I introduced this chapter in 2011. Until then I had avoided listing retailers, but some of them are pervasive and I've now decided to add them to the information available to avoid confusion. I am just curious about some of the others. Retailers stocked and sold both English and imported instruments, not just reed organs. In many cases they put on their own shop labels, and may even have disguised or removed the original makers' names adding to the confusion. Crane and Sons and Dale, Forty and Co. did this, and sold many instruments of all kinds over a long period of time. The Malcolm and Murdoch labels are also still not fully understood.

The musical instrument business centered on a small number of cities. Liverpool has a long musical history, both serious and popular. As well as several manufacturers of organs, violins, pianos, etc. it bosted the following outlets:

Crane and Sons
217 Scotland Rd., Liverpool, piano manufacturers. See Chapter 16.1.

J.B. Cramer & Co.
Liverpool and London. See Chapter 6.

(North End Music Stores) musical instrument retailers began life at 62-72 Walton Road as part of Isaac Epstein & Sons furniture dealership. Later a dedicated music store opened at Great Charlotte Street under the control of Brian Epstein, and a second store opened at 12-14 Whitechapel shortly afterwards.

Van Gruisen & Son
were at 27 Bold Street, Liverpool from at least 1886 to 1936 and were piano agents.

James Smith & Son
74-76 Lord Street, Liverpool from at least the 1880s to the 1930s.

E.G. Withers & Sons
279 Kensington, Liverpool, also piano agents.

organ builders founded in 1828 by William Rushworth. The first premises was at 13 Islington, Liverpool in the late 1800s, then moved to Great George Street in the early 20th century, and then finally to St. Anne's Street in 1972. Their piano workshop was in Brunswick road. Rushworths also had a retail wing in partnership with van Gruisen until 1894.

W.H. & G.H. Dreaper
piano makers at 96 Bold Street from 1828-1902 then taken over by Rushworths. Dreapers started as Wm.P. Dreaper & Sons and probably changed names after the death of the father. Dreapers were famous for a piano styled by W. & G. Audsley, Architects of Liverpool which was exhibited in Paris Universal International Exhibition in 1878. Note: George Ashdown Audsley was the famous organ architect [5,6,7].

Rushworth and Dreaper
(merged around 1905), Whitechapel, Liverpool. See Chapter 19.

Ball, Beavon and Co. (c.1888-1921)

A wholesale musical instrument business listed in 1888 at 31 Aldermanbury, London E.C. Various ads listed them as importers or makers. There are several suction reed organs with the shop label and title ``The Bee Organ'' either style 96 (7 stops) or style 97 (11 stops). It is believed that they may have been made in Canada, but who by?

Beare (unknown)

Details for this maker (or dealer) not known, but see e-Bay *3685 which shows a small French style harmonium.

W.C. Burden and Co. (unknown)


Burdens were probably dealers of pianofortes, American organs and harmoniums of Leicester as stated on their name plate found on a small 1 rank harmonium of plain oak construction.


Carr's Department Store in London advertised a variety of Superior English Harmoniums, see Ord-Hume [125] Figure 15, p42.

Chappell and Co. (1811-c.1883)

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Chappell and Company were established in London in 1811 by Samuel Chappell (d.1834), Johann Chappell, Francis Tatton Latour and John Baptist Cramer. They were already partners in a music publishing business and started retailing pianos in their music store. In the 1840s the company started building their own pianos. During the late 19th Century, Chappell imported and sold reed organs by the American manufacturer Clough and Warren, such as the one supplied to St. Mary's Church, Framsden, 2/10/1886.

Chappell and Co. exhibited harmoniums with and without pedals at the London International Exhibition in 1862. The are principally known as manufacturers of pianos of 50 New Bond Street and 14-15 Poultry, London. They had works at 19 Ferdinand Street, Chalk Farm.

A note dated 11/9/1867 in the Northamptonshire Record Office Ref:Holt234 notes that one Rev.C. Holthouse purchased a 14 stop oak exhibition model harmonium from Chappell and Co.

After Samuel's death, his widow Emily took over the company with her three sons, William, Thomas and Arthur. Thomas worked for Chappell's and became a full partner in 1840. Each son eventually did their part in running the company. William Boosey succeeded as MD when Thomas died. William had worked with Thomas for many years, having joined the company in 1894. In 1901 Chappell Piano Co. Ltd. was incorporated as separate company from the music publishing side and in 1922 production for grands and uprights reached one hundred a week.

During the 1920-30s, Chappell purchased several other illustrious English piano manufacturing firms including Allison and Co., Collard and Collard, and John Strohmenger and Sons. The Kemble Piano Company of London produced Chappell pianos until the year 2000.

