I started my apprenticeship at T.W.Howarth, the oboe makers in 1981. Whilst there I undertook all the stages of manufacture, from wood turning to component manufacture. After an initial period I was trained to make mechanism and assemble oboes for the student instruments.
When suitably trained in that department I moved onto the handmade instruments, making professional oboes.
After a brief period with the flute maker/repairer Duncan Crawford, I returned to Howarth to undertake the set up of the clarinet department. Working alongside Jon Steward we collaborated to design and produce the Howarth S2 clarinet and later the S3 model.
I was involved in the design of the mechanism and the jig making. Most of the fixtures and jigs are unique to instrument manufacture and I was able to make these in-house. Whilst not being an engineer, I was soon to learn with the help of fellow colleagues and numerous text books.
It was the period with Duncan Crawford that inspired me to make my own flutes. I was able to hone my flutemaking techniques at home after my days work had finished.
I left Howarth after 22 years to work independently on a number of projects that had been on hold. I work principally on my own flutes and other woodwind instruments occasionally.
One Handed Instruments.
During my period at T.W.Howarth the company was asked by Dolmetsch Recorders to make a one handed recorder. I worked with Dr Brian Blood to design a simple mechanism and to undertake the manufacture of the keywork. Dolmetsch provided the wooden bodies and the head pieces until Dr Blood retired. This work continues in my own workshop where the ownership of the one handed recorder has passed to the recorder makers based in the Netherlands, Aafab.
In 2014 this work was recognised and awarded in the OHMI competition for the Playable Category.
Peter Worrell, Kelly Snook and Maarten Visser
In January 2016 I attended a reception given by OHMI at the House of Lords that gave me an opportunity to meet with players of the one handed recorder and also other one handed musicians. This was the inspiration for me to design the one handed clarinet.
My thanks go to Daniel Bangham, Paul Windridge and Gill Worrell for their constant support.