>> The Clarke Original Penny Whistle
A piece of British musical history
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other whistle can match the original Clarke Penny Whistle's
clear, flute-like tone quality. The Clarke Penny Whistle
also has a long and fascinating history. In 1843, Robert
Clarke a poor farm labourer left his employer after having
been unjustly accused of dishonesty. He was a talented amateur
musician and played a wooden whistle. He developed the idea
of copying his whistle but used tinplate to do so. He made
the block in the mouthpiece out of wood which he cut into
shape usuing a homemade saw. He decided to mass produce
his new style of whistle. Loading his tools and materials
onto a handbarrow, he set off with his son on a very long
walk from Suffolk to Manchester. On the way, he regularly
set up his workshop handbarrow in market places, showing
how the whistles were made and selling them. He would also
play for the entertainment of the crowds that gathered round.
His most popular piece was "Danny Boy". It is said that
the whole busy market would stop and listen when he played
this piece. In Manchester, Robert Clarke started manufacturing
his whistles and, as the years went by, his whistles became
world famous under their definitive name - PENNY WHISTLE.
The Clarke Pennywhistle Company has been producing penny
whistles from the mid-nineteenth century to this very day.
Some famous musicians made their start in music with these
instruments. In fact, James Galway, the world-renowned flautist,
first learnt to play on a Clarke Pennywhistle.
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