It is now known from the research of Michel Dieterlen [38] that Chappells were one of the biggest customers of the French manufacturer Alexandre Père et Fils. Unfortunately all Chappell's own records, including dates of acquisitions of other firms, were lost in the devastating fire of 1964. The above name plate is from Ian Thompson's unusual harmonium which is actually cased and voiced to resemble a later suction instrument. He told me that its an F-compass Alexandre Organ with 8', 8' and 4' reeds throughout, divided at B/mid C, with a 13 note Sub Bass and a 16' Celeste labelled Vox Humana in the treble. It is not known if these were built specifically for the British market.

Period advertisements also show that Chappell and Co. were selling Clough and Warren's ``Improved American Organs''.

Cornish & Co.

Cornish & Co. of Washington, New Jersey, USA had a large warehouse and showrooms in London selling American organs and pianos. This was at no. 15 [???].

Many of the large American manufacturers must have had similar outlets or used British franchises.

Crane and Sons (TBA)

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Crane and Sons Ltd. were large music dealers who imported reed organs from the USA for re-sale under their own name. They also commissioned others from English manufacturers.

The firm was often known as Crane and Sons of Liverpool and London. In 1899 Cranes set up in London at 149 Oxford Circus as concertina makers. At that time they held an agency for Doherty organs. In 1902 they advertised as the sole agency for Christophe and Etienne harmoniums from 10 to 300 guineas.


Crane and Sons Ltd., the largest piano and organ firm in the World. Scotland Road, Liverpool. In 1910 Crane and Sons had shops at the following locations.

England: Wales:
London, 149 Oxford St. Cardiff, 8 City Rd.
Liverpool, 2 Church St. Wrexham, 40 Regent St.
Manchester, 202-4 Deansgate Bangor, 156-8 High St.
Birmingham, Old Square Swansea, 241 Oxford St.
Sheffield, Lady's Bridge  
Bolton, 156 Deansgate Scotland:
Seacombe, 48 Brighton St. Glasgow, 82-4 New City Rd.
St. Helens, 7 Church St.  
Preston, 114 Lancaster Rd. Ireland:
Leeds, 19 Guildford St. Dublin, 40 Upper Sackville St.
Newcastle, 272 Westgate Rd. Belfast, Donegall Sq.
Hanley, Piccadilly Cork, 37 South Mall

At other times there were:

Birmingham, 35-36 Colmore Circus, Queensway B46 6BN
Liverpool, Crane Building, Hanover Street L1 3DZ
Liverpool, Scotland Road

The premises in Hanover Street, Liverpool, was built for the Crane Brothers to accommodate their music shop and offices in a five storey stone and brick building. It had six bays with a canted wall to Hanover Street, and five bays to School Lane, plus mezzanine and attic. The mezzanine floor had small paned casement windows between flat pilasters and entablature and the three upper storeys had flat pilasters with some carving.

A concert hall was located above the music shop. This hall was designed by W. Aubrey Thomas, and opened in 1915. It used for instrumental recitals, but later became a theatre, known as The Crane Hall until 1938. The Liverpool Corporation took a lease on the building in 1968. It was then re-named as The Neptune Theatre.

Styles and Specifications of Organs sold by Crane and Sons in 1910

There are a number of organ Company Catalogues in the Winterthur Museum Library collection, see

Among them, there is a catalogue issued by Crane & Sons in 1910. We present some details from this catalogue below. See

American Organ Models

``Cambridge'': possible Malcolm Organ
Walnut case with carving and webbed feet, 1 row of 8' reeds, 61 notes, no stops.
9Gns at 5s per month or £8-3s net.

``Daphne'': possible Malcolm Organ
Webbed feet with mirrors each side of music desk, walnut case with curvy ends.
7 stops (not in order) Diapason, Dulciana, Melodia, Echo, Treble Coupler, Bass Coupler, Vox Humana large bellows, single knee swell.
13Gns at 13s pcm or £11-14s net.

``Stella'': by Doherty
Dark walnut case, square feet, fretwork with mirror over, curvy ends, ``Crane Organ'' cast on treadles.
Style 1: 3 rows, 9 stops, 2 knee swells, 16Gns at 6s pcm or £ 14-8s net
Style 2: 3 rows, 11 stops including couplers, 2 swells, £15-6s
Style 3: 4 sets, 13 stops, 2 couplers, £16-3s

``Monarch'': by Doherty
Walnut case, style as above with mirror over, curvy ends, ``Crane Organ'' on treadles.
Style 4: 3 rows, 11 stops, 2 swells. £17-9s
Style 5: 4 rows, 13 stops, 2 swells. £19-15s
Style 6: 5 sets, 14 stops, 2 swells. £21-10s

