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Henry Dean, father and son, concertina tuners, 1837-1952

Stephen Chambers

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A name that sometimes crops up in connection with concertinas (especially ones found in North London) is that of Heny Dean, and it is most often to be found on a printed label that reads something like this:






Lordship Lane,





This is  the label of Henry Dean (ii), the eldest son of Henry Dean (i), who was born in Battersea, London, on 10th February 1871.


He seems to have spent his whole working life in the Post Office:


On the 1891 Census he was an "Auxiliary, General Post Office", by 1901 he had become a "Postman", in 1911 a "Civil Servant (Sorter) General Post Office", and on the 1939 Register he's recorded as "Post Office Sorter (Retired)".


But perhaps that employment provided him with financial security, while he carried on his late father's business as a sideline?


There's an item that suggests he did the above in the Chris Algar Archive, available from the ICA Document Archive; "CA018 : Dean; Repairs 1932" - it consists of (to quote Wes Williams) "... three items, a headed memo giving an estimate for work, a headed receipt, and a 'trade printed' envelope. The dates are in February 1932, and the letter and memo carry the 'Established 60 years' tag line, so we are looking at establishment around 1870. But the receipt does not carry any tag line, and was apparently printed for the previous decade, as it has a preprinted '192..' year field, and an N22 address code, although the style of the 22 suggests it could possibly have been a later overprint." Whilst Bob Gaskins kindly sent me copies of those documents in the ICA Archive, which very much suggest a continuity in the business of a "Tuner" (for which read "Reed Maker") carrying on into the 1920's/'30's, with their references to "Concertinas ... Tuned ... Harmonium and Organ Reeds Fitted to Frames and Tuned. Work Done for the Trade."


He was already living in Wood Green at the time of the 1911 Census, but at 28, Hewitt Avenue, and the first hard evidence for his move to 21, Stirling Road is the 1920 Electoral Register. He remained at that address until his death, on 21st January 1952.






Edited by Stephen Chambers
Edited to add more material.
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Henry Dean (i) was baptised on 7th May 1837,  in Rochester, Kent.


On the 1851 Census he's listed as a 14-year-old "Brass Finisher" living at 2, Mount Terrace, New Road, Whitechapel, but a decade later (1861 Census) he's become a "Concertina Maker" and is a "Boarder" at 21, York Terrace, Mile End.


In 1871 he is listed as a "Coffee + Lodging House Keeper" (his father's occupation) at 1, Culmstock Place, Battersea, but on the 1881 Census he is a "Harmonium Reed Maker", at 1, Tyrrell Road, Camberwell.


In 1891 he is a "Concertina Tuner & General Shop Keeper", at 106, Shaftesbury Street, Shoreditch and in 1901 he is "Concertina Reed Maker", at 42, Winston Road, Stoke Newington.


On the 1911 Census he appears as a "Retired English Concertina Maker" at 114, Winston Road, Stoke Newington.


He died in the last quarter of 1917.


Given his various East London locations, and harmonium/concertina reed making activities, I feel compelled to wonder if Henry Dean (i) might have worked for/been trained by George Jones...





Edited by Stephen Chambers
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“H. Dean”.              About 18 months ago I bought a box of random concertina spares from a music shop in Melbourne (Aust.).      While going through it, I realised it contained about 90pc of a 20b Jones serial #3937.

On the left hand action board is a white sticker referring to a repair seemingly done on 19/6/1928 by H. Dean of the above address.  I will try to attach a photo.       Unfortunately the left end plate of this instrument has been smashed.   I doubt my woodwork skill would do justice trying to make a new end. So it sits awaiting inspiration.   Cheers to all Gerry


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My mistake on the serial number.  In the bright light of day it is indeed no. 3967 and that  number matches on the other action board and bellows frame. Maybe I need a trip to the optometrist.

My post was really just to confirm the details given in Stephen's post as above.


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Hi Gerry


I met you last year when you purchased a concertina case from me, and I remember you mentioning this Jones concertina - it’s David, from Highett. 

Looks like this is quite an early Jones Anglo, I’m lucky enough to own a 20 key Jones too (2815). Would love to see some more pics of your one (or whatever remains) if you’re able to post.


A very interesting thread as always Stephen.


Thanks all



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