Grandson’s music school is tribute to Verdun Allen

Steven Robinson with his grandparents Ruth and Verdun Allen (s)
Steven Robinson with his grandparents Ruth and Verdun Allen (s)

A celebrated Clitheroe musician is being honoured by his grandson, who has named a new music appreciation school after him.

Music lecturer Stephen Robinson has fond memories of playing the piano for his late grandfather Verdun Allen, who was uniquely named after a First World War battle in 1916, the year of his birth. He had eight brothers and sisters, including a brother Nelson and sister Florence.

On March 5th Mr Robinson will launch the Verdun Allen Music Foundation in South Manchester to provide an opportunity for adults to deepen their appreciation of classical music.

Verdun Allen, whose parents lived in West View, was for 40 years a draughtsman for electricity authorities including Norweb, and lived at Littlemoor Road where his widow Ruth still lives.

He was a pianist, church organist and a gifted tenor, and sang with his wife in church choirs in the town, often as a soloist. He died in 1994.

“My grandfather loved music, and especially Schubert lieder,” said Mr Robinson (45), who was an organ scholar at Clitheroe Parish Church under Charles Myers from 1986 to 88. “I spent many hours in his front room playing for him and doing my best to accompany his singing.

“He was born in a leap year on February 29th, and he thought it amusing that he had his 18th birthday in the year I turned 18.

“He gave me so much encouragement when I was learning to play the piano and organ, so I decided to name my organisation after him.

Mr Robinson, who has a PhD in music, taught music appreciation for HF Holidays, formerly Holiday Fellowship, for 13 years before deciding to work for himself from home in Stretford.

His Verdun Allen classes (verdunallen.org.uk) will run at Luther King theological college, Fallowfield. The first event covers Haydn string quartets and features the Atesh Quartet from the RNCM. Inquiries: 07708 128051.