``Chapel'': by Doherty
Chapel style, no mirrors, walnut or oak rail top carved swing music desk etc., curvy ends, ``Crane Organ'' on treadles.
Style 7: 4 sets, 13 stops £20-14s
Style 8: 5 sets, 14 stops, £22-10s
Style 9: 5 sets and sub-bass, 15 stops; £24-6s
Style 10, 8 sets and sub-bass, 20 stops, £29-13s

Polished walnut case with detailed fretwork and high top with mirror ``Crane Organ'' on treadles.
Style 11: 4 sets, 13 stops, £24-6s
Style 12: 5 sets, 14 stops, £26-2s
Style 13: 5 sets and sub bass, 15 stops, £26-19s
Style 15: 9 sets and sub bass, 20 stops, £34-2s

``Grand Salon'':
Walnut case, high top with 3 mirrors, ``Crane Organ'' on treadles
Style 19: 4 sets, 13 stops, £26-2s
Style 20: 5 sets, 14 stops, £26-19s
Style 21: 5 sets and sub bass, 15 stops, £29-13s
Style 23: 9 sets and sub bass, 20 stops, £34-2s

``Victorian 2M'': by Doherty
Walnut or oak, music desk, high top and curved stop jambs
Style 24: 15 sets and sub-bass, 20 stops, etc. 2 treadles and 2 swells. £52 net.

``Students 2MP'': possibly by Bell (Guelph, Ontario)
30 concave straight pedals, walnut case
Style 25: 10 sets plus 1 on pedal, 18 stops, grand organ, swell pedal, treadles and lever. £52 net.

``Cathedral'': by Doherty
Black walnut or oak, pipe top, criss cross pattern under manuals.
Style 100: 18 sets on manuals plus 2 on pedals, 26 stops. 2MP, flat pedals, pipe top, £80-17s

Harmonium Models

``Gem Harmonium'':
No stops, £5-12s

``Solo Harmonium'':
Walnut case, £8-3s
Forte, Sourdine, Cor Anglais, Expression, Flute, Tremolo, Forte

``Christophe Harmonium'': Built by Christophe and Etienne and available in several specifications:
1) 2-1/2 sets, 10 stops:
Expression, Cor Anglais, Bourdon, Forte, Sourdine, Flute, Clarinette, Voix Celete. Forte, Tremolo, Grand Organ
2) 6-1/2 sets, 20 stops:
Expression, Cor Anglais, Bourdon, Clairon, Basson, Contre-Basse, Dolce, Sourd, Tremulant, Fort, Flute, Clarinette, Fifre, Hautbois, Voix Celeste, Baryton, Harpe Eolienne, Musette, Tremulant, Forte
3) 4 sets 13 stops
Expression, Cor Anglais, Bourdon, Clairon, Basson, Sourdine, Forte, Flute, Clarinette, Fifre, Hautbois, Tremulant, Forte, Grand Organ
4) 8 sets, 23 stops, 2MP:
Bottom: Cor Anglais, Bourdon, Contre-Basse, Sourdine, Flute, Clarinette, Voix Celeste, Tremulant
Top: Clairon, Basson, Harp Eolienne, Dulciana, Saxophone, Copula, Forte, Fifre, Hautbois, Harpe Eolienne, Dulciana, Cromorne, Copula, Forte
Pedals: Contre-Basson, Bourdon
3x knee levers

Dale, Forty and Co. (late 1800s-)


Dale, Forty and Co. Pianoforte Dealers and Importers, Cheltenham, Birmingham and London.

From the last quarter of the 19th century until the late 1950s, Dale Forty were a well known piano dealers on Cheltenham's promenade. They also produced parts for and assembled reed organs.

The original owner, a Mr. Henry Dale, was responsible for riots in Leckhampton after he purchased a part of Leckhampton Hill and blocked a public footpath by buiding Tramway Cottage.

Dale Forty also dealt in imported and second hand instruments. Many surviving ones still have their receipt with stamp showing that tax had been payed. This is an example.


Edwards (c.1954)

Edwards Organs of Southsea, Wrexham, advertised 1 to 3 manual reed organs with internal blowers c.1954. I don't know who made them, but it is quite likely to be Spencer.

C.F. Hocking

Charles F. Hocking of Devonport. There is at least one Arthur Allison piano with Hocking's name on it as a dealer. It is not known if Hocking built his own instruments.

J.&J. Hopkinson

J&J Hopkinson sole importer
    1 Cropthorne Court,
    Birmingham B15 1QP

There are patents by John Hopkinson. J.&J. Hopkinson seem to have been retailers who claimed to be sole importers for Trayser harmoniums. A number with their label are known to still exist. In addition to the Birmingham address they had premises at 235 Regent Street, London.

