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1539 -   Parade at Westminster of “Droumes and Fyffes”.

1542 -   Henry VIII introduces large ‘kettledrums’.


1610 -   First drum march performed for Prince Harry.

1660 -   Kettledrums in general use by the English Army.


1742 -   References to side or snare drums made in the Regiment of Footguards.


1817 -   Henry Potter & Co established by Samuel Potter in King Street, Westminster.

1819 -   Barnett Samuel born in Russia

1832 -   The company that would become Barnett Samuel & Sons established.

1838 -   Samuel Potter dies, his son Henry takes over the business and relocates to Bridge Street, Westminster.

1856 -   John E. Dallas born.

1884 -   Arthur Octavius Windsor begins instrument manufacturing.

1887 -   Arthur Windsor establishes an instrument factory in Newhall Street, Birmingham.

c.1852 – Hawkes & Sons (London) Limited formed.

1859 -   George Potter, son of Henry Potter establishes George Potter & Co in Aldershot.

1872 -   Barnett Samuel & Son established in Sheffield.

1873 -   John E. Dallas begins instrument manufacture in Oxford Street, London.

1875 -   John E. Dallas moves to 415 The Strand, London.

1876 -   Henry Potter dies.

1878 -   Barnett Samuel & Sons moved to 32 Worship Street, London

1882 -   Barnett Samuel dies.

1892 -   Arthur Windsor forms Windsor & Taylor with Arthur J Taylor in March.


1901 -   Arthur Taylor leaves Windsor & Taylor and the company is renamed Arthur O. Windsor.

Barnett Samuel & Son is incorporated as a Limited company and opens it’s own piano factory in North London.

1905 – John Grey & Sons Drums launched by Barnet Samuel & Sons Ltd.

Deans & Son makers of Beverley Drums begin operations.

1906 -   John E. Dallas becomes John E. Dallas & Sons.


1914 -   JE Dallas & Sons moves to 202 High Holborn, London.

1918 -   Henry Potter & Co bought by George Potter & Co.

1919 -   Rose Brothers established on Rosoman Street, London.



1920 -   A. V. Morris joins Rose Brothers in October and company name is changed to Rose, Morris & Co.

1921 -   John E. Dallas dies, JE Dallas & Sons becomes a private limited company in August.

1922 – Premier Drums founded on 22nd October by Albert Della-Porta and George Smith.

Production begins in a basement in 47 Berwick Street, London making drums for JE Dallas & Sons. Jedson Drums launched by JE Dallas & Sons in Drury Lane, London.

1924 – Fred Della-Porta joins Premier. Premier factory moves to 64 Berwick Street, London.

1925 – Premier cease supplying JE Dallas with Drums and market products under their own name. JE Dallas transfer production to AF Matthews.

1926 -   JE Dallas & Sons moves to 6-10 Betterton Street, Covent Garden, London. Small drum manufacturer, Furzer & Cutts on Torrens Street, Islington are absorbed into Rose, Morris &Co

1927 – Hawkes & Sons begin making Ajax drums.

1928 – Premier move to new premises on Silex Street, London.

First edition of ‘The Drummer’ magazine published by Premier in December.

Barnett Samuel & Son Ltd bought by Decca, John Grey & Sons sold to Rose-Morris.

1929 -   Rose, Morris & Co moves to larger premises at 58 City Road, London.


1930 – Hawkes & Sons merge with Boosey & Co on 30th September to become Boosey & Hawkes.

1932 – Barnet Samuel bought by Rose-Morris. A further factory was established at 14 Sun Street, Finsbury Square to cope with increased production of all Rose, Morris & Co instruments. Cowlins & Son who had been making drums for Rose, Morris & Co are absorbed into the company.

1933 – Premier move production to Standard Road, Park Royal and open a new office in Golden Square, London on 2nd October.

1935 – Carlton Drums launched in November replacing Jedson Drums.

1936 – JE Dallas & Sons moves to Ridgemount Street, London.

1937 – Olympic Drums introduced by Premier.

1939 -   Publication of ‘The Drummer’ magazine ceases at issue #36.

Late-30’s – George Potter & Co and Arthur O. Windsor cease production.


1940 – Premier factory in Park Royal, London is burnt down during an air raid in September. Premier are relocated to Pullman Road, Wigston, Leicestershire to continue essential wartime manufacturing work.

Arthur O. Windsor ceases to exist after the Newhall Street factory is destroyed in an air raid in December.

1940 -   Rose, Morris & Co’s Sun Street factory bombed and the City Road building completely destroyed. Company relocates to Ironmonger Row where in association with Boosey & Hawkes, are engaged in manufacturing explosive device pull switches.

Mid-40’s – production of Reno Drums begins in Atlantic Street, Altrincham.

1945 -   Musical instrument manufacture resumes at Rose, Morris & Co’s Sun Street factory.

Vic O’Brien begins drum manufacture in Gower Street, London

1946 -   Clifford Della-Porta joins Premier.

1947 – JE Dallas & Sons now located on Clifton Street, London and in June becomes a public limited company.

