Jump to content

World Concertina Day: Bob Minting interview now live


Recommended Posts

Just watched it. Very interesting , thanks. I’m curious: how does the story of Minting and the last days of the Wheatstone factory square with the story of Sid Watkins’ passing and the transfer of the company to Steve Dickinson?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

22 hours ago, David Barnert said:

Just watched it. Very interesting , thanks. I’m curious: how does the story of Minting and the last days of the Wheatstone factory square with the story of Sid Watkins’ passing and the transfer of the company to Steve Dickinson?

 

David - the answer may be here: 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

52 minutes ago, Daniel Hersh said:

David - the answer may be here: 

 

Thank you. So I’m guessing the Minting story happened in the early 60s and the Dickinson story happened a decade later?

 

BTW, I just updated the link to the video in that thread.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, David Barnert said:

... I’m guessing the Minting story happened in the early 60s and the Dickinson story happened a decade later?

 

Wheatstone's factory at Duncan Terrace was filmed in April 1961, and was then absorbed into the Boosey & Hawkes factory at Edgware. Harry was offered a post as a ledger clerk at B&H, and left to start his own music business.

 

In 1974, the last of the old Wheatstone craftsmen, Sid Watkins (who Steve Wheatstone had been helping out on Saturdays) died - at which time B&H threw everything that was left of Wheatstone's into a skip. Steve Dickinson rescued the contents and started making concertinas in 1975.

 

That's it, in short.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 minutes ago, Stephen Chambers said:

 

Wheatstone's factory at Duncan Terrace was filmed in April 1961, and was then absorbed into the Boosey & Hawkes factory at Edgware. Harry was offered a post as a ledger clerk at B&H, and left to start his own music business.

 

In 1974, the last of the old Wheatstone craftsmen, Sid Watkins (who Steve Wheatstone had been helping out on Saturdays) died - at which time B&H threw everything that was left of Wheatstone's into a skip. Steve Dickinson rescued the contents and started making concertinas in 1975.

 

That's it, in short.

 

But Robert Mining says his father rescued all the equipment he could get his hands on as the shop was closing. What became of it? And what was Watkins still using 10 years later that Dickinson salvaged?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

31 minutes ago, David Barnert said:

But Robert Mining says his father rescued all the equipment he could get his hands on as the shop was closing. What became of it? And what was Watkins still using 10 years later that Dickinson salvaged?

 

I haven't had time to watch the interview yet (I only learnt of it yesterday), so I don't know what Robert Minting has said, but that is incorrect.

 

What Harry saved in 1961 were the the surviving ledgers, when Geoffrey Hawkes ordered the burning of the stock of sheet music, the sales ledgers, and other paperwork (some of which I have). He also (still being Sales Manager) sold himself choice items from the small Wheatstone collection of historic instruments (some of which I have).

 

But Wheatstone's didn't close down in 1964, they only lost autonomy. The equipment and many of the the staff were moved into the Boosey & Hawkes factory at Edgware, but by 1974 the staff had dwindled away to just Sid Watkins.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, Stephen Chambers said:

 

I haven't had time to watch the interview yet (I only learnt of it yesterday), so I don't know what Robert Minting has said, but that is incorrect.

 

What Harry saved in 1961 were the the surviving ledgers, when Geoffrey Hawkes ordered the burning of the stock of sheet music, the sales ledgers, and other paperwork (some of which I have). He also (still being Sales Manager) sold himself choice items from the small Wheatstone collection of historic instruments (some of which I have).

 

But Wheatstone's didn't close down in 1964, they only lost autonomy. The equipment and many of the the staff were moved into the Boosey & Hawkes factory at Edgware, but by 1974 the staff had dwindled away to just Sid Watkins.

 

You needn’t listen to the whole thing. At cue 8:34, he says (without giving any indication of the period of time he’s taking about):

 

Quote

The sales declined and the factory shut and he went in one day, I think one Saturday, and salvaged whatever he could because things were being taken out and just being disposed of, so a lot of things that he was able to bring home to keep, just to preserve them.

 

It is this recollection that prompted me to question the relationship to the Dickinson story.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

44 minutes ago, David Barnert said:

You needn’t listen to the whole thing. At cue 8:34, he says (without giving any indication of the period of time he’s taking about):

Quote

The sales declined and the factory shut and he went in one day, I think one Saturday, and salvaged whatever he could because things were being taken out and just being disposed of, so a lot of things that he was able to bring home to keep, just to preserve them.

 

It is this recollection that prompted me to question the relationship to the Dickinson story.

 

So he didn't actually mention "equipment" - that's a red herring.

 

Robert is talking about 1961 when Harry rescued what he could of "the red books" (the old Wheatstone ledgers), original concertina music manuscripts by Regondi and others, portrait engravings of Regondi and Blagrove, etc. from the bonfire, and sold himself the first concertina, the symphonion, and other items from the Wheatstone collection of instruments. All of which heritage meant nothing to B&H.

 

Production of concertinas certainly didn't finish then, it continued at B&H's own factory, with English and duet concertinas numbered from 36685 to 37083 being produced between July 1961 and January 1974, and Anglos from 58527 to 59498 between August 1961 and December 1974.

 

I was blessed to know Harry Minting quite by chance, because we went to the same central London musical instrument auctions in the 1970s/'80s, and discovered that we both had tortoiseshell Aeolas. Later I started visiting him at home, and we talked a lot about Wheatstone's, and the dance band that Harry had played in with Ernest Rutterford (whose father had been Harry's concertina teacher), and he'd lend me volumes of the red books so I could get them photocopied - he even told me that he'd like me to have the originals, but I'd left London and was setting up a shop in Dublin when he died, so Neil Wayne bought them instead.

 

But I also knew the flute maker John Wicks, who was working for Rudall Carte's at Duncan Terrace at the same time too, so he was able to tell me more about Wheatstone's and Geoffrey Hawkes (MD of B&H).

 

And I've known Steve Dickinson since the '70s.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...