E. Horne (1883-1926)

Edgar Horne of Market Place, Derby was possibly a piano maker, but also produced other instruments such as - believe it or not - Cornets and Horns! Their advertisements from 1883 mention ``Voilins, Flutes, Cornets, Clarionetes [sic], assortment. Edgar Horne, Market Place, Derby. American Organs from 10 to 105 guineas''.

They were also known as ``Edgar Horne and Co. Piano and Organ Merchants''. They sold both 1M and 2M/P instruments. Indeed some Edgar Horne reed organs have the Clough and Warren paper label internally. Others have the ``patented 1887 mouse proof pedals'' which were typical of Canadian firm Bell Piano and Organ Co.

By 1895 it seems that they had retail premises in a number of other locations such as Burton-on-Trent, Chesterfield, Newcastle (Staffs) and Eastwood. In 1924 they had a show room on The Strand, Derby. The premised may have become Foulds music shop much later.

I received this message from Don Swett (ROS Registrar) via the RO e-mail list I am working on a Edgar Horne (English using vacuum) organ with a very similar arrangement [to the bellows]. [It has] one manual with one set of reeds. Instead of of the coil springs pushing up on the feeders, my coil springs were inside the feeders pulling up. I'll save the old springs and pictures for anyone who wants to do a faithful reconstruction. Instead I'm adding some extra support and using a spare pair of leaf springs. The end result is almost identical to the photo Fritz has on his site.

Some time later, Sep'2007, this one turned up for sale on e-Bay for sale in Maidstone. Dimensions: 56''H, x18''D.


William Lea (TBA)

Some instruments were advertised with no maker's name. For instance William Lea's Music Warehouse at 50-52 Church Street, Liverpool, in 1884 advertised the best English made harmoniums as follows. A considerable reduction on the so called manufacturer's price was offered and the net sale price is given below; instrument were also taken in part exchange. This was the result of a successful whole sale business.

1 - New model, 1 row, 5 octaves, bracket columns, 2'6''h x1'2''w x3'5''l, £4-4s
2 - Cottage model, 1 row, 5 octaves, walnut, £5-5s
5 - 1 row, 7 stops Forte, Sourdine, Cor Anglais, Expression, Flute, Tremolo, Forte, walnut, 2'8''h x1'3''w x3'6''l, £7 net
5a - 1 row, 7 stops as above, walnut, superior finish, £7-7s
6 - 1:2 rows, 8 stops Forte, Sourdine, Cor Anglais, Expression, Flute, Voix Celeste, Tremolo, Forte, walnut, £9-9s
7 - 2 rows, 10 stops Forte, Sourdine, Bourdon, Cor Anglais, Grand Jeu, Expression, Flute, Clarinette, Tremolo, Forte, walnut, £11 net
9 - 2:3 rows, 11 stops Forte, Sourdine, Bourdon, Cor Anglais, Grand Jeu, Expression, Flute, Voix Celeste, Clarinette, Tremolo, Forte, walnut, £14-10s

Leas also advertised a large number of pianos and harmoniums by known makers, some also at reduced prices.

Reed organs by Hillier & Co. were sold by Leas and were known as the New Model Early English Organ.

Lister and Sons (1875-1938)

Also the West London Piano and Organ Co. of 246 Harrow Road, London. Lister was established in 1875, but does not appear in London lists until 1911. The firm remained at that address until at least 1938. Lister a Sons were dealers and their pianos (probably organs too) would have been made by one of several wholesalers.

Wood & Marshall and Joshua Marshall & Co. (1886-)

Joshua Marshall and Co. Ltd. had premises at 44-46 New Street and 22-24 Imperial Arcade, Huddersfield. These were showrooms and known as ``The Yorkshire Emporium of Music''. In 1898, there were other premises at 19-21 Bank Street, Bradford; Bradford Road Wakefield and an agent, G.W. Beardsell in Holmfirth. Other information was sent to me by Joshua's great-great-great niece, Janette Hamilton.

Wood & Marshall and Joshua Marshall & Co, were two separate businesses. Marshall was bought out of the partnership in 1884-85 but Woods retained the right to continue using the name Wood & Marshall, and did so for many years afterwards. Thus, J. Wood & Sons previously traded as Wood & Marshall and before that J. Wood. Woods finally ceased trading less than 10 years ago.

Joe Wood, founder of the firm of J. Wood, took Joshua on as an apprentice, and eventually business partner. Joshua married Joe's sister. J. Marshall set up his new firm in 1886 and became Ltd. in 1899-1900. He had branches in 8 or 9 towns during the firm's existence but all in the West Riding of Yorkshire, apart from one shop in Barnsley c.1920. Joshua died in 1909 but the business was still trading in some areas of Yorkshire until 1936.

