Hi Sarah

Only just come across a website about your talented grandfather.

My memories go back to the mid 40′s. As a young teenager my father took me to my first concert in which the Nottingham Symphony orchestra performed in the Nottm. Albert Hall. It was from that experienced I was hooked on classical music and studied piano and violin in the nearby Stockwin school of Music. I used to find it exciting attending orchestra rehearsals. Did not actually become a member but sat with the second violin playing along with the easy parts (Violin was not my preferred instrument). Sometimes the percussionist allowed me to make a few bangs in the right places.

Although I wanted passionately to make music my career it wasn’t to be. I studied optometry and have been working in that profession 20 years in London and 43 years in Jerusalem.(I am now 85 and still working). Throughout the last 40 years i played digital organ for many functions. I am now a great grandfather of uncountable number or grand and great grandchildren, and this keeps me busy..

Thanks for the memories

All the best

Alan Taylor

Hi my name is Mickey finch. I’m 70 now but when I was about 14 my mum took me to gaze cooper for piano lessons. We had to go to his studio upstairs in clement piano company. Gaze cooper was a character. Large and flamboyant. In his white coat. He used to shout at me when I got it wrong. He loved to break off the lesson to show us some of his Egyptian pieces.

We didn’t have a lot of money in those days and because gaze thought I had a future at the piano he gave us a free lesson on Tuesday’s.
I remember him composing his symphony when we went in. He made us wait until he’d finished the bit before he stared the lesson.
He used to arrange little concerts for us at the ywca.

Memories from Peter Eaton former pupil of Gaze Cooper

These are just some random memories of mine concerning Mr Cooper(as I knew him!)

I first started having piano lessons with Mr Cooper in 1961/62, when I was six years old. This was in his room at Kent & Coopers on Market Street. The room was on the second floor, which was a piano showroom, and I can still remember the distinctive smell of those grand pianos.

On the door of the room was a plaque that stated Gaze Cooper L.R.A.M M.R.S.T. This stood for Member of the Royal Society of Teachers, of which he was very proud to be a member of this very select group.

The room itself was dominated by the piano, to the left of the piano was a gas fire and, I think a kettle. Mr Cooper always sat on the left. Perched on the right, on the piano there was often a piece of Chinese porcelain, which was then described in great detail.

This was always fascinating to my young ears!

Mr Cooper was almost fanatical about the correct technique, when I first started I had to do exercises to keep my hands (and elbows) in the correct position. It goes without saying that the book of scales was sacrosanct!

My father died when I was seven, and I know that Mr Cooper then reduced his fees. Fees were noted in a red exercise book and paid by term, in guineas.

As mentioned by a previous correspondent he abhorred pop music. He once quoted a line he was writing for an opera, which referenced pop stars (possibly Tom Jones) earning “thirty pounds a week”. I’m not sure if this line has appeared anywhere

He would give my mother and I tickets for his concerts, which took place on a Sunday evening at what was then Peoples College. I remember one concert which showed a film of Nottingham sights (including Wollaton Park) while a combination of his symphonies was played.

Periodically, a chap would arrive during my lesson to show a selection of swatches of shirt fabric.

Piano practical exams (ABRSM) took place at what was then the Albert Hall Institute, but Grade 5 theory was taken at the YMCA on Shakespeare Street. Any mark below 98% was considered a failure!

When Mr Cooper retired, I carried on my piano lessons at his house at Tamworth Road, Long Eaton. Being a pupil of Mr Cooper’s always made you feel part of a select group, but to be invited to carry on after his retirement was extra special.

I am now 63 years of age and have not lived in Nottingham for a long time, but I can honestly say that Mr Cooper turned out to be one of the most important influences on my adult life, and to this day, a day without music is day wasted.

best regards,

Peter Eaton
As you can tell from my email, your Grandfather was a very special person to me .

Dear Sir/Madam.

My name is Richard Clamp
and my mother Barbara Clamp was playing in this Orchestra in the 1940,s I believe she played the violin at that time but later went on to playing the piano and very well! I think that my Auntie Freda and Auntie Val also played violin!

Richard A Clamp.

