Wilfred was born in Burnley on the 21st. of September 1915 to James and Eliza Jane. The family would appear to have lived in Blackburn as Wilfred attended Sacred Heart Primary School and then St. Mary's College. He began to play the piano at the age of nine, and, at thirteen, was billed as the "wonder boy pianist" when he played his first major recital at London's Coliseum in 1929.
In 1928, at his farewell performance in Blackburn more than three thousand people attended the recital, after which, Wilfred went to London to further his musical studies at Tobias Matthay's famous school. Already a broadcaster and composer in his own right he was sponsored by the celebrated pianist Padereswski, and, when only sixteen, he went on tour throughout Europe. James and Eliza followed Wilfred to London and spent the rest of their lives there.
In 1938 Wilfred appeared at the Grand Theatre, Blackburn, promoted in his new variety stage career by the London impressario Mr. Henry L. Shine. On his arrival in Blackburn, hundreds of people had gathered at the station approach, including some of his old school fellows from St Mary's College, and he was accorded a civic reception hosted by the Mayor, Alderman J. Fryars J.P. He was to tour the north until Autumn when he then would leave for America - one of his engagements being the soloist with the New York Symphony Orchestra conducted by Toscanini.
In 1939, Wilfred was living for a while with the Boderke family at 154, Revidge Road - Herman and his son Ronald were piano tuners, couriers and German language teachers. Latterly, Wilfred concentrated more on composition and tuition, and, in 1940, he was appointed music master at Fort Augustus Abbey, Inverness. He returned to London in 1958, the year his father had died, and took up the study of acoustics and the sonic aspects of electronics. He also had patented a pick up arm for gramophones and a loud speaker system both of which proved to be commercially successful. In June 1979 he had just completed a new recording and was working on a violin concerto when he died at the age of sixty three.
Image above taken from The Blackburn Times, 18th March 1938
The Blackburn Times, 23rd March,1929
The Blackburn Times, 23rd February and 18th March 1938,
The Lancashire Evening Telegraph, 5th of June 1979
Compiled by Community History Volunteer, Janet Burke
Published June 2022