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Restalls - Past and Present

The business was first established by Martin Restall as Portsmouth Violin Centre in 1979. Demand for instruments grew quickly and the workshop was always busy with customers repair work and the restoration of instruments for sale. Despite limited workshop time, new Violins were also constructed on the premises and in 1983 Martin Restall won the prize for the “best professional instrument” at the Facta Britannia Violin making competition.

In 1995 the Portsmouth shop closed and business was transferred completely to Winchester where it has remained until the present time.

Because of limited space, traffic congestion and car parking problems, we decided to move the business to much larger premises in Midhurst. The new shop is very much a family business, run by Martin & Rebecca Restall. Rebecca is responsible for the day to day running of the business enabling Martin to concentrate more on repair and restoration work, and sourcing good instruments for stock. Rebecca has many years experience in the music trade and in recent years managed The Brighton Violin Shop.

The new building is part of a historic barn complex on the Cowdray estate. We have 1600 square feet which enables us to carry much more stock, expand our workshop and offer better private instrument trial facilities. You can park directly outside in the courtyard, and there are normally no significant traffic delays in the area. We hope therefore, even if you have to travel little further you will save much time with parking etc.

There is plenty to see in the historic market town of Midhurst. The surrounding area is very beautiful and there are good walks in the immediate vicinity. We hope you will enjoy spending time in the area when you next visit us.


Martin Restall

Born in 1951 in Portsmouth Martin Restall had an early introduction to stringed instruments through his musical family. An old violin languishing at his grandmothers house was requisitioned and violin lessons commenced at the age of 9.

Martin's first intentions were to become a professional musician, but through the enthusiastic encouragement of his violin teacher, and finding a natural aptitude for woodwork at school, the main interest turned to the construction and repair of the instrument. Martin first studied violin making with Malcolm Combes, and then later with Rowland Ross.

He opened the Portsmouth Violin Centre (later to become Restalls Ltd) in 1979 and although time for making was limited, he continued with instrument construction and one of his viola's won the prize for "the finest instrument" at the “Facta Britannia” violin making competition of 1983.

With over 40 years experience in violin making and repair, and longer as a player, Martin is able to combine these skills to maximise the potential of instruments in his care. He has, over the years gained reputation for fine setting up work and tonal adjustment.


Rebecca Restall

Rebecca Restall was born in Cumbria in 1970. Her love for music started at a very early age and, as her Grandmother was a piano teacher she could read music before she could read a book!

Being brought up in Cumbria it was ineviatable that after seeing her Uncle bring home a cornet from the local brass band she would become a member at the age of 11.

Rebecca moved "down south" at the age of 17 realising that there were more opportunities in this area. She worked inititally at The Dulwich Music Shop for four years in which time she gained much experience in the retail music business.

She then moved to Brighton and accepted a job with Stentor Music Company - a wholesale company specialising in stringed instruments.

In 2001 she was asked by Rick and Gill Croft to manage The Brighton Violin Shop so that they could plan their retirement.

With her experience in both the retail and wholesale ends of the business, she has a thorough knowledge of, and many contacts within the trade.



Restalls Ltd
5 River Ground Stables, Cowdray Park
Midhurst, West Sussex GU29 9AL

01730 716 336 (+44 1730 716 336) • T
01730 716 337 (+44 1730 716 337) • F