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C.jeffries

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With all the research being done at present has any one managed to find any new information on Charles Jeffries?

I am still trying to find out more about him and the company, i.e. photos, press cuttings, advertisements, price list, anything in fact!

On a recent visit to London I called in at the Salvation Army offices at Elephant & Castle to try and find out more about their use of the instument. I met the head of the music department who was most helpful. We were having a chat about concertinas, when she asked me if Ihad heard of a maker called Charles Jeffries. Of course I said yes, she then told me that C.J.was her great,great grandfather's cousin (he was named Charles Elija Jeffries).

She has done a bit of research on the family but not much. However after my visit I think she will be trying to find out more.

We have exchaged telephone numbers so hopefully we will be in contact again if either of us find any new information. Could be interesting, I will keep you all posted if I hear anything.

 

All the best.

Martyn :)

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Thanks Martyn for opening this thread.

 

Some light on the elusive Mr Jeffries is I'm sure eagerly awaited by Jeffries and tina enthusiasts alike. I am surprised that no one has done any research on the Jeffries family dates of birth, locations, etc. Most information is anecdotal or hearsay and its surprising that no one has looked up official records. At this stage we should call in that expert archivist Steve Chambers. He told me once that either Mrs Jeffries or Charlie's sister had an unusual name which would tie in with the Elijah referred to by Martyn. Would this be a hint as to the origin of the family or were such names common in Victorian times? I know Steve is in the middle of a move to Kilrush in Co Clare but he may get a chance to throw some light on this topic.

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I am surprised that no one has done any research on the Jeffries family dates of birth, locations, etc.

You mean you're not aware of any, yes?

"No one has" is a pretty broad statement.

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I am sure we would have had the results by now

 

I'm sorry Shay, but it isn't that easy! A group of us (not including Stephen, who I'm sure will be happy to "mark and correct" the paper ;) ) have been working on this for a couple of years, and although we've got a lot sorted, we are still putting in more details. At last draft this was already up to about 50 pages, without illustrations. Can I ask you to wait a little longer, please? It wouldn't be right for any of us to start dripping out juicy snippets without a proper explanation, as the whole thing is quite complex. I have mentioned this article here before, but perhaps not recently.

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It wouldn't be right for any of us to start dripping out juicy snippets without a proper explanation

You'll never make a politician, Wes...

 

Chris

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I am sure we would have had the results by now. Have you something you want to share with us Jim?

I know of at least one person who is working on an article about the Jeffries family, though I don't think it extends to the genealogy of the non-builders. I think it's likely that he -- or someone in a position to assist him -- has researched available census data and other public sources. But if he were going to say something before he finished, I think he would have done so by now. I suspect you'll just have to wait until he makes an announcement.

 

I think there are several people with information -- possibly more than just bits and pieces, -- which haven't been published, or even compiled into publishable form. We've gotten a great deal of valuable information -- certainly not only about Jeffries -- from Steve Chambers recently, but it's hardly the sum total of his knowledge. That would take years.

 

I also remember someone else mentioning an interesting conversation with a Jeffries descendant. But again, that was just a tidbit in a private email, and I don't feel that I should pass it on out of context. If (more likely when) the person who told me wishes to publish it, they will do so.

 

And yet, I am not a concertina historian (just someone interested in the history), and I'm sure there are many individuals I don't even know, who know much more than I do.

 

But I was also suggesting something else: It seems to me quite possible that someone might have gathered information on the Jeffries family for reasons not directly related to concertinas. Do you have any idea what activities other members of the Jeffries family have been involved in over the years? Painting? Horse racing? Politics? Maybe there's an article on the family history -- which might coincidentally mention concertinas in passing -- in some issue of the Pigeon Fanciers' Journal,... or an interview among the papers of the EFDSS? Maybe even something from the early newsletters of the ICA? (Someone recently discovered a reference to an article -- not about Jeffries -- in a 1985 ICA newletter, but it can't have been common knowledge, since I believe they're still trying to locate a copy of the actual newsletter issue or article. What other information might be in old publications, the presence of which has been forgotten?)

 

Did any Jeffries descendants emigrate? Maybe sometime in the 1920's a family history was published in the US or Australia (or Argentina?), which just coincidentally includes some valuable recollections by a Jeffries relative, and maybe 50 years from now somebody with a concertina interest will accidentally run across it and make the connection.

 

Probably not, but I think that it's rather presumptuous to assume that just because we're interested, we must already be aware of everything relevant that's ever been published.

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It wouldn't be right for any of us to start dripping out juicy snippets without a proper explanation
You'll never make a politician, Wes...

If he were a politician, they would not only be juicy, they would also be misleading... or even quite false. B)

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Jim Lucas---- "Do you have any idea what activities other members of the Jeffries family have been involved in over the years? Painting? Horse racing? Politics?

