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George Roe, C19Th English Concertina Teacher, Composer And Arranger


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#19 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 05 October 2016 - 01:02 PM

I recently had occasion to examine for a friend an un-numbered Wheatstone 56 key English extended treble. Inside was an inscription "GR" and an address at "19 Cumberland Street SW"

 

I Googled the address, and found a listing under concertina teachers for George Roe at that address on page 9 of Prof Maccann's Concertinist's Guide.

 

Browsing the Wheatstone ledgers, I searched for George Roe and found # 18518 from 1869, with description "hired".

 

Not really conclusive proof that the concertina to hand was indeed #18518.

 

The manuscript I have strongly suggests that George Roe played an extended treble Malcolm, in that it includes a (crossed out) alternative passage (that probably didn't make it into the published version?) for an instrument of "extended compass".

 

Lacking a serial number, can you tell me the batch number that should be stamped internally?


Edited by Stephen Chambers, 06 October 2016 - 11:41 AM.


#20 malcolm clapp

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Posted 05 October 2016 - 03:35 PM

Batch number is 51.



#21 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 05 October 2016 - 08:13 PM

Batch number is 51.

 

I've noticed that the "batch numbers" inside the Chidley era riveted reed models seem to be the last two digits of their serial numbers, and that they appear as a seperate column in the relevant ledger.

 

The only "ebony" or "black" ended, 56-key extended trebles with that number are all No. 8 concert instruments that occur in the mid 1880s:

 

20351   4th March 1885         No. 8  Ebony

20451 18th November 1885   No. 8  Black Solid

20551   2nd July 1886            No. 8  Black Solid

 

Otherwise, I see you described it as "black lacquered rosewood ends", so it may perhaps have got "blackened up" later (as did happen) - and there then arises the possibility that it could be:

 

19151   Jan. to March 1875    56 Rosewood Steel Unpolished

 

But it can't be 18518 because (apart from the last two digits being wrong) that's listed as a 55-key, and seems to have been used as a "hire" instrument, both to "Roe" (be it George or Henry, or maybe somebody else, on 24th September and 20th October 1869) and "Ward" (quite possibly George Case's pupil, the organist and composer John Charles Ward of Hampstead, on 14th September 1869), with no trace of it having been sold.


Edited by Stephen Chambers, 06 October 2016 - 11:38 AM.


#22 malcolm clapp

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Posted 19 October 2016 - 05:33 AM

 

Batch number is 51.

 

I've noticed that the "batch numbers" inside the Chidley era riveted reed models seem to be the last two digits of their serial numbers, and that they appear as a seperate column in the relevant ledger.

 

The only "ebony" or "black" ended, 56-key extended trebles with that number are all No. 8 concert instruments that occur in the mid 1880s:

 

20351   4th March 1885         No. 8  Ebony

20451 18th November 1885   No. 8  Black Solid

20551   2nd July 1886            No. 8  Black Solid

 

Otherwise, I see you described it as "black lacquered rosewood ends", so it may perhaps have got "blackened up" later (as did happen) - and there then arises the possibility that it could be:

 

19151   Jan. to March 1875    56 Rosewood Steel Unpolished

 

But it can't be 18518 because (apart from the last two digits being wrong) that's listed as a 55-key, and seems to have been used as a "hire" instrument, both to "Roe" (be it George or Henry, or maybe somebody else, on 24th September and 20th October 1869) and "Ward" (quite possibly George Case's pupil, the organist and composer John Charles Ward of Hampstead, on 14th September 1869), with no trace of it having been sold.

 

 

Many thanks for your thoughts, Stephen.

 

Further research has now established that George Roe is unlikely to have occupied the address written inside the concertina until somewhere between the 1881 and 1891 censuses, which implies that it is unlikely that the concertina in question is 18518 (1869) nor 19151 (1875), unless he purchased it second-hand or wrote the address and his initials inside some time after he acquired the concertina, both of which are possibilities of course.

 

There are a couple of other sales in the early ledgers to unspecified Roe names, possibly his parents who are thought to have played concertina, but these do not fit the description or period of the instrument in question.

 

John Roe, father of George, died in 1863, Susanne, his mother died in 1840 and Elizabeth, his stepmother, changed her name by re-marriage in 1866, all long before there was any obvious connection to the Cumberland Street address, and earlier than the date of the "hire" instrument, so those two "hire" transactions could have been to George (b.1839) or Henry (b 1844), or to some other Roe completely unconnected with this family.

