This month I’m looking at the rather lovely Beverley drums of the late 1960’s / early 1970’s. Originating from the North Yorkshire town of Beverley, ownership of the company changed hands a few times between their appearance on the market in the 1930’s and their demise in 1979. These drums really do represent some of the finest sounding English drums, in my opinion, the nicer drums produced between 1968 and the early 1970’s.
The 1969 catalogue marketed Beverley drums as ‘The Sound Of Success’ although they were viewed in the UK as lower quality in comparison to other brands. The shells, however, were produced in the Premier factory in Leicester (UK) and were 3 ply birch or 3 ply mahogany with beech reinforcement hoops (identical to the Premier drums of that era).
They differed from Premier drums in many ways, most notably the lugs; rather than one piece, all drums featured single lugs top and bottom in a design not dissimilar to the American market leaders. The finishes of the drums were different too, with the black Oyster the closest in comparison to Ludwig’s famous ‘Beatles’ kit of the same period. Other finishes included nice glitters (Champagne, Blue, Red) and some very subtle shimmers (red, blue). All drums were fitted with triple flange hoops, the bass drums having disappearing spurs and disappearing shell-to-shell tom mounts. The badges were silver circles with a blue ‘b’ in the centre.
The configurations in the 1969 catalogue are as follows;
‘Galaxy 21’ set – 22x17, 13x9, 16x16 with Cosmic 21 snare; ‘Galaxy 650’ set – 22x17, 13x9, 16x16 with wooden 6050 snare; ‘Panorama 21’ set – 22x17, 12x8, 13x9, 16x16 with Cosmic 21 snare; ‘Panorama 22’ with 2 bass drums and wooden snare.
Bass drums were available from 18” up to 24”, so we do see some variations in kit configurations, which are a little rarer to have survived in good condition.
Overlooked mainly in UK at the time the drums gained the most popularity in the USA and Holland. Some argue that they were a cheaper alternative to Ludwig drums, whilst looking (and sounding) very similar. These drums always surprise me when they come through my shop, in a good way. Big, warm tones from the bass drum and floor tom, especially the African mahogany shells. The birch shelled kits are a good too, accurate in tone with good projection. The bass drums on these sets never fail to impress me - a 22” Beverley bass drum sounds like a 24” with your eyes closed!
While some never doubted them, there is a growing respect for Beverley drums in the UK and any kits I have in stock don’t stick around long. The most Recent went to a customer in Switzerland who says this:
“I just love my 60s Beverly Blue Label kit. It has a vintage feel but a big deep resonant sound that really punches if you want it to, but is subtle enough for quiet performance situations. I feel right at home on this kit playing rock, blues or country. Its old-school for sure, but some things never go out of style” HJ
The ‘Cosmic 21’ snare drums that came with these kits are worth a mention on their own, so I’ll cover those next month.
I found this link online to some Beverley kits in use...