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Richard Carlin

Wheatstone And Chidley Family Trees

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OK rabid concertina historians -- has anyone yet done a complete Wheatstone-Chidley family tree? Judging from past postings, there seems to be some knowledge about the Chidleys, at least beginning around 1900 -- but I have never seen complete information about how (indeed, IF) the Chidleys were related to Wheatstone. . . or indeed exactly who ran the Wheatstone firm from the 1830s on -- There's a good deal of folklore about the relations between Chas & William Wheatstone and Sydney and "Rock" Chidley (was Rock a nickname???) and the various workmen who assisted them in the first decades of the instrument's manufacture -- Louis Lachenal, John Crabb, Mr. Austin, etc.--but I'm wondering if anyone has dug into business records of the era (if they exist), phone directories, and the usual genealogical sleuthing.

 

Any info would be greatly appreciated! It would be nice to have this all sorted out once & fer all.

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I don't believe anybody has done a *complete* family tree from this point of view. However, I wrote an article for the ICA Newsletter (Concertina World No 422; Feb 2002) explaining how the Chidleys were related to the Wheatstones, after making contact with two Chidley family descendents. I've attached a diagram, since formatting would destroy the text if inserted in this message. A Wheatstone family tree has been published by Brian Bowers. A comprehensive genealogy of the Chidley family is included in the ICA Archive, catalogued on the ICA site here.

 

Rock was a real name given at birth, and I believe you intended Edward Chidley rather than Sydney (the black sheep of the family with no concertina connections!). I have no details on exactly how Edward came to control Wheatstone; he is listed as an independent maker in Store St from 1860 to 1870, but in 1870 he is also listed at Wheatstone's address in Conduit St.

 

best wishes ..wes

 

Edited to add: Rock was an independent maker by 1851 when he exhibited at the Great Exhibition, and is listed as a maker up to 1868.

post-9-1084548959.gif

Edited by wes williams

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Wes,

 

Please forgive a thread drift:

 

Is the Cornelius Ward shown in your diagram, as related to both the Wheatstones and the Chidleys, the same who was an eminent London flute maker (with Monzani & Hill and independently)?

 

There is a great observation about boxwood attributed to the flutemaker Ward by Rockstro, that (because of dimensional changes due to change in its water content) this wood is "more fitted for the construction of a hygrometer than of a wind-instrument." Michael Grinter was amused to hear this quote since he actually had a piece of warped boxwood functioning as a hygrometer in his flutemaking shop! Those of us who love the tone of a boxwood flute must take great pains keeping its environment regulated (as with antique concertinas). Lots of the old ones are "banana-ed."

 

Another reference to Ward may be instructive, or at least amusing, to consider when we get into controversies in this forum. It relates to the controversy in the 1840s over the new Boehm system flutes, and the argument made by some that important aspects of his "invention" were plagiarized. After many letters to "The Musical World," this letter to the editor was published in 1843:

 

"I pray you sir, to put a mute

On all this noise 'bout Boehm's flute;

Your powers arouse

To muffle Prowse

Nor let old Card

Contend with Ward

But quash at once the dull dispute."

 

-Embouchure

 

Paul

Edited by Paul Groff

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Is the Cornelius Ward shown in your diagram, as related to both the Wheatstones and the Chidleys, the same who was an eminent London flute maker ... ?

Paul,

 

I believe it is the same Cornelius Ward, if so, he died in 1872, only three years before Charles Wheatstone, and they are buried right beside each other in Kensal Green Cemetary. (Or is it even in the same grave ? The more I look at the photo, the more I think it is. If so, Ann Ward and Richard Tillstone are buried with them too.)

 

You will find photographs of, and directions to, their gravestones in the FAQ of the Stereoscopy.com website (we may tend to forget that Wheatstone didn't just invent our beloved concertina, and that he is of great interest to people with many other interests !), if you follow this link.

 

In the photograph, below, Wheatstone's gravestone is the long, low, roof-shaped one on the ground, to the left of centre, Ward's is the tilting, dark grey, one in the centre, with what appears to be another, roof-shaped, stone to the right of it.

 

I must go and pay my respects, to both of them (and confirm that it is indeed the same Cornelius Ward), one of these days.

 

By the way, for the benefit of those C.net users who are not also rabid 8-keyed flute buffs (probably everybody else ?), perhaps I should explain that Prowse (i.e. Thomas Prowse) and Card (i.e. William Card), in Embouchure's rhyme, were other contemporary London flutemakers.

post-9-1084567468.jpg

Edited by Stephen Chambers

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Rock was a real name given at birth ...

