When a young Neil Nichols visited the famous Finchcocks Museum on a school trip, he wasn’t to know that years later the iconic institution would become a huge part of his life.
Built in 1725 as a grand Georgian Manor among the roaming green Kent fields on the periphery of Tunbridge Wells, Finchcocks is a stunning building surrounded by a host of outhouses and 13 acres of idyllic gardens.
For 45 years, between 1971 and 2015, the building was home to a large, visitor-friendly museum of historical keyboard instruments, displaying a collection of harpsichords, clavichords, fortepianos, square pianos, organs and other musical instruments.
Fast-forward to 2015 and it was by pure chance that Neil would spot a brochure selling one of Finchcocks’ exquisite grand pianos. In a piano school in London is where he would learn that the building he visited as a schoolboy was now up for sale, and so his new venture began.
Today, Finchcocks continues the musical legacy it has become synonymous with over the past half-century.
With the offering of an exceptional and unique experience at its core, Finchcocks welcomes up to eight visitors at a time through a series of regular residential piano courses, aimed at all ability ranges.
This is not your average piano school, however. Instead of the traditional focus on passing your Grade II theory, Finchcocks is dedicated to enjoyment and giving players of all levels the opportunity to learn and love the music they play.
The group of piano teachers is comprised of three musical experts, led by David Hall who designed each of the courses on Finchcocks’ curriculum.
As you would expect, turning an 18th century building into a high-class piano school does not come without its challenges. With no central heating and only one toilet under its roof, bringing the building up to spec was a project worthy of air time on Kevin McCloud’s Grand Designs.
As a Grade I listed building, Finchcocks still holds a great amount of its original character. However, its cellar now houses seven grand pianos – one of them sits in the cellar’s central atrium, while the other 6 can be found in each of the atriums which skirt around the central space.
Grand pianos tend to sound fantastic all of the time, but there are few more emphatic sounds than hearing one of Finchcocks’ pianos resonate through their 300-year-old stone cellar.
Following the renovation of the Coach House and the Old Dairy, Finchcocks is establishing itself as a top quality, boutique accommodation where visitors can stay and relax throughout their course.
The rooms have period charm in abundance: arch windows, feeding troughs and oak beams are found throughout. Guests are welcome to read or study in the library on the first floor, whilst the large lounge downstairs is ideal for pre-dinner drinks and discussion of the day’s events.
Fine dining is part and parcel of the incredible experience on offer at Finchcocks, with courses of food from breakfast to dinner catered for by the estate’s in-house chef.
Whether you’re having a laid-back breakfast ahead of an enjoyable day of playing, or tucking into a delicious dinner and wine, the food at Finchcocks will certainly hit all the right notes.
While Finchcocks itself may be standing on the same site for the past three centuries, its new approach to business is certainly moving forward, and at great pace.
Through implementing cloud accounting software Xero, Finchcocks have a paperless accounting system which not only simplifies the accounting process, but also provides a wealth of information beyond the figures on the balance sheet.
They have also opted to deploy Receipt Bank and Stripe, which streamlines their data entry and payment processes, freeing up a much greater amount of time to ensure those who visit Finchcocks are having an experience unlike any they have had before.