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Marie Lachenal: Concertinist


I. 1 Introduction: Marie Lachenal (1848-1937) had three claims to fame and social prominence: one by birth, one by marriage, and one acquired as an accomplished performer of classical music on the English concertina. Born to the concertina by virtue of the family business—‘Louis Lachenal, Concertina Manufacturer’, the firm established by her father in 18582—Marie learned to play the concertina and applied her talents to the promotion of Lachenal concertinas long after her father’s death in 1861 and her mother’s divestiture of the business in the early 1870s.

In 1868, Marie married Edwin A. Debenham (1844-1925), a member of a family of photographers who specialized in portraits of royalty, statesmen, and artists, as well as somewhat less illustrious clientele. Founded by Edwin’s father near the very dawn of photography, the family photography business bridged the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and eventually produced three generations of Debenham photographers.

Edwin and Marie’s family was large by modern standards, with nine children of whom eight survived infancy. And though Marie’s maternal responsibilities took a toll on her career as performer and teacher, she still managed to maintain high standards of performance throughout her absence from the stage for maternity and child rearing. In fact, the advent of what might be called her ‘second career’ in the 1880s saw her garner the same high praise from the critics that she had received in 1865-1866, when The Mesdemoiselles Lachenal—the teenagers Marie, Eugenie, and Josephine—first took to the stage in London and Edinburgh.

II. The Performer: Marie Lachenal and sisters Eugenie and Josephine made their debut at Myddelton Hall, in Islington, on 14 June 1865,3 at the ages of sixteen, fifteen, and thirteen, respectively, perhaps while still studying with Richard Blagrove (1826-1895), already a prominent concertina impresario by the 1860s and eventually the preeminent classical concertinist after the death of Giulio Regondi in 1872.4 The sisters’ Islington performance drew a glowing review in the Islington Times of 17 June 1865:5

… the Mdlles. Lachenal’s Concert is we believe the first entertainment available for the million[s] in which the Concertina has been in a position fairly to challenge a verdict on its merits as an orchestral instrument of surpassing beauty and extensive capabilities. The Concert commenced with an operatic selection for five Concertinas (two trebles, tenor, baritone and bass), of which the united effect was magnificent, now resembling the tones of the organ, now more like a string band, preserving the spirit of the airs, yet gracing them with novel charm … Mdlle Marie Lachenal was deservedly encored after performing a splendid fantasia on the airs from [Gounod’s] “Faust” on the Concertina with great taste and artistic effect; this one piece was sufficient to entitle the Concert to a success, but the enthusiasm of the audience rose higher still on hearing a trio of Scotch airs for treble, baritone and bass Concertinas by the Mdlles. Lachenal … the performance gave evidence of much talent and finished style and the Concert successfully demonstrated to the general public that which was known only to few enthusiastic amateurs—viz., the adaptability of the Concertina to first-class orchestral Music, where this elegant instrument shines with peculiar effect both in melody and harmony, and sustains the full score unaided by instruments of any other description.

And not only did Richard Blagrove attend the concert in order to lend support and enjoy the accomplishments of his students, but he was one of the concertinists who joined the sisters in the quintet that drew comment in the Islington Times review. The fifth member of the quintet was Blagrove’s sister, Ellen Attwater.6

In a letter to the editor of the South Hackney Correspondent for 27 July 1865, an enthusiastic admirer of the English concertina paid the Lachenal sisters the ultimate compliment, placing them in the company of the finest concertinists of the day: Giulio Regondi, Richard Blagrove, and George Case.7

Following the Islington performance in the summer of 1865, the Lachenal sisters headed to Edinburgh for an October 1865 performance at The Saturday Evening Concerts at the George Street Music Hall.8 Billed as ‘The Celebrated Performers on the ENGLISH CONCERTINA’, the ‘act’ consisted of Marie, Eugenie, Josephine, and their piano accompanist Frederick William Bridgman (1833-1892), an Edinburgh musician who also played the concertina and joined the sisters for a concertina quartet.9 What appears to have begun as a limited engagement lengthened into an October-January stay, prompted by highly favorable reviews of their performance:

The great novelty in the programme was the concerted pieces, arranged for three and four concertinas—the first occasion, we believe, in which such a combination has been heard in Edinburgh. The effect was exceedingly good, more especially in the operatic selections and the national airs. The first quartett, on themes from [Rossini’s] “Semiramide,” [Bellini’s] “Sonnambula,” and [Donizetti’s] “Lucrezia Borgia,” played by the sisters Lachenal and Mr. Bridgman, was most satisfactory both as to its arrangement and performance. Mdlle. Marie Lachenal’s solo on airs from [Gounod’s] “Faust” was also worthy of all praise for the tasteful and artistic manner in which it was rendered. Not less effective was the duet on subjects taken from [Meyerbeer’s] “Les Huguenots,” played by Mdlles. Marie and Eugenie on treble and tenor concertinas. The trio on national melodies, as might be expected met with an enthusiastic reception, and was re-demanded. Mdlles. Lachenal are unquestionably proficient on their respective instruments. . .(The Scotsman, 22 October 1865).