Marshalls did not make their own stock, it was all bought in. At least some of the reed organs were made by Storey and Clark as is noted on adverts from c.1900. There is a note from Marshall to Spencers on 21/8/1906 requesting information or a sample. This is signed J. Marshall and Geo.H. Barnes. They also sold pianos ``selected'' from other manufacturers. They won medallions at Bradford exhibitions and later name labels illustrated these.

Metzler and Co. (1781-1903)

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Metzler and Co. of 37 and 42 Great Marlborough Street, London possibly built both harmoniums and reed organs a number of seraphines in the early days, see Chapter 3. They were also piano manufacturers until at least 1903. Finally they became the main UK dealers for Alexandre and Mason and Hamlin instruments. There is a catalogue of their Mason and Hamlin model from 1888 which has been re-printed by Robert Pacey [227].

Although the Metzler label was found on harmoniums and reed organs for a long time, Louis Huivenaar suggests however that they never made them and that they became a big sales house. They exhibited a Harmonium in the 1853 Irish Exhibition [161] which was described as follows.An Harmonium exhibited by Metzler, of London, is worth of notice, as it presented large advantages to the performer, possessing a compass of five octaves, and having twelve stops. There is a machinery attached to it, which can be adjusted over the keys, that permits it to be plaged after the manner of a concertina; or, when removed, as an organ on the ordinary keys. It is one of the most comprehensive instruments of the class; and were it not that we believe the genuine organ effects can never be imitated by any other instrument, we would say that it would answer all the purposes of a small organ. They received a gold medal at the 1885 London Exhibition for exhibiting a Victor Mustel harmonium, catalogue no.3615.

Saltaire Museum

A ``Book Harmonium'' by Metzler is included in the Saltaire collection said to be made in 1880. It has 41 notes and is serial number 31,348.


ROS DB entry 393

Serial number 31348 built in 1880. 41 keys FF-a'' and hand pumped. It is probably a small portable organ.

ROS DB entry ROS-1958

This is a harmonium with 6 stops plus Expression. It has one knee swell. Serial number 30,354.



It is now known from the research of Michel Dieterlen [38] that Metzler along with Chappell and Co. were one of the biggest customers of the French manufacturer Alexandre Père et Fils. The above instruments are therefore probably made by Alexandre. In fact their small tutor [119] clearly states Metzler and Co., wholesale importers and agents for Alexandre's harmoniums.

John G. Murdoch and Co. Ltd. (1883-1918)


John G. Murdoch (b.1830-d.???) was a Scot from Perthshire and clearly a good businessman. His life history from his obituary is published on Colin Smythe's Web site here

His original trade and business was in printing and publishing. His musical retail business started with Swiss music boxes and then other instruments followed customer demand.

Later, Murdoch and Co. Ltd. of 91-93 Farringdon Road, London, Melbourne and other branches were distributors. It is believed that they did not actually manufacture instruments (althought there is currently a debate going on about this). Many of the pianos they sold were made by John Spencer of London. It is believed that their reed organs were made by Malcolm and Co. Both of these however appear to be wholly owned subsidiaries.

J.L. Murdoch noted: I am a Murdoch, relative of the Murdoch's of Murdoch Piano's. My great grandfather was John Graham Murdoch. I don't know a lot about the company, but I do know that my family also sold bibles, and owned the company which made Silvercross Prams. Evidently all was lost during the 2nd World War.

Bill Kibby noted: I have lots of bits and pieces of information on file about Murdoch's firms and pianos, but there is no great detail about the firm's history, other than the fact that they took over Spencer's piano factory, and a great many retail shops around the country.

Murdoch's original business was amalgamated with that of John and Alexander Dow (an offspring, several years previous) in 1883 [1886?] and converted into a private company, J.G. Murdoch was the chairman and John Dow, George Murdoch and Alexander Dow were other directors.

The Murdochs supplied a large number of pianos and organs, so many that they needed to be in full control of the production process. Over a few years they acquired a number of well known makers such as: Spencer and Co. (piano makers to H.R.H. the Princess of Wales); and Malcolm and Co., organ and Phoneon makers. J.G. Murdoch Snr. had the role of the senior partner and his sons, J.G. Murdoch Jnr. and James Murdoch, that of respective managing partners. Other companies followed such as Normelle pianos and Rottman pianos, plus violin, phoneon, mandoline, banjo, zither wood wind and brass wind instruments, concertinas, melodeons, symphonions, talking machines and gramophone makers. The large company ensured the quality and consistency of these instruments.

After the company moved to London, John Murdoch had an active social life and took on the politics of St. Pancras, being invited to stand for Parliament. In 1892 he had been candidate for his native East Renfrewshire.

Murdoch and Murdoch had show rooms at 461-3 Oxford Street, London. Many free reed instruments have appeared with the Murdoch label and refered to as ``Malcolm Organ'', including the self playing Phoneon, see Chapters 12 and 27. Murdoch also aquired the Maxfield company which built self playing organettes.

