The Kemble Piano Company was established in 1911 by Michael Kemble in Stoke Newington, North London - the centre of the UK's piano manufacturing activity at that time. In North West London alone there were reputedly 100 small scale factories and workshops.
Michael Kemble's son, Robert, took over the business in the 1950s and moved the company to a state-of-the-art factory in Bletchley, near today's new city of Milton Keynes.
Sales grew very rapidly and the company needed to expand production, leading to Kemble’s joint venture with The Yamaha Corporation of Japan in 1968.
This joint venture would eventually be established as Yamaha-Kemble Music (UK) Ltd. In 1985 Kemble and Co. started making a range of acoustic pianos for Yamaha, to be sold in the UK market and, two years later, Yamaha chose Kemble to become its European manufacturing partner.
Kemble created and nurtured a piano tone that became distinctively British - warm, rich and rounded with a superb dynamic and tonal range.
Kemble made many pianos for many other brands over the years such as John Brinsmead, Cramer, B.Squire, Rogers Eungblut, Squire & Longston, Moore & Moore and John Broadwood & Sons.
The factory was expanded and modernised and in the early 90's and Kemble started to export to the United States of America.
In 1992, Kemble and Co. was recognized by the granting of The Queen's Award for Export Achievement, the only British company in the piano industry ever to receive the accolade.
In 1998, Yamaha purchased controlling interest in the Kemble company, and in 2009, two years short of Kemble's centenary and after producing more than 350,000 pianos here in England, production was moved to Asia by Yamaha. A combination of factors such as labour costs and a declining demand for acoustic pianos explained the move.
Most of the Kemble pianos found in the UK are upright pianos, with the exception of a few small and medium sized grands.
The piano pictured below is a variation of the Kemble Cambridge, one of Kemble's most sought after models.