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Home shutdown strikes sour note

PUBLISHED: 14:49 10 September 2008 | UPDATED: 09:37 12 August 2010

Bromley
22-07-08
Ivor Newton House
Home for former Musicians under threat of closure

Bromley 22-07-08 Ivor Newton House Home for former Musicians under threat of closure

AN EVICTED pensioner is angry that he is to be separated from his home, friends and music. Former conductor of Orpington Symphony Orchestra Leonard Davis, 94, lived in Britain s only dedicated home for musicians but must move out in October. Ivor Newton

AN EVICTED pensioner is angry that he is to be separated from his home, friends and music.

Former conductor of Orpington Symphony Orchestra Leonard Davis, 94, lived in Britain's only dedicated home for musicians but must move out in October.

Ivor Newton House, in Edward Road, Bromley, was axed by the Musicians Benevolent Fund (MBF) on August 5, leaving Mr Davis the option of moving to a regular home in Tunbridge Wells.

The former viola player said: "All my friends are in Bromley. I led the orchestra in Orpington for 30 years. There was no way I was going to move away. It is sad that they have made us move. Ivor Newton House had four pianos in different rooms. There was regular music but apparently someone has decided that's not cost effective.

"I feel extremely angry with MBF."

The musicians' home was left by the late pianist Ivor Newton in 1981 and had housed more than 15 elderly musicians, many in their mid-90s.

It was furnished with portraits of musicians, had a Steinway grand in the common area and received regular visits from professional musicians.

Mr Davis has since moved to Dowe House in Blackheath but found that the MBF cannot fund his entire living costs.

The MBF closed Ivor Newton House after a consultation, citing under-occupancy, disrepair and a general desire for people to live nearer their family as reasons for closure. A spokesman for the MBF said the building would be sold once all the residents move out in October next year.

To oppose the closure, write to the Musicians Benevolent Fund, 16 Ogle Street, London, W1W 6JA.


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