1948 -   Rose, Morris & Co establish Rose Music Limited in Australia.

1949 – Beverley launch the Genius mounting system following the demise of their Console production.


1953 -   Rose, Morris & Co move all operations to one premises, soon occupying no’s 79 to 85.

1955 – Beverley introduce New Standard and International Series lines.

Production of Reno Drums ceases in Altrincham, assembling transfers to Reno’s Music Shop on Oxford Street, Manchester.

mid-50’sBoosey & Hawkes market Edgware and Stratford Drums, budget versions of Ajax


1956 – George Smith (Premier) retires.

            A.V. Morris dies.

1958 – Beverley Drums purchased by Albert Della-Porta. Production moved to the Premier factory.

Premier launch Everplay plastic heads.

Eddie Ryan starts work at Boosey & Hawkes making drums.

Natal Percussion starts production.

Late-50’s – JE Dallas introduced mid-range brand; President Drums and entry level; Gigster Drums.


early 60’s – Premier resumes ad-hoc magazine publication, now called ‘Talking Drums’ (#37).

1960 -   Rose, Morris & Co sold to Grampian Holdings.

1961 – Boosey & Hawkes begin production of ‘English’ Rogers Drums.

1963 -   Premier’s Everplay drum heads renamed Everplay Extra.

1964 -   Rose, Morris & Co moves to new premises at 32-34 Gordon House Road, London in July and the company name is abbreviated to Rose-Morris.

1965 – Albert Della-Porta (Premier) dies.

            The Natal Percussion Company formally established.

mid-60’sBoosey & Hawkes cease Production of Edgware and Stratford Drums.

1966 -   Premier receives the Queens Award to Industry in recognition of it’s ‘outstanding achievements’.

‘Talking Drums’ published (#38).

1967 – Boosey & Hawkes introduce Ajax Nu-Sound Drums

Production of John Grey Drums ceases and Rose-Morris revert to marketing their drums under the RM brand.

1968 – Production of ‘English’ Rogers Drums ceases.

Carlton, President and Gigster Drums cease production after JE Dallas merges with Arbiter to form Dallas-Arbiter.

Premier’s expansion plans estimated to cost £300,000.

‘Talking Drums’ published (#39).

1969 – George Hayman Drums made by Dallas-Arbiter introduced in February.

#40 ‘Talking Drums’.


1970 – George Hayman Drums become Hayman Drums.

Rose-Morris launch Shaftsbury Drums.

George Smith (Premier) dies.

Selmer appointed Premier distributors in USA.

Boosey & Hawkes cease production of Ajax Drums and begin marketing and distributing Beverley Drums still made by Premier.

#41 ‘Talking Drums’.

1971 – Eddie Ryan Custom Drums opens for business in Archer Street, London.

1972 – Fred Della-Porta (Premier) retires.

            Alan Gilby and Kenny Clare develop the first “Resonator” drums.

#42 ‘Talking Drums’.

1973 – Fred Della-Porta receives OBE at Buckingham Palace.

Premier launch the ‘Kenny Clare’ Resonator range.

 #43 & #44 ‘Talking Drums’.

1974 – Dallas-Arbiter partnership ends.

First monthly issue of ‘Drums & Percussion’ published in April.

Premier’s expansion plans now estimated to be £950,000. Work begins on the new

Blaby Road complex.

Rose-Morris launch Shaftsbury acrylic kits.

Promuco Drums begin production.

#45 ‘Talking Drums’.

1975 – Drums & Percussion’ reverts to quarterly publication in January.

Hayman Drums cease production,

JE Dallas closes.

Arbiter Autotune Drums launched

Last issue of ‘Drums & Percussion’ published Autumn/Winter.

#46 & #47 ‘Talking Drums’,

1976 – Hamma Drums launched.

Super Olympic Drums introduced by Premier and the ‘Kenny Clare’ sets become simply Resonator.

Production of RM and Shaftsbury Drums ceases.

#48 & #49 ‘Talking Drums’.

1977 – Beverley 8000 Series drums introduced.

Staccato Drums launched.

Premier move production to purpose built facility on Blaby Road, Wigston.

#50 & #51 ‘Talking Drums’.

1978 – Premier Soundwave Drums replace Super-Olympic, Premier rename their core range; Elite.

#52 & #53 ‘Talking Drums’.

Simmons SDS-3 drum synthesizer launched.

c.1979 – Hamma Drums cease production.

1979 – Beverley Drums cease production.

            Kenny Clare Drums launched.

#54 ‘Talking Drums’.

Late-70’sReno’s Music Shop closed and demolished.

Eddie Ryan Custom Drums moves to Covent Garden, London.

Arbiter Autotune cease production.


1980 – Olympic Drums rebranded as Premier Club.

#55 & #56 ‘Talking Drums’.

1981 – Simmons SDS-5 e-kit and SDS-6 sequencer launched.

#57 ‘Talking Drums’.

1982 – Premier launch Royale range to replace Club. MTI appointed as distributors for Premier in the USA.

Melanie Fantoms launched.

#58 ‘Talking Drums’.