 

So we have a 56 key concertina inscribed G R and the Cumberland Street address, number/date unknown, bearing a batch number 51, and it could be a number of different instruments. I am unable to post a photo here, but will endeavour to PM it to you, Stephen, for your further thoughts, as I am unaware of the meaning of the terms "No. 8 Concert instruments" nor "Solid Black".

 

Comments from other subscribers are, of course, welcome.....



#23 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 22 October 2016 - 08:07 PM

I am unaware of the meaning of the terms "No. 8 Concert instruments" nor "Solid Black"

 

Up until the end of 1883 (page 214) the ledger listings only describe the different models, but from the beginning of 1884 (onwards) they are given model numbers.

 

A "No. 8" was a top-of-the-range instrument, with "Ebony" (or ebonised) ends and 56 keys.

 

I would suspect that "Ebony" in the ledger may denote an instrument with (possibly laminated?) ebony ends, whilst "Black Solid" may suggest an instrument with solid ends that are ebonised, but couldn't be sure without examining the instruments in question.

 

I am unable to post a photo here, but will endeavour to PM it to you, Stephen, for your further thoughts ...

 

So here is (a slightly cropped version of) the photo Malcolm sent me, with the comment "Straight out of the box in natural light, it looks quite black, more so than in the photo, but closer inspection shows what appears to be some very worn "blacking" over what looks to me like rosewood. I've picked the photo where the finish (or lack of it) is most obvious":

 

George%20Roe%20Wheatstone.jpg

 

 

Further research has now established that George Roe is unlikely to have occupied the address written inside the concertina until somewhere between the 1881 and 1891 censuses, which implies that it is unlikely that the concertina in question is 18518 (1869) nor 19151 (1875), unless he purchased it second-hand or wrote the address and his initials inside some time after he acquired the concertina, both of which are possibilities of course.

 

Your photo clearly shows an instrument with laminated rosewood ends that has evidently had its bellows replaced at a later date (seeing that they are evidently 6-fold and these instruments were originally only 4- or 5-fold), and I'd suspect it may have got "blackened up" (and possibly the buttons replaced with "spherical ended" ones) at the same time.

 

My very strong suspicion is that the instrument in question is indeed number "19151, Jan. to March 1875, 56[-key], Rosewood [ends], Steel [reeds], Unpolished", and that it is the (then newly acquired) 56-key instrument that George Roe wrote the "extended compass" arrangement of his ""Fantasia, Recollections of England" for/on that same year...

 

So he probably did write the address, and his initials, inside some time after he acquired the concertina.



#24 malcolm clapp

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Posted 24 October 2016 - 08:30 AM

Many thanks for your insight and comments, Stephen.

 

Indeed, the bellows look of later manufacture than the rest of the instrument, and possibly of Lachenal origin.

Also the thumbstraps in the photo (now replaced) were on Lachenal drilled plates. When I removed them, it revealed also the original Wheatstone pattern screw holes in the woodwork. So evidently, there must have been a period when the instrument was quite heavily played for these repairs to have been carried out, and possibly the blackening of the ends at the same time. Possibly the buttons too, as they looked of somewhat later vintage than I would have expected at that age.

 

From the helpful ICA librarian, Jeremy Hague, I have acquired a jpg of "Fantasia, Recollections of England", published by C Wheatstone & Co, which includes the "extended compass" variation for some passages. I have passed this on to the owner of the concertina. and hopefully she will give it some attention. (I'm afraid it is well beyond my own skill level on the English, which I have sadly neglected for some 25 + years).



#25 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 24 October 2016 - 08:54 AM

... the buttons ... looked of somewhat later vintage than I would have expected at that age.

 

The earliest reference I have found to their "recently invented Keys with Spherical Ends" is a June 1885 Wheatstone advertisement in Musical Opinion & Music Trade Review, but there could be earlier ones.

 

Are they metal caps over wooden cores?



#26 malcolm clapp

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Posted 24 October 2016 - 06:01 PM

 

... the buttons ... looked of somewhat later vintage than I would have expected at that age.

 

The earliest reference I have found to their "recently invented Keys with Spherical Ends" is a June 1885 Wheatstone advertisement in Musical Opinion & Music Trade Review, but there could be earlier ones.

 

Are they metal caps over wooden cores?

 

 

Oh dear, can't remember, but I think so (short term memory loss!) Should have taken more photos....

 

The concertina is back with its owner, some 500kms away, so not easy to access, and I'm not keen to ask the owner to take it apart unnecessarily. If/when I see it again, I'll let you know....






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