... and he even named his first son Rock too !

 

... I believe you intended Edward Chidley rather than Sydney (the black sheep of the family with no concertina connections!).

Is he not the same Sydney Chidley who arranged Old Favourites, for Edeophone or English concertina (in 1897), and Alice, where art thou ?, for the Edeophone (in 1904) I wonder ?

 

I have no details on exactly how Edward came to control Wheatstone; he is listed as an independent  maker in Store St from 1860 to 1870, but in 1870 he is also listed at Wheatstone's address in Conduit St.

I believe that Edward Chidley started to manufacture Wheatstone's concertinas in 1865, a subject that I will address in my forthcoming PICA article. The 1871 Census shows him to have been living at 29, Conduit Street, close to Wheatstone's, at that date.

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Yes, just to save my Chidley reputation, I DID mean Sydney as I have a copy of OLD FAVOURITES -- so clearly he at least played concertina. But thanks Wes for the great info and Stephen it seems you're holding some cards as well--do we have to wait for the distinguished Mr. Alan Atlas to publish your article to find out more about Wheatstone's early manufacturing history???

 

It seems that the more we dig into this, the more we find everybody somehow knew or was related to everyone else. According to Geoff Crabb, his great-grandfather John's sister worked for Lachenal in the early days. It seems there were a number of craftspeople who moved from firm to firm as it were between c. 1850 to 1870 -- in addition, many "makers" were in fact just "labellers" as we know (reselling other's instruments under their own label) -- and some may have been more like "assemblers" than "makers" (drawing on a common pool of specialists who actually made the reeds, bellows, etc.)

 

Perhaps this is all just TOO esoteric but it would be nice to get everything assembled in one place.

 

BTW, I could not find the Chidley family tree on the ICA site -- anybody have a direct link?

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... I believe you intended Edward Chidley rather than Sydney (the black sheep of the family with no concertina connections!).

Is he not the same Sydney Chidley who arranged Old Favourites, for Edeophone or English concertina (in 1897), and Alice, where art thou ?, for the Edeophone (in 1904) I wonder ?

 

Richard's enquiry said the Chidley Brothers - they were Rock and Edward. There were also another three brothers (John,Richard and Sydney) unconnected with concertinas. Sydney Herbert Chidley, the arranger, was another of Rock's sons.

 

This Cornelius Ward was that same flute maker and inventor.

 

And the ICA Archive is not on the website, but only a catalogue of it.

Edited by wes williams

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It seems that the more we dig into this, the more we find everybody somehow knew or was related to everyone else.

I should point out that family connections are often extremely complicated. The diagram I gave is only a fairly straightforward connection, and there are marriages between Bubb and Ward families in the previous century which could provide other relationships if investigated further.

 

As an example of how esoteric a study this may be, a Richard Tillstone is listed as living (c.1871) at the same address as Sophia Ann, sister of Charles and William Wheatstone. Another of Mary Hannah and Cornelius Ward's siblings, Amelia Honor, married a Richard Tillstone, and Cornelius's daughter Louisa also married a Richard Tillstone, possibly her cousin. It quickly gets very complicated, and requires a lot of study.

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... Stephen it seems you're holding some cards as well--do we have to wait for the distinguished Mr. Alan Atlas to publish your article to find out more about Wheatstone's early manufacturing history???

Richard,

 

I don't have a lot to say about Edward Chidley, and how he came to take over Wheatstone's, I am simply going on the evident change in both the construction, and the numbering, that started to occur in Wheatstone's instruments that year, as revealed by surviving instruments and by the ledgers. As for the PICA article - I'm still trying to finish it, whilst simultaneously moving my home, and business, to Kilrush. Wes is the one who has been working in-depth on the Chidley family (I didn't even know that there was more than the one Sydney Chidley - though Sydney H. was the one I meant !).

 

However, I have already written an article, Louis Lachenal : "Engineer and Concertina Manufacturer" (Part 1), which throws some light on Wheatstone's, and their employees, up to 1848. It was published (by Allan Atlas) in The Free-Reed Journal Vol. 1 (1999), pp. 7-18, or you can read it on the web here.

 

Perhaps this is all just TOO esoteric but it would be nice to get everything assembled in one place.

There is more known about these people now, than there was a few years ago, but there is still plenty more we would like to know, and plenty we will never know ...

Edited by Stephen Chambers

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This Cornelius Ward was that same flute maker and inventor.