In addition to London, Murdoch and Murdoch had shops in the following locations as noted on their reed organ labels.

Glasgow Edinburgh Newcastle
South Shields Workington Birmingham
Bedford Cambridge Chatham
Maidstone Dover Brighton
Folkestone Tunbridge Wells Isle of Wight
Southampton Portsmouth Etc.

Mustel (1853-1980)

Mustel was the most noted manufacturer of high class harmoniums with premises in Paris [38]. We note here that Mustel had a shop in London, at first number 41 and later number 80 Wigmore Street. They earlier had retailers like Ramsden, Metzler and Malkin.

They published the booklet written by Edwin Malkin explaining how to play Mustel and similar instruments [117]. As well as being an agent for Mustel, Malkin manufactured his own reed organs, see Chapter 23.

Emmanual Myers (1869-84

Emmanuel Myers, 27, Walworth Road, London, Musical Instrument Warehouse. Myers ran the company between 1869 and 1884, with the majority of the organs said to be made by George Jones.

The National Sunday School Union (c.1898)

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The Sunday School Union was founded in London in 1785, but really got going around 1803 in England and in 1832 in the USA and world wide. It was set up by members of the Church of England to promote education of the poor [178]. The following advert is from 1898.


The address given for the Sunday School Union was 57-8 Ludgate Hill, London EC. Instruments are also known with a label for UNEX, 56 Ludgate Hill, London EC. Musical instruments which they sold were manufactured to stand any climate and a three year finance system was available. Some were made by Claudius Bailey, see Chapter 20.

Thanks to Tony Newnham for researching the following information.

The start of the Sunday School movement is generally attributed to Robert Raikes in Gloucestershire in 1780. He began teaching children scripture, reading and writing. The movement reached America by 1790. The Sunday School Union was formed in 1803 [41].

In 1818, 4% of the population attended a Sunday School. By 1888 this had increased to 20%, equivalent to 3/4 of the children in England and Wales - the exceptions being mainly upper and middle class families [23]. Before c.1870, Sunday Schools had an important role and taught the ``three R's'' as well as scripture, but the introduction of universal education led to them majoring on scripture teaching. This era saw the foundation of many denominational societies and institutes aiming to improve standards. There are also links with the ``Ragged Schools'' (c.1844) started by Lord Shaftesbury and others, as recently featured on the TV programme ``Who do You think You Are?''. By 1870, there were 132 Ragged Schools with an attendance of 23,132 pupils per annum. This movement declined after the introduction of Board Schools, and many become conventional Sunday Schools.

The internet reveals local Sunday School Unions in several UK cities, indeed Sheffield have a centenary exhibition coming up.

The National Sunday School Union later became the National Christian Education Council. In 2002, NCEC merged with another group to form ``Christian Education''.

Woodville Reed Organ Museum 1M

This 11 stop suction instrument was acquired by Milton and Rosalie Wainwright from its previous owner in Hastings, NZ. It has the usual shop label but no makers name. Internally it has a paper stamp saying ``7040 Jubilee''. After repairs and close inspection, Milton has decided that it has many similarities to an A&E Humphreys organ also in their collection.

A.E. Ramsden (1860-94)

Edward Archibald Ramsden of 12 Park Row, in Leeds city centre traded in and imported harmoniums, later being known as Archibald Ramsden Ltd. Pianoforte & Music Saloon. According to Bill Kibby ( the building dates from 1874 and its erection was funded by Ramsden who probably traded there from 1875. The firm became one of the largest retailers in the country and many instruments were imported from Germany, including Beulhoff and Schiedmayer pianos.

So 1875 is probably the year when Ramsden started business in the new, expensive, elaborate building which he later described as The largest stock of instruments in the North of England. Nearly 400 instruments to select from. Pianos, Harmoniums, American Organs. The Finest Pianoforte Saloon in the Kingdom.

The 1884 patent with Baillie Hamilton states that Ramsden was living in Inholmes. He introduced the Mustel harmonium to England and acted as their agent at Park Row. He also had premises at 103 New Bond Street, London where he held an agency for Schiedmayer pianos (and probably their harmoniums too). Very little more of Ramsden's life seems to have been recorded, but he was clearly influential and involved in developing the latest and best musical instruments of his time. As well as being noted as a performer he was also a pioneer.

An ad in Jackson's Illustrated Guide To Yorkshire of 1891 mentions Knauss & Sohne's pianos, and Schiedmayer: Archibald Ramsden, 12 Park Row, Leeds. Nearly 400 instruments to select from. Pianos, Harmoniums, American Organs. Being a large wholesale Dealer, he is able to offer advantages to the Public that ordinary Dealers cannot do.

