Marilyn O’Donovan tells us about the accordion:
“My father, Kenneth Parker, was born in 1920 in Porth, Rhondda Valley… By the time he was 19 years old he’d been working in the pit for 5 years, giving all of his wages, apart from one shilling a week, to keep the family, but had managed to save enough by April 1939 to put down a deposit of £1. 3s. 0d. on the piano accordion which he had seen in the window of The Empire Music Stores in Porth. The accordion cost £22. 1s. 6d. and he would have to pay for it in instalments of £1. 3s. 3d. a month.
He started to teach himself how to play it, but decided that he needed lessons from a professional so, every week, after working a full day in the pit, he would bath, change, attach his accordion to his bicycle and cycle the 15 miles to Cardiff to have lessons with Miss Hilda Banwell in Romilly Crescent. Having had his lesson, he would then cycle back up to the Rhondda, get a night’s sleep and be up early to work another day down the mine. Hilda Banwell went on to become very well known for her Merry Makers Accordion Band which entertained members of the Armed Forces and munitions workers during the Second World War.”