King’s Lynn firm turns cow gut into harp strings

Bow Brand based in King's Lynn, manufacture harp strings. Checking the strings in the drying room is

Bow Brand based in King's Lynn, manufacture harp strings. Checking the strings in the drying room is David Chilvers. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Who'd have thought you could make beautiful music from a cow's guts?

Bow Brand based in King's Lynn, manufacture harp strings. Checking the strings in the drying room is

Bow Brand based in King's Lynn, manufacture harp strings. Checking the strings in the drying room is David Chilvers. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Tucked away off Dodman's Bridge, in King's Lynn, Bow Brand have been making natural gut harp strings for more than 100 years.

A by-product of the beef indistry, cow gut is reckoned to have a mellower sound than synthetic alternatives, as well as being much stronger than nylon.

Bow Brand based in King's Lynn, manufacture harp strings. Checking the strings in the drying room is

Bow Brand based in King's Lynn, manufacture harp strings. Checking the strings in the drying room is David Chilvers. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Before the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton, in 2011, Royal harpist Claire Jones, who played at the couple's reception at Buckingham Palace, had her instrument re-strung with 47 strings from Bow.

Before gut can be played, it has to go through several wet and dry processes, to cure, stretch, polish and finally varnish it to turn it into strings.

Bow Brand based in King's Lynn, manufacture harp strings. Checking the strings in the drying room is

Bow Brand based in King's Lynn, manufacture harp strings. Checking the strings in the drying room is David Chilvers. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt


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Bow Brand was set up near Highgate, in Lynn, in 1902 because the site was near an abbatoir, which provided a ready supply of raw materials.

Bow Brand based in King's Lynn, manufacture harp strings. Checking the strings in the drying room is

Bow Brand based in King's Lynn, manufacture harp strings. Checking the strings in the drying room is Rosina Russell. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

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Bow Brand based in King's Lynn, manufacture harp strings. Checking the strings in the drying room is

Bow Brand based in King's Lynn, manufacture harp strings. Checking the strings in the drying room is Rosina Russell. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Bow Brand based in King's Lynn, manufacture harp strings. Checking the strings in the drying room is

Bow Brand based in King's Lynn, manufacture harp strings. Checking the strings in the drying room is David Chilvers. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Bow Brand based in King's Lynn, manufacture harp strings. Gauging a string is Diane Toll. Picture: I

Bow Brand based in King's Lynn, manufacture harp strings. Gauging a string is Diane Toll. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Bow Brand based in King's Lynn, manufacture harp strings. The strings are ready for the varnishing p

Bow Brand based in King's Lynn, manufacture harp strings. The strings are ready for the varnishing process. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Bow Brand based in King's Lynn, manufacture harp strings. Picture: Ian Burt

Bow Brand based in King's Lynn, manufacture harp strings. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Bow Brand based in King's Lynn, manufacture harp strings. Picture: Ian Burt

Bow Brand based in King's Lynn, manufacture harp strings. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Bow Brand based in King's Lynn, manufacture harp strings. Picture: Ian Burt

Bow Brand based in King's Lynn, manufacture harp strings. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Bow Brand based in King's Lynn, manufacture harp strings. Picture: Ian Burt

Bow Brand based in King's Lynn, manufacture harp strings. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Bow Brand based in King's Lynn, manufacture harp strings. Spinning the strings is Sarah Middleton. P

Bow Brand based in King's Lynn, manufacture harp strings. Spinning the strings is Sarah Middleton. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Bow Brand based in King's Lynn, manufacture harp strings. Varnishing the strings is Richard Coe. Pic

Bow Brand based in King's Lynn, manufacture harp strings. Varnishing the strings is Richard Coe. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

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