Title: ‘Made in London’: Makers, designers and innovators in musical instrument making in London, from the 18th to 21st centuries

Location: Sir John Cass Faculty of Art, Architecture & Design, London Metropolitan University, Goulston Street, E1 7TP

Date: Saturday 28th May 2016

This event is now open for registration. Attendees may register using the following link:

Eventbrite - 'Made in London' Conference: IMR and London Metropolitan University


‘Made in London’: Makers, designers and innovators in musical instrument making in London, from the 18th to 21st centuries

This one-day conference brings together an exciting range of new research examining the making and development of musical instruments in London. Diverse instruments can trace their roots through early London workshops and the pioneering efforts of an enterprising body of innovative and skilful craftsmen.

Makers, restorers, conservators, players, and historians are invited to discuss musical instrument-making in London from the 18th to the 21st centuries, and through the shared discussion of current research to generate a better understanding of issues common to both current and former practitioners. The programme has been selected to promote new dialogue between the practical and theoretical, to refresh organological thinking, and to forge creative new collaborations in the practice and analysis of musical instrument-making.

The Cass Faculty of Art, Architecture & Design of London Metropolitan University, which incorporates the former London College of Furniture, has been a centre of musical instrument-making for 100 years. The University is pleased to host this conference in which doctoral, post-doctoral and wider research communities converge to share recent findings and to advance the study of a particular music-making culture from various disciplinary and methodological viewpoints.



09.30               REGISTRATION & COFFEE

09.55               Welcome

                       Session chair: Marie Kent

10.00            Julie Halls (The National Archives)

The Antoniophone, the Albert valve and an improved regimental cased Serpentcleide: designs for musical instruments at The National Archives

10.30               Douglas MacMillan (University of Oxford)

William Bainbridge: an innovative woodwind instrument maker

11.00               K. Dawn Grapes (Colorado State University)

Nineteenth-century London instrument makers: a view from America

11.30-11.50     COFFEE

                       Session chair: Lewis Jones

11.50               Temina Cadi Sulumuna

Harp making in London: the Érard workshop and the Morley workshop

12.20               Jenny Nex (University of Edinburgh)

Robbing Peter to pay Paul: financial (mis-)management in musical instrument making firms in early industrial London

12.50-1.50       LUNCH BREAK

                       Session chair: Jenny Nex

1.50                 Margaret Debenham

Frederick Beck, pianoforte-maker and Christopher Furhlohg, cabinet-maker and inlayer: newly identified documentary sources

2.20                 Norman MacSween & Tim Harding

'95 Wardour Street, corner of Edward Street, Soho’: a microcosm of 1790s London piano making

2.50                 Chris Egerton & Taro Takeuchi

A rare Regency-period lute: discovery, history, performance

3.20-3.30         Announcements

3.30-3.50         AFTERNOON TEA

                       Session chair: Mathew Dart

3.50                 Mike Baldwin (London Metropolitan University)

Forgotten employees of the late-Georgian harp makers OR The apprentice, the thief, the dog, and its killer

4.20                 Closing observations & discussion

5.00                 END


There is no charge to attend this conference, but registration is required at:


Registration will remain open until 20 May 2016. 


The conference is sponsored jointly by the Institute of Musical Research and London Metropolitan University.

Please direct any enquiries to Marie.Kent@rhul.ac.uk


Dr Marie Kent

Honorary Early Career Fellow

Institute of Musical Research

Call For Papers

Proposals for 20-minute papers on topics of music history related to the theme of the conference are warmly invited, and may include (but are not limited to):

  • Musicians and makers; musician makers
  • Musical innovation in relation to design and manufacturing innovation
  • Training and the transmission of skills
  • Partnerships and apprentices; rivalry and collaboration
  • The conflicting demands of the workbench v. the business
  • Pricing, pitching, marketing and sales
  • The selection and acquisition of materials
  • Resolving issues of weakness and instability
  • Logistical problems of instrument distribution
  • Repairing and conserving historical and modern instruments
  • Issues of fraud and copyright

Abstracts of no more than 200 words, together with a short biography of no more than 100 words, details of instruments to be demonstrated, and AV requirements, should be submitted as an email attachment to Marie.Kent@rhul.ac.uk by 5.00pm on Friday, 11 March 2016.  Successful applicants will be notified by Friday, 18 March 2016. Registration details to follow in March.