Howarth of London are pleased to announce the reopening of the showrooms and workshops in London on Monday 15 June 2020

When is the shop open?

Initially, the shop will be open to the public from Monday to Friday between 10.00am and 5.00pm.

We continue to stock our wide range of instruments, reeds, music and accessories as usual but in order to keep our customers and staff safe, as well as complying with government guidelines, the shop will be operating differently to normal.

There will be fewer staff working than usual to enable us to maintain social distancing and we will ask all customers visiting the shop to follow instructions given by staff and signage.

Who can visit the shop?

We can only allow one family group into each department at any one time and may need to request that you queue outside the shop as marked until we can serve you, allowing the previous customers space to exit the shop before you enter.

Can I handle anything?

On entering the shop, we request that you use the hand sanitiser provided before examining any goods. We believe that social distancing and regular cleaning offer the best form of protection for everyone and have modified the layout of the shop to enable you to interact with our staff whilst still maintaining safe distance.

How can I pay?

Please note that payments in the shop will be by card only.

Can I test an instrument?

At this time, we currently are not allowing customers to test instruments in the shop, but we hope to be able to reinstate this soon, initially on an appointment only basis. During this period, please discuss with us the options of trying an instrument in your own home.

Are Howarth doing repairs?

Our workshops are open for repairs, but this must be booked before travelling to the shop. Please use the bassoon shop (no.37) door for all repair appointments.

Please see our instrument handling policy which details the steps we are taking to prevent transmission via instruments.

Thank you all for your ongoing custom and support.
The team at Howarth of London look forward to welcoming you back and we hope that the changes we have made will be temporary and short lived.

Instrument handling policy - June 2020

Due to the Covid -19 pandemic, Howarth of London has a responsibility to all our customers and staff to prevent the risk of transmission through handling and using musical instruments.

  • All instruments coming into the shop must be pulled through and dry inside the bore before they are brought to us.
  • All instruments will be quarantined for 72 hours from the point of arrival and clearly labelled and marked with a red sticker to record the date and time received.
  • We will also treat smaller instruments with UV light as part of this process when deemed appropriate, but we consider that putting the instrument through a quarantine period is the most effective method of limiting transmission.

Safety marking of instruments

After this time, instruments will be marked with a green sticker and will be available to be handled. After handling, all instruments will be disinfected with suitable disinfectant wipes on the outside surfaces.

If the instrument needs to be play tested for any reason, it will be mopped out to dry the inside by the person who played it with their designated pull through, which will be washed each evening.

The keywork and body will be wiped over with a disinfectant wipe and the instrument will be re-labelled with a new red sticker with the details of who tested it along with the date and time. A new quarantine period will be started to ensure that, as far as practically possible, the instrument is free from contamination. It is then free to be returned to a customer or tried by someone else or another member of staff.

Instrument testing

Please note that at present, instrument testing in the shop by customers is not permitted but we hope to reintroduce this on an appointment basis when guidelines change.

Emergency repairs

We regret that at present we are unable to carry out on the spot and emergency repairs under our current quarantine procedure.


We will treat and handle instruments and accessories in such a way that, if COVID-19 is present, it is removed on arrival at our premises and is not (re-)introduced onto them prior to their being sold / sent to customers.

We will minimise the risk of staff bringing COVID-19 onto the premises and thereby unwittingly transmitting it to other staff, the shop premises, retail stock and our customers.


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