Bill also notes that c.1894 Ramsden Ltd. were listed at 11-12, Park Row, Leeds and 53, Linthorpe Road, Middlesborough and Tudhoe Grange, Spennymoor, Co.Durham.

Ramsdens was said to have been taken over by Murdoch in 1947, but probably the name was kept and in 1951 Archibald Ramsden Ltd. is listed at 38a Boar Lane, Leeds and York House, Cleveland Street, Doncaster. 9

Wm. W.Reeves

It is known that Reeves sold harmoniums at the end of the 19th century and was also a publisher [156]. The business was in New Cross Road, [London?].

H. Riley and Sons Ltd. (1851-c.1906)

rfg-4750-A.jpg henry_riley_name.jpg

The firm was probably founded by Joseph Riley in 1851 and by 1880 was at 20b-c Constitution Hill, Birmingham. They were listed as manufacturers, importers and dealers and also had premises at 25 Constitution Hill and 30 Corporation Street up to around 1906. Henry Riley and Sons Ltd. were still listed at 23-25 Constitution Hill in 1921. W. Joseph Riley was also listed at 56-58 Corporation Street and Martineau Street, Birmingham c.1906.

Joseph Riley was a piano maker and Henry Riley was a piano retailer (for Chappells).

It is known that Riley imported and sold instruments built in Canada, see Section 24. A contemporary advertisment is shown in Ord-Hume's book [125] Figure 27, p63. This is noted as being a Thomas Canadian Organ of 1913, made by British labour in Britain's premier colony. Manuals and pedals in accordance with the rules of the Royal College of Organists, as endorsed by Sir Frederick Bridge. At that time the UK importer was Chas.E. Cartman, 49 Avondale Road, Southport.

They probably also imported Doherty instruments.

B. Samuel and Son (1832-1921

In 1819 Barnett Samuel was born in Russia and later was naturalised as a British citizen.

1832 Company was established by Henry Solomon, Barnett Samuel and Josiah Solomon.

The family and firm were in Sheffield; they manufactured tortoise-shell doorknobs, knife handles and combs. Barnett, his son Nelson (who joined the firm around 1870) and a nephew Max Samuel (of Prussia) were dealing in musical instruments. Barnett's wife, Caroline, was Henry Solomon's sister. They also had three daughters. Rosa, Bertha and Minnie, who played music together.

They all moved to London as the music business started to take off and took over the warehouses at 31 Houndsditch and 27a Duke Street. The firm became a huge musical concern selling every kind of instrument including harmoniums and zithers.

1869 Nelson Samuel (Barnett's third son) entered the business and eventually took a great part in the prosperity of the firm.

1872 Barnett's eldest son was taken into partnership and the title of the firm became Barnett Samuel and Son.

1878 The firm moved to 32 Worship Street, and Nelson Samuel was given a partnership. He proved to be a force behind even greater expansion of the firm's activities. By then they were dealing in every type of musical instrument and musical merchandise, including banjos and zither-banjos made for them by Birmingham and London factories. In 1878 the firm opened the first English harmonium factory [sic].

1882 Barnett Samuel died, but Nelson Samuel's guiding hand led the firm from strength to strength.

1886 S. Samuel left the partnership

1899 There are no records of when they actually started to make banjos but in 1899 there is a record of the company importing hundreds of banjo vellums from Germany for use in their factory. It would suggest they were already making banjos by this time.

1901 The company was incorporated as Barnett Samuel and Sons Ltd. By this time the firm was one of the largest musical instrument wholesalers in the country and, in addition, had established their own piano factory in North London.

By 1911 the subsidiary company John Grey and Sons had been formed and used the name as a trademark on its instruments. Earlier instruments just had Grey and Sons Ltd as the trademark. The company made some of their own instruments and had many made by the usual ``makers to the trade'' of the time.

1914 Barnett Samuel and Sons began manufacturing a portable gramophone called the Dulcephone and sold it under the trade name Decca. Many were taken overseas by soldiers in WWI.

1914 Manufacturers and importers of pianofortes and all kinds of musical instruments, gramophones and records. Specialities: the Pistonola player piano, Chicago cottage organs, Odeon, Jumbo and Fonotipia records and the Dulcephone, an improved type of gramophone. They employed 200 people.

1918 Barnett Samuel and Sons established subsidiaries: British Music Strings and Boyd Ltd.

1922 Listed Exhibitor. Manufacturers of "Deccalian" Gramophones; "Decca" and "Rally" Portable Gramophones; Record Carriers; Flutes; Stringed, Percussion and othe Instruments. Instrument Case Makers. (Stand No.B.28)

1927 The sales of these portable gramophones was enormous and dwarfed the sales of all other goods made by the company, although the manufacture of banjos was thriving because of the dance-band boom.

