Memories of music played in Leeds pubs before the jukebox

It was the forerunner of the modern jukebox.

Friday, 23rd April 2021, 6:00 am

The Polyphon was a clockwork-powered form of musical box, housed in an ornate, penny-in-the-slot cabinet, which plucks dulcet music from a repertoire of about 20 steel discs.

And regulars at the 17-century Boat Inn, a one-time calling place for Methley miners taking ferryboat trips to and from Allerton Bywater Colliery, were enjoyed the sounds it served up in October 1960.

The music box was found by licensee Arthur Thomas, stored away in a spare room when he and his wife Irene took over the pub in 1956. The machine had been cleaned and 'rejuvenated' by him and was able to play those of the records from which he has cleared the rust of age and whose dents he has straightened out.

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Mr Thomas planned to make the Polyphon and its records a permanent fixture in the river's edge bar - gently churning out such "oldies" as Alice Where art Thou?, The Miner's Dream of Home, While London's Fast Asleep, The Gypsy's Warning, Bonnie Mary of Argyle and I'll be Your Sweetheart.

This photo plucked from the YEP archive shows 79-year-old Billy Guy and 80-year-old Walt Hepworth (seated), both ex-miners with over 60 years' pit service, supping their pints of old and listening to old tunes played from the Polython.

DID YOU ENJOY THE SOUNDS OF THE POLYTHON BACK IN THE DAY? Share your memories with Andrew Hutchinson via email at: [email protected] or tweet him - @AndyHutchYPN*****************

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