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Clive Robert Morley (1936 - 2015)

Founder of Clive Morley Harps

Clive Morley was born into the music business. His father, Douglas Morley, owned a music shop that sold pianos and similar instruments, sheet music and records. Clive served his apprenticeship as a piano tuner at Kemble and Co Piano Makers. After his apprenticeship, he returned to the family business, working on the production of clavichords and harpsichords and packing gramophone needles in his spare time.

The Morley family had been associated with harps since 1817 when George Morley (1790-1852) registered his harp making, tuning and repair business in London. Clive saw his first pedal harp on the Russian stand at the 1951 Festival of Britain. Though still a school boy, he initiated the negotiations which led to Robert Morley and Co obtaining the UK agency for these harps.

After a few years spent in the technology business, working for Marconi, GEC and IBM, Clive returned to the music business. His old mentor, Mr Jacobs of Kemble and Co, helped him obtain the agency for Aoyama harps. With the assistance of his wife, Kate, he founded Clive Morley Harps in 1988.

Clive initially sold Aoyama and Russian harps from the old Robert Morley piano showrooms in Lewisham: before long, the business relocated to specially built showrooms in Filkins, Gloucestershire, where Clive Morley Harps has been based ever since.

In 2006, Clive handed the day to day running of the business to his son, Ben. In retirement, he and Kate enjoyed playing bridge, travelling and entertaining. However, Clive kept an active role in all aspects of Clive Morley Harps. He was very knowledgeable about harp history and had a keen interest in antique harps and sheet music. At the same time, he was interested in new technologies and keenly promoted developments with MIDI harps and emerging harp materials and design.

Photo by Antony Thompson for Cotswold Life Magazine – April 2014