Tuesday, 29 June 2021

Greenock's first rock concert

Greenock's first rock concert took place in the Assembly Rooms (on the south side of Cathcart Street) in July 1849.  Perhaps Messrs Richardson & Sons is not the best name for a rock band, but their instruments were made from solid rock - as this article from the Greenock Advertiser explains,

 "manufactured by them after thirteen years incessant labour and application, from rocks hewn out of the mighty Skiddaw in Cumbria."

The local advertisement stated that -

"The pieces performed were those selected by command of Her Majesty for her soiree musicale at Buckingham Palace, and repeatedly called forth the applause of most respectable and enthusiastic audiences."

The band leader was Joseph Richardson (c1790-1855) who was actually a stonemason from Keswick in Cumbria.  Stonemasons often tap stones to test their qualities.  You can read about the musical stones here.  Richardson's three sons accompanied him in the Band.


Richardson's Rock Band were tremendously popular and travelled in Europe as well as Britian.  The instrument was known as a rock harmonica and was twelve feet in length - like a sort of rock xylophone.  They played pieces by Handel, Mozart and Haydn, Scottish and Irish Airs and popular dance music.

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