1927 Boyd Ltd was sold to the newly formed Associated Piano Co.

By 1928 Barnett Samuel and Sons gramophone interests had been renamed the Decca Gramophone Co which was floated in 1928 as a public company. The musical instrument part of the company was contained in just 8 shares of John Grey and Sons.

1932 The shares in John Grey were bought by Rose, Morris and Co who made banjos up to and after the second world war.

Scholastic Musical Instrument Company (unknown)

There was a rival to the Sunday School Union at 39 Oseney Crescent, Camden Road, London. A 5 stop 1M instrument appeared for sale on e-Bay Jul'2011. No further information is known currently.

Stonefield (c.1900-20)

I was told that a 2MP harmonium was made by Stonefield of London. It had Estève reeds like many other English instruments. We have found no other information about this company.

It is likely that this instrument was actually by Dutch maker J. van der Tak. It is known that they built 2MP instruments with Estève reeds for the English market and some were sold by Stonefield. See Louis Huivenaar's Web page:

Thompson and Shakell Limited (unknown)

Thompson and Shakell were dealers with outpets in Cardiff, newport, Goucester, Penarth, Swansea, Merthyr, Pontypridd and Bristol. They sold Malcolm Organs among others. Here is a small harmonium with their label on the lid.


Andrew Bayfield noted: For what it's worth we have had an identical instrument in the family for about 40 years... Ours has a label that says ``Alexandre Pere et Fils, Paris'' and the address puts it between 1851 and 1860.

Other Names - Harmoniums

Other names are mentioned in various directories and in the London Gazette. We do now know if they were makers or retailers - can you help?

Josiah Blackman, Brixton Road, London sold harmoniums

George Joseph Wainwright, 122 Jamaica Road, Bermondsey, 15/5/1883.

William Walton Rodell, St. Helen's Square and 34 Stonegate, York, 3/5/1880 (dealer)

Peter James Colson, 239 Euston Road, 16/5/1868

Guiseppe Chiappa and Gustavus Fersani, 6 Little Bath Street, Eyre Street Hill, Clerkenwell dissolved partnership 3/3/1880 (barrel organ makers)

Samual Howard, 2-4 Swan Street, Manchester. Inventor and supplier of the Melody or Solo Organ stop.

Ian Thompson sent me the following note: Although Ord-Hume mentions the Howard melody coupler more than once in ``Harmonium'' I've never actually seen one or heard of an actual example referred to. I went up to the Patent Office Library in London a few years back, read the summarised patent carefully and peered with even greater care at the drawings, but he was curiously coy, unless I missed something, about how you shut off the un-wanted notes. It was clearly a mechanical and not a pneumatic system, and therefore, like the Dawes, must have worked on what I call the domino-rocker system.

Mason Johnson Matthews, Pembroke Place, Liverpool, 5/5/1864

Henry Pickett, 52 High Street, Cliffe and Old Market Lane, Lewes 9/5/1884

Julius Layland, 67 Blackman Street, Southwark 14/5/1870

Joseph Walker Maudson, Bow Street and Rockingham Street, Sheffield 9/4/1883

Joseph Robinson, 28 Oxford Street, Swansea, patent application in 1876

William Scantlebury, Holloway, patent in 1871

Edmund Lea, Tipton, patent 1864 (mill and forge manager)

George Martin James Goodburn and Charles Rooke of 20, Snow's Fields, Bermondsey, and 7 Newcomen Street, Southwark dissolved partnership on 5/1/1881.

Alfred Spencer and William Hailes, harmonium sound board makers of 104A Park Street, Camden, dissolved partnership in 1890.

London and Paris Pianoforte and Harmonium Company Limited was wound up in Jan'1974 for debt.

John Edmond Castex, of 1 College Place, Camden Town, N.W. applied for a patent in 1867

George A. Gray, London (noted by Ian Thompson).

Jules Guesne, of 13, Charlotte Street, Portland Road, London patent 11/11/1869.

Peter Fraye, 6 Walbrook, London, patent application 26/6/1868

Philip Augustus Claude, of Ossulston Street, Euston Road granted a provisional patent in 1875 noted as a harmonium manufacturer

James Thorneloe, of Birmingham (joiner) patent application 1873

London and Provincial Pianoforte and Harmonium Association Limited Oct'1900

Richard Archibald Brookman of London on behalf of Joseph Poole Pirsson patent application number 2,066 of 27th August 1860.

Other Names - Reed Organs

Other names are mentioned in various directories and in the London Gazette.

John James Rosamond, 16 Mare Street, Hackney, piano and American organ maker, died 26/2/1895.

Hyacinthe Gabriel Gouverneur, Tebbington Street, Middx. applied for patent in 1875

Maria Procopé of Sweden but living at 33 Chancery Lane, Middx. applied for patent in 1876.

Rob Allan