Here's our dear friend Norman Dannatt, of 

The Clarke Tinwhistle Company, Ltd.

with his collection of Clarke whistles.

Norman's Annotations:

1.  A small brass A.  Victorian Pitch. We thank that Robert Clarke's first whistles, the Megs, might have been this size.

2. Brass Low Bb. Victorian pitch.  Plays beautifully.

3. Brass Low G. Victorian pitch. Lovely flutelike tone.

4.  Brass Low G. Victorian pitch, but does not play as well. When Robert made these brass instruments, he must have worried about the players having brass in their mouths because he coated the mouthpiece with lead solder.  Little did he know...

5.  Robert's one and only attempt at making a tin transverse flute or fife.  Not a great success.  It almost plays.

6.  The famous Crystallized Tinwhistle, made for the Great Exhibition in the Crystal Palace in 1851.  The paint crystallized as it dried.  Still plays well.

7.  A pennywhistle, slightly sharp, with box.  Gold & black livery with gold rings round the finger holes. The Clarke logo has been removed prior to exporting to Fresco in Germany.  Fresco then put his own logo on it...Don't know his first name..wonder if it is Al.

8.  The same pennywhistle with Robert's logo.

9,10,11. Coloured versions of same.

12.  This version was painted a very dull red. We are told that, after the War, paint was difficult to come by so the company had to make use of whatever they could get. Fred Clarke, the last Clarke family member to make whistles, had an order for one ton of these tinwhistles, painted red, for the Belgian Congo.

13.  This is the last type of pennywhistle to be made by the Clarke family and the first to be made by the Weedon family.  It has gold diamond shaped decoration round the holes.  Many famous whistlers, such as Mary Bergin, Tommy Maken, Michael Tubridy and James Galway learned to play on one of these.  Dale Wisely has one and says it is stunningly good. 

 


Norman Dannatt is the Music Advisor to the Clarke Tinwhistle Company and both he and the company are long-time supporters of Chiff & Fipple.  Norman can be reached by email at norman@clarketinwhistle.com  , by phone at 01708 455708  and by Fax:  01708 450842..

return to Chiff & Fipple