Wes & Paul,

 

I have just found him on the 1871 Census :

 

Cornelius Ward, age 75, "Retired Musical Instrument Maker", born London, St. George's E. (not Liverpool, as has been suggested elsewhere)

 

He was living at 14, Alma Square, Marylebone, in the household of his son-in-law, Richard Tillstone, a 52-year-old "Retired Farmer" (formerly of Abingdon, Berks.), the husband of his daughter Louisa.

 

The place-of-birth of Ward's wife is very significant :

 

Harriet S. Ward, age 77, born Glostershire [sic], Barnwood - the same place as Charles Wheatstone.

 

She married Cornelius Ward at Old Church, St. Pancras, on 14th September 1817, and appears to have been christened, in Barnwood, on 27th January 1793 (so perhaps she was a little older than she admitted ?).

 

As an example of how esoteric a study this may be, a Richard Tillstone is listed as living (c.1871) at the same address as Sophia Ann, sister of Charles and William Wheatstone. Another of Mary Hannah and Cornelius Ward's siblings, Amelia Honor, married a Richard Tillstone, and Cornelius's daughter Louisa also married a Richard Tillstone, possibly her cousin. It quickly gets very complicated, and requires a lot of study.

Let's just hope they buried the right one with him ! ;)

Edited by Stephen Chambers

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The place-of-birth of Ward's wife is very significant :

 

Harriet S. Ward, age 77, born Glostershire [sic], Barnwood - the same place as Charles Wheatstone.

 

 

Not really that significant...they were first cousins! Or have I got it wrong? :blink:

 

Regards

Malcolm

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Not really that significant...they were first cousins! Or have I got it wrong?

Stephen is saying that Harriet Ward and Charles Wheatstone's common birthplace (a small village in Gloucestershire, on the other side of England to London) is further confirmation of the links shown in the original diagram. I haven't given any information here which confirms those links, although I have been supplied with it.

Wes is the one who has been working in-depth on the Chidley family..

I've done very little work; I was lucky to contact a Chidley family descendent who had done this work comprehensively. My only work has been a link-in to the concertina aspects.

Cornelius Ward, age 75, "Retired Musical Instrument Maker", born London,  St. George's E. (not Liverpool, as has been suggested elsewhere)

Thanks for all your efforts Stephen - please try to finish Louis Lachenal Part 2 as soon as you can, as we are getting really tight on PICA publication deadlines, and I'm sure nobody will want to wait until 2005 to read it! (Issue 1 of PICA *will* be available to all, via the ICA website)

 

My Chidley contact wrote that the Ward family had moved to London shortly before Cornelius's birth. Mary Hannah Chidley(nee Ward), his elder sister, was born 3 Mar 1793, baptised St. Martin, Birmingham, 25 Mar 1794, and a 1794 Directory for Birmingham lists John Ward,steel toy maker,Dale End. So I could understand his birthplace being mistakenly given as Birmingham, but Liverpool?

 

Since there is a great interest in Cornelius Ward, here are the full details I was given:

 

Cornelius Ward

son of John (gun maker,tool maker,steel tie/toy maker) and Mary Ward.

born 24 Jan 1796, Church Lane, Stepney, Middlesex,

baptized: 26 Jun 1796, S.George-in-the-East, Stepney,

occupation: musical instrument maker,

married 14 Sep 1817, in S.Pancras Old Church, Middlesex, after banns:

Harriet RYDER, born c1791, Barnwood, Gloucestershire,

baptized: 27 Jan 1793, Barnwood,

(daughter of Samuel Ryder and Sophia Ann BUBB),

presumed 1st cousin to Charles Wheatstone;

died 8 Mar 1881, 37 Marlborough Road, Holloway, Middlesex.

Cornelius died 1 Feb 1872, Marylebone Workhouse. He wrote "The Flute explained: being an examination of the principles of its structure and action, and an account of its past and present state, with other information.." London, 1844.

 

Edit: Although he is famous for his flute connections, most of the entries I come across for Cornelius Ward connect him with percussion.

 

best wishes ..wes

Edited by wes williams

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Cornelius Ward, age 75, "Retired Musical Instrument Maker", born London,  St. George's E. (not Liverpool, as has been suggested elsewhere)

My Chidley contact wrote that the Ward family had moved to London shortly before Cornelius's birth. Mary Hannah Chidley(nee Ward), his elder sister, was born 3 Mar 1793, baptised St. Martin, Birmingham, 25 Mar 1794, and a 1794 Directory for Birmingham lists John Ward,steel toy maker,Dale End. So I could understand his birthplace being mistakenly given as Birmingham, but Liverpool?

 

Since there is a great interest in Cornelius Ward ...