 

That's interesting Jim. Anybody asked Lionel Jeffries the actor if he is related ( Is he still alive?)?

How many Jeffries are listed in the London phone book? Has anyone contacted them. Any leads from the lady in the SA who Martyn met?

Lots of questions, hopefully answers will come in time.

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I think this might be one of those things I was talking about:

 

In looking at "Ask Jeeves", as recommended in the Topic "Concertina Clip Art?", one of the images I clicked on led me to this page, and the statement, "My great aunt Ivy (see CANE tree) was married to Harry CRABB who made the world famous Crabb Concertinas. The Crabb family had been cabinet makers to Charles Wheatstone, co-inventor of the electric telegraph, and inventor of the concertina." There's also a Crabb Family tree.

 

Since the author of these pages indicates that the family tree information came mainly from Geoffrey Crabb, I would guess that our historians are already aware of this source. But have they exhaustively contacted all living family members, looking for letters and other documents? And what if there are other, similar sources to be found that haven't contacted "us"?

 

I suspect there's a lot of information still waiting to be discovered.

 

In fact, it reminds me of my childhood, when a new family moved in up the road. They were from a couple of hundred miles away, and maybe 100 miles from where my mother was born (theirs was farming country; hers was coal mining). Well, my parents had never indicated much interest in family history. "It doesn't matter what your ancestors did; it only matters what you do," they would often say. So imagine my astonishment when my mother returned from talking with the wife of the new family and announced that we were 5th cousins, 3 times removed!

 

Maybe that's why I (like to) think that there's still a lot of information buried out there, just waiting for the right person to ask the right question at the right time. :)

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Please note that other than myself, no other members of the Crabb family appearing on that branch of the 'Cane' family tree were involved in the business by choice. It would be appreciated if therefor their privacy is respected and they are not subjected to unsolicited requests for information.

There are a couple of discrepancies that occurred in the family tree between my input and publication which I am having corrected.

It has been documented in various places of what is believed to be the connection with Jeffries and the Crabb family but I am reluctant to support that information until the research being done by others is published.

What I can offer is that during a meeting with a great nephew of Charles Jeffries Senr. in the early nineteen ninties, it transpired that CJ was originally a brushmaker and not a tinker as previously thought. Unfortunately attempts to contact the great nephew lately have been unfruitful.

 

Geoff Crabb

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With all the research being done at present has any one managed to find any new information on Charles Jeffries?

Well, the focus of my own research has been on the early history of free reed instruments in the West, roughly between 1820 & 1870 (they go back thousands of years in the Far East), and especially on the early concertina makers, associated with Wheatstone's and Louis Lachenal, in London. The Jeffries family were, undeniably, highly important makers of superb concertinas, but they were relative latecomers, who don't fit into those parts of the jigsaw that I have been working on.

 

I am aware that others are working on the Jeffries family, but I hope they won't mind if I "stick my neck out" and reveal what information I do have on the subject, though the only research, that I have undertaken on them myself, has been on their Census returns, and some directory entries. (But perhaps it may bring up fresh information/avenues of enquiry for them ?) Otherwise they can "mark and correct", to quote Wes Williams, what I have written (when they are ready). Hopefully this will suffice for now, and whet people's appetites for what is to come.

 

I am still trying to find out more about him and the company, i.e. photos, press cuttings, advertisements, price list, anything in fact!

Apart from their instruments (and I have worked on lots of those, over the years), they have left very few traces behind them. They seem to have been only a small firm, with a big reputation, supplying directly to the public. They don't appear to have advertised, or produced price lists, and even their tutor books, several of which have survived (I've got three originals), were laboriously hand written.

 

The only printed documents, from Jeffries', that I have seen, have been receipts for instruments and repairs. I have copies of two of those in front of me, printed on blue paper, and headed :

 

Bought of Charles Jeffries,

English & Anglo German Concertina Manufacturer,

23, Praed Street, Paddington, W.

 

One, for "1 Concertina 39 Keys £6 . 15 . 6" , is dated 18th June 1898, whilst the other, for "... the sum of Two Pounds, Ten Shillings for altering pitch of concertina", is from 10th November 1920.

 

Another receipt from 1920 is to be found in the Concertina.net/Museum :

 

jeffries_receipt.jpg

 

Did any Jeffries descendants emigrate? ... the US or Australia (or Argentina?)

In the seventeen years since I left London, several Jeffries relatives have come to light, the first I heard of being from Australia, but I haven't met any of them myself (yet !). However, my late friend Paul Davies (a confirmed Jeffries player) did meet one of them, and (after his stroke, so I couldn't check any details with him) gave me some (cryptic) notes that he had written as a result of this.

