Skip to content or view screen version

Sheffield Street Piano faces Eviction

The Piano Liberation Army | 27.06.2006 22:37 | Culture | Free Spaces | Sheffield

Grass roots autonomous bottom up initiatives such as this should be encouraged, not cracked down on.
The following is local coverage (text taken from the Sheffield Star) of the impending doom of Sheffield's first free community street piano. Visit


Council says music has to stop and serves eviction notice on old joanna.

Sheffield's street piano has been served notice to quit the pavement in Sharrowvale Road - or face the music.

Since last August passers-by have tickled its ivories, schoolchildren have stopped by on their way to school and on occasion it has been the centre-piece of a full-blown street orchestra.

Now the council says the music has to stop.

It has slapped an "eviction notice" on the battered old joanna, outside number 165, claiming it is an obstruction.

If it's not moved by July 1 they will take it away. But local people have rushed to the defence of former students Doug Pearman and Hugh Jones, who put it there, with notices of their own.

"Save the Sharrow Street Piano" says one. "This piano is part of the community. It sooths (sic) the soul," pleads another: "Be nice and let the street piano stay," says a third.

Doug and Hugh, aka the Piano Liberation Army, claim they no longer own it. "It was a gift to the community of Sharrow and to Planet Earth more generally," they told Highways Enforcement Officer Dennis Wyatt in an e-mail.

Dennis sent the PLA a reply in what sounds like Doggerel.

"Acknowledged is your e-mail, the contents of which are noted of your desire to allow everyone to play the piano on a street.

"Congregations of the people, although not intent on evil, macabre noises they make in the gathering on the street"

No Poet Laureate there.

Doug, who had lugged his piano around different digs, parked the piano on the pavement last year for people to play. It was nicked but a well-wisher donated the current one, now padlocked to the pavement, and Doug has dreams of a whole network of pianos.

So as not to annoy the neighbours, he put up a notice asking people not to play it after 9pm, although he had to stop a group making music at 3am the other morning.

The street piano has become famous. It has its own website ( and Sheffield-based VeryMuchSo Productions is making a mini-documentary for the Discovery Channel. Doug, a student union officer and Hugh, a kitchen fitter, plan to move out on June 30. They are looking for a new street steward, to take care of it or move the piano to another street. And they need a piano tuner.

The council says: "We are assured that it will go before July 1 and we are pleased the matter may now be resolved amicably."

But Hugh says: "We have never at any point said we are going to take it away".

This story obviously has some way to go.

The Piano Liberation Army
- Homepage: