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The Concertina Museum website


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Here's news of a remarkable new website and Museum database that's being released on 1st November – it details a massive, searchable and visually-stunning archive of one of the largest collections of Concertinas and related instruments still in private hands.

 

This website, which is now accessible at www.concertinamuseum.com features Neil Wayne's entire Concertina Museum Collection and is the first major on-line resource for the study of over 380 rare and early examples of this uniquely-English instrument, of its players, and of their bands, music and images from the past 180 years. The collection also contains Charles Wheatstone's own research items, many related instruments, early music and tutors, and over 4000 original photographs and written data about the instrument, its players, bands and its role during the past two centuries of musical culture. The new web site is designed to be an open-access database that will facilitate access and encourage research upon all matters pertaining to the concertina and its history.

 

The XML-based web site was created by Wes Williams, the noted concertina researcher and designer of many instrument research sites, and benefits greatly from the research of Chris Flint, the genealogist of many of the early Victorian concertina makers. It will be released as www.concertinamuseum.com on 1st November 2011.

 

It was while studying at Brunel University at the end of the '60s, that Neil Wayne began collecting and studying that unusual and uniquely-English instrument – the concertina. He met and studied with players still surviving from the 1910 – 1930 period, interviewed and recorded the playing and recollections of the elderly survivors of the dying concertina trade, and by 1971 was editing his The Concertina Newsletter, sharing the research, history and music of this quality Victorian survivor with a growing body of players, collectors and researchers around the world.

 

The Concertina Newsletter became Free Reed Magazine (from Issue No 10) and ran to 26 Issues, with over 3,000 subscribers. Wayne also began to publish the results of his research in serious musicological journals, and in various musical magazines and newsletters around the world. In 1991, this included the first of a number of papers published in The Galpin Society Journal (the leading musicological journal).

 

As Wayne explains:

"The concertina was a neglected, even scorned instrument by the 1970s, (and was then thought of as having little commercial value!) so by the late 1970s I had been able to build a collection of over six hundred rare and early concertinas, together with a huge archive of thousands of manuscripts, images, recordings and interviews all documenting the social history of the concertina.

 

"However, by the early 1990s, museums such as The Horniman Museum (which has always had a strong interest in world music and culture) had begun to take an interest in the concertina, and I made several visits to help classify and catalogue their small collection; by 1995 the Horniman Museum staff had made several visits to my collection here in Derbyshire, and with the help of The Arts Council and National Lottery Funding, I was able to transfer my entire first collection to The Horniman, where it has now become a world class resource for research and information about the social history and the instruments of the concertina family.

 

"Further publications, broadcasts, and published papers have followed, (including two papers in the highly respected Galpin Society Journal) and I now have formed a second collection, this time focussing closely on the instruments and history of the many rare and early makers of the concertina in England from 1830 to 1860, with almost 400 rare examples; there is an accompanying archive of over 4,000 associated items (images, toys, postcards, tutors, makers' catalogues, related instruments, Charles Wheatstone materials, etc.), all of which are now available to study on the new website and database that is viewable in its released format from 1st November at: www.concertinamuseum.com.

 

"I hope to liaise closely with both the Horniman Museum's Wayne Collection, and that of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (with whom I have also collaborated on concertina research), in order to add links to their collections of related instruments."

This autumn also marks the 35th anniversary of Neil Wayne's renowned Free Reed record label. Launched in 1976, Free Reed was initially a record label specialising in the concertina musicians that Wayne had been recording, an interest which now culminates in the imminent launch from 1st November 2011 of this new Concertina Museum website and database.

 

The Free Reed label took the folk music world by storm from 1976 with a release of 8 full length LPs, and over the years has diversified by embracing the wider world of folk and folk-rock, producing over 30 sumptuous, groundbreaking CDs and boxed sets for Fairport Convention, Martin Carthy, Ashley Hutchings, Dave Swarbrick, Richard Thompson and the like. For further information about Free Reed visit: www.free-reed.co.uk

 

Neil Wayne's career has thus followed a unique path that has led to him becoming a musicologist, folk music researcher, record producer, and museum curator, creating the National Collection of concertinas and related instruments, and with his team of Wes Williams and Chris Flint is now providing the world a major new research database on the instrument.

 

He hopes to to liaise closely with both the Horniman Museum's Wayne Collection, and that of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (with whom he has collaborated on concertina research), and other Collections around the world, in order to add links to their collections of related instruments to the Concertina Museum web site.

 

Contacts: Neil Wayne neil.wayne@free-reed.co.uk

01773 824157

07802 708389

The Site has a Twitter account: @ConcertinaMuse, which will be used to announce changes, updates, and additions.

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Edited by wes williams
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Hi Wes,

A great piece of work and all concerned are to be congratulated.

I thought the museum had a number of Jeffries concertinas but I don't see them listed. Is there any particular reason or

are they to be included later?

 

Thanks

Shay Fogarty

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Hi Wes,

A great piece of work and all concerned are to be congratulated.

I thought the museum had a number of Jeffries concertinas but I don't see them listed. Is there any particular reason or

are they to be included later?

 

Thanks

Shay Fogarty

 

Hi Shay,

You are probably thinking of the Horniman Museum 'Wayne' Collection, which was Neil's first collection. This 'Concertina Museum' collection is Neil's second collection, that he started after the Horniman bought his first one. Neil's concentrated on old and unusual instruments, rather than playable ones, so there are no Jeffries and few Crabb types. But a few people have offered to describe and photograph their own instruments, and eventually we hope to be able to allow folks to add their own instruments and photos to the database by using the website. There is a thread on the main discussion forum which answers questions like this.

 

Take care ... wes

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