In the obituaries today in the Telegraph there is one that will pass many people by; a pity, it is of Henry Willis, the last of the organ builders of that family. It concentrates on his work and life which is only right.
One person, I think the grand uncle of Henry, was Edwin Willis, a partner and leading builder in the Willis Organ business, who was also responsible for the development of the Liverpool factory, a city which is a stronghold of the hard Left in politics today. The picture above is off the Willis Organ in St. Georges Hall, Liverpool.
Edwin Willis was the next door neighbour of Karl Marx in 1881. They may have been on civil terms, with the chats about how the primroses were doing and whether the lawns were going to need some rain soon, or when the landlord was going to see to all those repairs needed.
But they may not, Marx's Prussian railing against modernity going through the walls or Willis's organ works of all hymns bright and beautiful going the other way may have been an issue. It would have been quite enough to put Marx off religion.
On the other hand Willis might have wanted to cheer his neighbour up and make him more optimistic about the prospects for economic growth and the virtues of bimetallism. What tunes might be, should he have played to make Marx a happier man? We can only guess.
But our thoughts should be with Henry and the immense pleasure his family gave and are still giving in this field of music.