There is indeed great interest in Cornelius Ward, not only in flute, but also bassoon, and drum history circles. I think that it may have been assumed that he came from Liverpool because there was a prominent Ward family in the music business in that city. According to Lyndesay G. Langwill, An Index of Musical Wind Instrument Makers, 6th edition, 1980, Cornelius Ward was the father of Richard J. Ward (1839-1909) of R.J. Ward & Sons, Liverpool, a leading musical firm which sold, amongst other things, a lot of "own brand" Lachenal concertinas.

 

Langwill also lists a William Ward, 7, Anne Street, Bimingham, "maker of mus. insts.", 1827-34?

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Wes and Stephen,

 

Many thanks for the insights into the relationships and activities of the Wheatstone/Chidley/Wards etc.

 

I wonder if anyone has seen correspondence between Cornelius Ward and his concertina-making relatives, or other evidence that they might have cooperated, brainstormed, shared information or even used some of the same craftsmen as outworkers? As has been mentioned, Cornelius seems to have been inventive and clever in his field, and might have had much to offer the fledgling concertina trade. Among other accomplishments he is credited by Rockstro with building the intricate keyed flute designed by Colonel Rebsomen, that could be played with the right hand only.

 

I have seen a couple of concertinas with oval, white-enameled metal plaques marked "Ward, Liverpool." If memory serves they were mahogany 20 key anglos made by Lachenal. I think they did have the initials "R. J.;" if this information might be interesting I can track down the current owner of one of these and provide the full text of the plaque.

 

Paul

Edited by Paul Groff

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Thanks to all for the information about Chidleys, etc., here. I appreciate all the sleuthing on this subject --

 

does anyone know where one might find British business records going back to the 19th century? I don't know if businesses had to "register" with the government, but there might be insight into ownership there . . . I'm primarily interested in the history of the Wheatstone firm, rather than the exact relation of all the family members (although they are definitely intertwined -- but as Wes noted it's pretty complicated).

 

We know William Wheatstone died in 1860 -- it's doubtful that Charles "rejoined" the firm then, as he was already well established as a scientist. Perhaps this is when Edward Chidley returned -- whether by purchasing the firm or simply de facto as manager -- which would also support the change noted in the style/construction of instruments. Harry Crabb always insisted Wheatstone shut down for a while in the 1850s due to the competition of other small makers -- (or perhaps due to William's illness?) -- perhaps Lachenal was supplying instruments under the Wheatstone label as it did for other makers during this period -- as part of a separation agreement (?) between Lachenal and Wheatstone. This is all conjecture and speculative --

 

Has anyone combed through the music trade papers of this period and/or MUSICAL TIMES (although they mostly note concert appearances by people like Regondi and Blagrove)--I assume phone directories have been searched . . .

 

Well anyhow just more thinking. Thanks again to everyone. I appreciate the input and information.

 

RC

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I assume phone directories have been searched . . .

Well, telephone directories probably wouldn't be a very valuable resource prior to the 1876 invention of the telephone.... (I don't know when telephones became widespread enough for directories to start coming out, but it must have been some years later.)

 

:)

Steven

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Richard,

 

Some of your questions, about Lachenal & Wheatstone's, will be answered in my PICA article.

 

However, I'm afraid that I went looking for business records about 10 years ago, only to be told, by Companies House, that a business would have needed to be a Limited Company to be registered at that time, and very few were, except for large undertakings like railway companies. The Registration of Business Names did not start until 1916, but nearly all of those records were destroyed around 1981.

 

I don't know if anybody has looked at early telephone directories, but they are unlikely to tell us much we don't already know, and you would be amazed how many businesses did not have telephones. My own shop was established in 1834, but did not have a telephone until I bought it, only 14 years ago !

 

The music press has been scoured, by more than one person.

 

We should just be extremely thankful that Harry Minting salvaged the Wheatstone "Red Books" for us, forty-odd years ago, or they could have finished up on the bonfire too, along with the stock of sheet music. Then we would have nothing to go on !

 

By the way, William Wheatstone died on 30th August 1862, aged 57, at 20, Conduit Street. His Death Certificate describes him as a "Concertina & Harmonium Manufacturer and Inventor".

Edited by Stephen Chambers

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Oops -- forgot about telephone directories not being around that early. I guess I am showing my lack of sleuthing skills . . .

 

Thanks for further clarifications about what's out there to Stephen as it will save me time trying to get this info.

 

I interviewed Harry Minting in 1975 and have a transcript of that . . . but it's more about him than concertina history per se. I will look through it again and if anything relevant is there I'll post.

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