 

From what I can make out, the father of Charles Jeffries snr., born London c.1840-3, was a Jacob Jeffries (or Jefferies ?), from the Seend/Semington area of rural Wiltshire (I wonder if that is why they stayed, for all those years, close to Paddington Station, the London terminus of the Great Western Railway, and the railway line to Wiltshire ?).

 

Harry Crabb said :

 

Charlie Jeffery was a tinker, in the 1870's, who used to go round with a barrow mending pots and pans. When he didn't get any tinkers' work, he used to busk on the concertina : People would say "we like that, can you get us one made ?" - so that's how he got started.

 

But, in fact, both Jacob, and Charles snr. (as Geoff Crabb has already stated), were actually brush makers. However this could have been considered a "tinkerish" occupation, as it could be itinerant and seems to have often involved selling door-to-door, so much so that there came to be a special kind of gypsy/hawkers' caravan called a "brush wagon". It seems that Charles snr. gave his occupation as "Brush Maker" in 1859, and "Musician" in 1861, when he was living at 10, Devonshire Street, Lisson Grove, but in 1864 he was again a "Brush Maker, Journeyman" (the latter implying that he had "served his time" as an apprentice).

 

No doubt the playing of a few tunes on the concertina would have been good for "drawing a crowd", if selling brushes around the streets.

 

The first evidence, of a Jeffries concertina, is a 26-key, rosewood-ended instrument in the former Concertina Museum Collection (C233), which has writing on the action board "Made by C. Jeffries 1874", and on the reedpan "Made by C. Jeffries father 1874". The same collection also had two, early, engraved metal-ended instruments, one with 43 keys (C231), the other 49 (C139), both engraved "C. Jeffries Maker, White Lion Passage, Edgware Road". I have managed to ascertain that there was a White Lion Inn on Edgware Road, but not where it was, or what became of it, presumably the Passage in question led to it.

 

Examination of the 1881 Census reveals Charles Jeffries snr., and his eldest son, Charles Jeffries jnr. (born Marylebone c. 1862), as "Concertina Repairers" living at 102, Praed Street.

 

On the 1891 Census they were already living in Aldershot Road, Kilburn, Charles snr. at number 12, and the brothers William (born Marylebone c. 1867) and Charles jnr. at number 16. Charles snr. and William each gave their occupation as "Musical Instrument Maker", while Charles jnr. was more specific, and stated his as "Concertina Maker". All three are categorised as "Neither Employer nor Employed", perhaps suggesting that they all had shares, or a partnership, in the business, and that they employed nobody else ? Intriguingly, the occupant of the intervening house, number 14, was yet another "Brush Maker" (surely no coincidence ?).

 

However, 102, Praed Street continued to be their business address until about 1893, when it changed to number 23.

 

By the 1901 Census, Charles Jeffries snr. was living at Clarence Lodge, Church Road, Willesden, and described himself as a "Musical Instrument Dealer, Retired", whilst his third son, George (born Paddington c.1880) had become a "Musical Instrument Repairer - worker", and the youngest son, Thomas (born Paddington c. 1884) is described as having "No Occupation". Charles Jeffries jnr. was living in his father's old house, at 12, Aldershot Road, and described himself as a "Musical Instrument Maker's Assistant - worker", while William was a "Metal Music Reed Voicer & Repairer - worker" living at 6, Lennox Villa, Church Road, Willesden.

 

Charles Jeffries snr. is said to have died in 1906, leaving the not-inconsiderable sum of £11,000, and I would suggest that it may have been only after his retirement, or perhaps his death, that the oval "C. Jeffries, 23, Praed Street" stamp started to be used on the firm's instruments.

 

The business carried on, as C. Jeffries, until shortly before the First World War, when it became Jeffries Brothers. A Jeffries Bros. receipt, from 18th June 1922, for "... the sum of Twenty Eight Pounds for 1) 58 Keyed Duet Concertina in the Key of C. Concert, Raised Metal Tops, Black Leather Bellows", is written on plain, not headed, paper.

 

It seems that Charles Jeffries jnr. may have set up by himself, at home, by about 1922/3 (when he would have been about 60 years old), as I have seen several instruments re-stamped "NEW ADDRESS 12, ALDERSHOT ROAD, KILBURN NW6", which are often also stamped with a date around those years, and I have an end of a Jeffries duet on which the oval is engraved "C. Jeffries. 12, Aldershot Rd. Kilburn. NW6."

 

Jeffries Bros. continued until at least 1937 (the last directory entry that I have for them), at 18, Lincoln Mews, Kilburn, NW6. Tommy Williams suggested there was "a lot of fiddling going on" at Jeffries Bros, but didn't specify what or when.