Memories from John Dixon

My mother (Mary Dixon) passed her Grade 8 piano with distinction and I got a credit for Grade 2 in 1946. Somewhere I have a note from GC congratulating us. I continued to have lessons with GC for a couple more years. Then my mother stopped mine so that my younger sister, Gillian, could have lessons. After a while she had to ask GC not to play any piece for Gillian because she would just remember how it sounded & practised playing by ear until she got it right instead of reading the music.
We used to go to final rehearsals at the Albert Hall, but rarely to the actual concert. Somewhere I have a programme signed by Bratza.

I remember watching the trolley buses from the window of Kent & Cooper whilst awaiting my lesson. Some years later £10,000 was saved by not re-routing the trolley bus wires for the introduction of one way systems. Instead £4,000,000 was spent out of a different purse to scrap the whole fleet of trolley buses and replace with diesel – and remove all the wires etc. And now trams are back having been replaced by trolley buses in the 20’s or 30’s!!!

GC sometimes came to our house at Wollaton Park for some sort of social meeting and I seem to remember he once had his Buddah on our grand piano. I believe he paid about £50 for it, but got fed up with it as it was so heavy & sold it for £100. My mother told me that the new owner had its metal tested & it was not lead or even bronze but solid gold. He sold it to the British Museum for £20,000. I have had a quick look at the BM web site but can’t find anything relevant. I don’t know how much (if any) of this is correct.

GC had a large black ugly late 1930’s Rolls-Royce car – probably a limousine – that he used for some years to cart his antiques around. I don’t think we had any contact with GC after we moved from Nottingham to Bingham. Strangely my mother’s mother bought a house there in the 50’s called “Kirkland House” – still there last Sunday!

In 1964 my Dad bought a 1927 vintage R-R limousine for £250. I still use the car, driving past KH last Sunday. I have tried to find out what car GC owned, but failed so far as no searchable database is available to me. There may be no record of GC owning a car, unless he had bought it new – surely not! For most cars the original owner and current/recent owners are known (if the car has survived), but intermediate names are often missing.

If you have any photos of such a car or any docs (eg log book, insurance cert) I might be able to identify it and see if it has survived. Maybe GC had more than one RR.

I see that GC was living at Hawksworth when he died in 1981 and that the current owners since 1965 have the house for sale. They must have known my Dad, Edwin Wm Dixon of The Pharmacy Market St Bingham from 1952-88. I imagine this was Sylvia & her husband (John Pike?). I seem to remember that my mother did sometimes meet Sylvia, but I have no knowledge of her meeting GC after 1952.

John Dixon in Chesterfield

Hello John
Thank you so much for your interesting email. It is so lovely to hear stories of my grandfather.

Gaze was an interesting character I have very fond memories of him throughout my childhood and teenage years.

We moved to Hawksworth when I was 5 years old and my grandparents moved in with us in about 1976.

What a coincidence that your mother’s house was Kirkland House you must have known them well to know that was myGrandma’s maiden name.

We did in deed know your father the pharmacist in Bingham. My Dad used to be a regular customer.

I haven’t found any photographs of the Rolls Royce but I believe that it was a 1936 saloon and the registration was FCH 86 I found this written somewhere.

As far as I know he only had 1 Rolls during his life although I do remember well him driving down to Devon on holiday with us in a Rolls Royce This must have been in the mid to late 1960′s. The one that I remember was not ugly so perhaps there were two and we remember different ones.

There were a lot of photos and I would love to find some of the car but haven’t so far.

I don’t know what became of the Budda but your mother’s story sounds very plausible.

Best wishes

Thanks for your reply! When I called GC’s RR “ugly” I meant in comparison with the (to me) more attractive vintage RR’s like the one my Dad had at Bingham from 1964-88. I have had the car since he died in 1991 & have driven her to Poland 3 times, Alps, Brittany, Italy etc mostly with an old caravan

There is no record of FCH86 at DVLA nor on the (well less than complete) RR Enthusiasts’ Club database. Other people have databases & may have some info. I’ll ask.

“You” must have seen my RR as my Dad was always showing it & his lamp posts to anyone who would listen!

I did not know GC’s wife was Kirkland – I found it on Ancestry while trying to find Sylvia’s children – ie you. Only then did I find your website.

I hope you are successful in getting GC’s music played.

You can add anything I send you to the website – you can even edit it – eg put ugly in inverted commas!