1983 – Premier launch Crown range and Black Shadow Resonators.

#59 ‘Talking Drums’.

Simmons SDS-7 and 8 launched replacing the SDS-5.

Premier board of directors resign in October and company goes into receivership ending over 60 years of family ownership.

1984 – Production in UK of Staccato Drums ceases.

New management team form Premier Percussion in April.

Premier launch the Projector range and Royale APK range.

Kenny Clare Drums cease production following Kenny’s passing in December.

1985 -   Premier Royale APK becomes Premier APK.

            Simmons SDS-9 launched.

            Richmo Drums launched by Alan Gilbey.

1986 – Premier Crown cease production.

            Andante Drums established in November.

1987 – Premier merges with Yamaha in October. Lacquer finish APK introduced known as APK Excell.

Eddie Ryan Custom Drums moves to Hornchurch, Essex.

Simmon SDX launched.

Hayman Drums relaunched by Arbiter, only a handful of kits are made and sold.

#60 ‘Talking Drums’.

1988 -   Premier rename APK Excell – XPK.

#61 ‘Talking Drums’.

c.1988 – Premier Royale line ends.

1989 -   ‘Talking Drums’ (#62).


Early 90’s - Noonan Drums established

1990 -   Premier replace ‘Talking Drums’ with ‘News from Premier’ newsletter.

            Simmons SDS-2000 launched.

1991 – Premier relaunches Olympic brand.

1992 – Premier/Yamaha partnership ends in November.

            Hardcase cases launched as a subsiduary ao Amber Plastics.

Premier launch the Signia range.

Premier replace ‘News from Premier’ with ‘Rebound Extra’.

1993 – Premier Resonator and Projector production ends.

1994 – Premier launch Genista range.

            Simmons closes down.

1996 -   Protection Racket cases launched.

1997 -   Premier sold to the Verity Group of Companies.

Issue #1 of ‘Premier – News in Percussion’ magazine is published.

New “Hayman Drums” appear for sale but with no apparent lineage with the originals.

1998 – Premier launch Cabria range, APK production ends.

Arbiter ATS Drums launched.

Jalapeno Drums begins production.

1999 -   Premier launch Astria and Vitria ranges. ‘Talking Drums’ reappears for one issue.


2000 -   Premier launches Artist series and ends production of Signia, XPK, Astria and Vitria.

2001 -   Production of Arbiter ATS Drums ends.

2003 -   KD Drums established in August

1st UK National Drum Fair in September.

2004 -   DM Drums founded in February.

            Highwood Drums formed in July.

2005 -   Ivor Arbiter dies on 26th July.

            Jobeky drums begins production.

Guitar Center (USA) acquire Simmons trademark and launch budget e-kits under the brand.

2006 -   Staccato Drums relaunched.

            Animal Custom Drums established.

2007 -   Premier Music International Limited (PMIL) acquires Premier Percussion Limited in September.

            AD Drums and Acid Drums established.

2008  PMIL close the Blaby Road factory in January transferring administration and warehousing to Kegworth.

            Guru Drums launched in September

2009  Arbiter Group closes in January.

Founder of Andante Drums, Sam Hodgen passes away on 4th February.

DM Drums closes in February.

            August, PMIL enters bankruptcy. The company placed into liquidation but significant UK investment secured to ensure brand survival

            RW Salt appointed as UK/Eire distributor for Premier drum kits in October.

            Carrera Drums officially launched on 31st October at the inaugural Jobeky UK Custom Drum Festival.

            Acid Drums cease operating.

Second Skins Drums begins production at the on the 24th November.


2010 -   Pimpco Drums launched in March.

Gatton Drums established.

            Alan Gilby founder of Richmo drums passes away on April 10th.

            Marshall Amplification buys Natal Percussion from The Music Shipping Company.

            Premier relaunch the Genista range in August and appoint Universal Percussion as their distributor for north America..

Hayman Drums are relaunched for a third time in October and Premier appoint and Premier appoint Trius Vertrieb GmbH for Germany and Austria distribution.

            Stardom Drums established.

2011 -   Marshall launch Natal drumkits at NAMM in January.

            Universal Percussion cease distribution for Premier drums on 17th March.

            Premier Percussion acquire KD Drums in December announcing that production from the new Premier Drum Company will begin in 2012 at a new manufacturing facility in Lancashire,UK.

2012 -   Premier appoint Hanser Musical Group as an exclusive distributor for Premier's drumset products in the US market from 1st January.

Premier launch the ‘ONE’ series of UK made drumkits at the October London Drum Show and appoints Rosetti as UK distributor, all coinciding with the company’s 90th birthday on 22nd October.

Pimpco Drums ceases trading in November.


Compiled by Mike Ellis September 2007

Revised October 2007

Revised February 2008

Revised August 2010

Revised March 2011

Revised August 2012

Revised November 2012

With thanks to; Tam Rankin, Dave McCready, Geoff Nicholls, Dave Seville, Mick Conway, John Kaywood and Eddie Ryan.

This web site is dedicated to the history of vintage drums.

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