 

Thomas Jeffries (then in his mid-seventies) was still in business, at 5, Craven Park, Harlesden, NW10 ("Late of 23, Praed Street, Paddington"), around 1959-61, as I have photocopies of letters from him bearing those dates.

Edited by Stephen Chambers

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om what I can make out, the father of Charles Jeffries (i), born London c.1840-3, was a Jacob Jeffries (or Jefferies ?), from the Seend/Semington area of rural Wiltshire (I wonder if that is why they stayed, for all those years, close to Paddington Station, the London terminus of the Great Western Railway ?).

'Struth! Semington is hardly a loudish shout away! I think I'll have to nose around the local churchyards looking for Jeffries/Jefferies headstones. I share your puzzlement. Round here is considerably more lovely than Paddington. I must tell Colin Dipper that he lives in the same borough as Jeffries pere.

 

Chris

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'Struth! Semington is hardly a loudish shout away! I think I'll have to nose around the local churchyards looking for Jeffries/Jefferies headstones.

Well, that is what Paul Davies was told anyway, I can't vouch for it myself. Looking at genealogical websites, it does seem to be a local name, but I think you will find it is more usually spelled "Jefferies" around there ?

 

I share your puzzlement. Round here is considerably more lovely than Paddington.

I expect the move to Paddington was made for economic reasons, rather than aesthetic ones, there would have been many more opportunities to make money in London 165 years ago. I don't suppose they would ever have started to make concertinas if they had stayed in Wiltshire.

 

The Society of Brushmakers is reputed to be England's first trade union. Amongst other things, it supported brushmaker journeymen (i.e. those who had "served their time") on "The Tramp", a set walking route around England to find work. Bristol was an important centre for the trade, and if Jacob Jeffries had set off from there, "on the Tramp", he would have had to walk via Exeter (82mls), Poole (79mls), Salisbury (30mls), Southampton (22mls) and Reading (46mls) to get to London (40mls), receiving relief at each of these places (where there was a branch of the Society) along the way.

 

I must tell Colin Dipper that he lives in the same borough as Jeffries pere.

I'm sure he will be tickled by that !

Edited by Stephen Chambers

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Stephen Chambers wrote:

I am aware that others are working on the Jeffries family, but I hope they won't mind if I "stick my neck out" and reveal what information I do have on the subject. Perhaps it will even bring up fresh information/avenues of enquiry for them. Otherwise they can "mark and correct", to quote Wes Williams, what I have written (when they are ready). Hopefully this will suffice for now, and whet people's appetites for what is to come.

I don't think I'd disagree too much with anything Stephen has written. Much of it is 'fact' from census returns,etc. so really beyond any disagreement. I did mention earlier about not dropping juicy snippets, but in view of Stephen's comment about not locating the White Lion, and as the info is readily available, see The 'Met' music hall.

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in view of Stephen's comment about not locating the White Lion, and as the info is readily available, see The 'Met' music hall.

Thanks for putting me out of my misery Wes !

 

I tried to find the White Lion, or White Lion Passage, on my Stanford's Library Map of London and its Suburbs 1862, but it isn't marked.

 

I then wasted a lot of time trying to find White Lion Passage (and also the Jeffries family) on the 1871 Census, which is now available online (but that part of it is not yet indexed). I googled ' "white lion" edgware road', but all I could see were references to Edgware Town FC's White Lion Ground, but now, when I check again, the reference to "The Metropolitan" comes up no. 2 on the list ! (Do I need new glasses, or was it just too late at night when I was looking for it ?)

 

I didn't have to go any further than my father's 1948 Reference Atlas of Greater London to find where the Metropolitan Theatre stood, on the Paddington side of Edgware Road, just above the Harrow Road. It was therefore close to, and in between, both Devonshire Street (now called Ashmill Street) and Praed Street.

 

What better place to have had a concertina shop, than at the entry to a leading Music Hall !

Edited by Stephen Chambers

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:D I too really appreciate the information shared on this thread. I had previously read the short Jeffries history written by Joel Cowan and published long ago in the second issue of what was to become Concertina & Squeezebox. The information discussed in this thread corrects some of the errors in his story and puts a more accurate date range on my own 28 button, C/G metal-ended C. Jeffries anglo. I'd previously been told by a couple of highly respected experts that this concertina was made in the 1860's , but the information discussed here shows that it was probably made no earlier than sometime in the 1870's and more likely even later than that.

 

Mine has very finely done filigree work on the ends -- much better than the work I've seen on Crabb's and Ball Beavon's from around the turn of the century, so I suspect that the ends may have been done by Charles or someone working for him and not done by Crabb.

 

Thanks again for all your hard research work.

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