All the way back in 2012, the artwork ‘Play Me, I’m Yours‘ was brought to London by renowned UK artist and sculptor Luke Jerram. An international work, the concept saw more than 1,500 secret street pianos installed in over 50 cities across the globe – from New York to Florence – completely free for public use.
Sadly for all you budding Beethoven’s, the decade since has seen most of the 50 street pianos disappear from our beloved capital’s hallowed streets. But fear not trusty reader! There are still six left in town where you can have a tinker. And with the arrival of Channel 4’s ‘The UK’s Most Amazing Amateur Pianists‘ – the first episode of which hit our screens this Wednesday – there’s no better time to emulate the skills you find in the YouTube clip below:
So, without further ado, here’s our rundown of six public pianos in London for you to channel your inner Tchaikovsky:
1. Herne Hill
This beautiful addition to this secret street pianos roundup is surrounded by exposed brick in the underpass next to Herne Hill Railway Station, just off Railton Road. Billed ‘The People’s Piano’, the bright colours are perfect for an Insta snap and the constantly changing piano stools give added variety to each rhapsody. The tagline here is ‘thanks for keeping the piano playing‘, so you’d better follow suit.
2 & 3. St. Pancras International Station
The ultimate venue for an international audience, it has to be said! There are two pianos left here – one near the Eurostar arrivals gate and the other in the main shopping arcade – so you can choose before you Chopin. The street pianos at King’s Cross have seen the likes of Tom Odell, Freya Ridings and even Jools Holland play here, so you’re certainly in good company here! One was even donated by the legend himself Elton John! “It’s a little bit funny, this feeling inside“… you know the rest.
It has to be said that in a shopping centre that has more than 350 stores, 700 different brands, more than 85 places to eat, and a 20-screen cinema, it’s no surprise that there’s a piano for you to play. But, this isn’t just any secret street piano – it’s a magnificent grand piano which needs to be booked in advance. Oh darling! Check their website for further details here.
Now this one’s a big’un. Having once supplied electricity to the likes of Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament, the disused, Grade II*-listed Battersea Power Station has now transformed into one of London’s hottest shopping, dining and leisure destinations. As well as luxe apartments, 100-metre-tall viewing platforms, bougie shops, cinemas, countless foodie spots and bars, they’ve also gone and given you a public piano specifically designed to show off your musical melodies in Turbine Hall B. Here’s a chance for your moment in the spotlight…
6. London Bridge Station
Ok, so this one technically isn’t a piano per se. It’s actually an organ. But we figure we can still include this one right?! Taking pride of place in the commuter hub that is London Bridge station, the abandoned organ is located in the station’s arches, and is an 1880’s style, 250 pipe organ which has been rehomed by the heritage charity ‘Pipe Up for Pipe Organs‘. So if you’re bored on the old commute and fancy a go at impressing your fellow Londoners (stranger things have happened), then you know where to head!
So, there you have it – a rundown of all the secret street pianos – and one organ – which you didn’t know existed in our beloved capital. Time to channel your inner musician and maybe apply for the next season of Channel 4’s ‘The UK’s Most Amazing Amateur Pianists‘ – go on, we dare you!