Challen has been a name well-associated with the finest crafted pianos since 1804―pianos that have graced royal households, concert halls, music conservatoriums, luxury hotels and broadcasting studios for decades. Challen has also been a name closely associated with the British Broadcasting Corporation for over 30 years. Having made it the piano of the British Broadcasting Corporation, its excellent tonal quality, reliability and consistency in performance have won the Challen piano the much coveted “Royal Appointment Award” for product excellence.

Within lies the secret of quality including


  • Extra heavy, vacuum-processed, grey cast iron with steel additive to permit high string tensions to be used.


  • Strings of the highest grade―German made, “Roslau” nickel plated steel wire with copper windings on the bass strings.


  • A sculptured sounding board of selected Rumanian pine or Sitka spruce for better resonance.


  • Well-balanced keys, ultra-sensitive mechanism and high density Royal George wool-covered hammers perfectly translating player’s touch to exquisite tones.

Together, these qualities have brought about a superior product of unexcelled performance, quality and durability.

Today, more than 201 years later, the reputation of the Challen piano is still ever-present and it continues to be greatly sought after by pianists from all over the world. The successor to the renown “Challen” mark is proud to play its part in maintaining the heritage that began in 1804.

The History of Challen

Challen started to make the largest piano in the world for the Silver Jubilee of George and Mary, in 1935. There may have been two pianos or the one withdrawn repainted and polished and turned out again. There was a letter in the Piano Tuners Quarterly form Challen dated 19th December 1940, saying:

“Particulars of the world’s largest grand piano, manufactured by Charles H. Challen & Sons. This instrument was made in honour of the Silver Jubilee of their Majesties King George V and Queen Mary and is the largest grand piano in the world. It has created a profound impression in musical and engineering circles. It is eleven feet and eight inches long, weighs one and a quarter tons, and the combined tensile stress of the strings amounts to over thiry tons. The iron frame alone weighs six and a half hundred weight and the longest bass string is nine feet eleven inches.

The experimental work in connection with its production took over twelve months, and the cost amounted to over £600. In spite of its immense dimensions and strength, so perfectly has everything been calculated that it is even easier to play than an ordinary piano. It is a feat of British piano engineering, which places the British industry definitely on top. It was first shown at the British Industries fair in 1935, where it was inspected by H. M. the Queen, and was played for her by Billy Mayerl. At a later date Sir Walford Davies, Master of the King’s Music, also played the instrument and in reference to the piano he stated ‘it is indeed a glorious instrument. It has the bass of an organ and yet the intimacy of touch and tone of the finest piano I have ever played. A great achievement’. It has been used on several occasions for broadcasting.”

–Charles H. Challen


The history of the “Barratt & Robinson” piano began in 1877 when Barratt & Robinson Ltd. was founded at York Way, King Cross, England. Now more than a century later, the successor to the prestigious name and mark “Barratt & Robinson” continues the tradition that had been laid down by the founders to ensure quality has been perpetuated with good workmanship. Barrett & Robinson pianos offer the kind of tone quality and keyboard playability that will delight even the most discriminating player. Whichever model you select, you can be assured of everlasting playing pleasure.


The Barratt & Robinson piano since its introduction, became well known throughout the world for its dependability and playability, which qualities are best judged by the numerous awards it won since 1878, making it a truly magnificent musical instrument to own.

PARIS 1878 Gold Medal
ROTTERDAM 1907 Grand Prix
ROME 1908 Gold Medal
MANCHESTER 1910 Gold Medal
LODON 1911 Gold Medal

MANCHESTER 1911 Gold Medal
TURIN 1911 Grand Prix
LONDON 1914 Grand Prix
NORWICH 1920 Gold Medal