About the Venue/Event
What could we say more about London, other than: Public Piano players Heaven, would you agree?! 🙂