The successful performance on 21 October was followed by a Saturday Evening Concert at the Music Hall on 11 November; this performance received a round of accolades and an announcement of the sisters’ extended stay in Edinburgh:

The concertina playing of the Mdlles Lachenal and Mr Bridgman formed a most important feature in the concert. The quartette on airs from [Donizetti’s] L’Elisir d’Amore was exceedingly effective. It is cleverly arranged, and was most tastefully interpreted by Mr Bridgman and his fair co-executants. The duet on airs from [Auber’s] Le Domino Noir, &c, for treble concertina and pianoforte, was also most charmingly given by Mdlle Marie Lachenal and Mr Bridgman. The trio on Scottish airs by the three sisters was equally satisfactory, and received an encore, which, however, was gracefully declined. Their concluding number was the quartette introducing “Rule Britannia,” “Home, sweet home,” and God save the Queen.” During the performance of the National Anthem the audience remained seated—a phenomenon we never saw exhibited in any concert-room. We are glad to learn that these accomplished artistes intend to remain some time in Edinburgh, so that we may hope to have frequent opportunities of hearing them (The Scotsman, 13 November 1865).

The Lachenals’ next performance at the Music Hall’s Saturday Night Concerts took place on 16 December and, like the earlier ones, was loudly applauded:

Two concert solos, the one on national airs and the other on themes from [Rossini’s] William Tell, were tastefully played by Mdlle Marie Lachenal, and met with immense applause. Not less satisfactory as performances were the trio, by the three sisters, and the quartett, [Weber’s] “Invitation a la Danse,” in which they were assisted by Mr Bridgman. . .[who] discharged his usual duties as accompanist most efficiently (The Scotsman, 18 December 1865).

Between their major performances, the sisters contributed their talents to charity events, including a 13 December concert for the benefit of the Edinburgh Lifeboat Fund. The concert organizers were disappointed by the low turnout, but certainly not by the quality of the sisters’ performance:

The concertina, played by Mdlles. Lachenal and Mr Bridgman, was worthy of all praise, and loudly applauded, the quartette from [Donizetti’s] L’Elisir d’Amore and the trio on Scotch and Irish airs being re-demanded (The Scotsman, 14 December 1865).

Between their engagements at the Music Hall, the sisters also appeared at a ‘grand musical soirée’ sponsored by the Total Abstinence Society and the Band of Hope and held at the Corn Exchange Hall, Dalkeith, on 25 December. The sisters shared the instrumental segment of the program with the Band of the Edinburgh Volunteers. It was, however, Christmas Night, and there were no more than eight hundred in attendance, half of whom were children. But the Lachenal sisters played to their full-house standards and, as usual, their talents and efforts were rewarded by the reviewer:

The most attractive feature in the evening’s proceedings was the musical portion of the programme, which included a variety of excellent quartetts, trios, and solos for the concertina. . .admirably performed by Mdlles Marie, Eugenie, and Josephine Lachenal … Mr F.W. Bridgman … performed the duties of accompanist in his well-known superior style (The Scotsman, 27 December 1865).

The Lachenal sisters’ last performance in Edinburgh took place on 20 January 1866, once again as part of The Saturday Evening Concerts. And though they treated the audience to at least some pieces not included in their earlier performances at the Music Hall, they went unnoticed by the press. It appears that their last performance was not reviewed, at least not by The Scotsman, possibly because they were leaving Edinburgh and were therefore less newsworthy than when future performances loomed.

Marie and her sisters had little opportunity to capitalize on their successes. In 1868, Marie left the Lachenal household to set up housekeeping of her own with husband Edwin, and the Lachenal sisters trio was disbanded. Not until around 1920, when the Fayre Four Sisters—Inga, Tina, Sylvia, and Lillian Webb—took to the stage,10 would there be another all-sister concertina ensemble of the same high caliber as the Lachenal sisters.

The years from 1869 to the early 1880s were devoted to the Debenham children, which left little time for the concertina even in the parlor. Yet the later resurgence of Marie’s career suggests that she at least found time to maintain (possibly even add to) her technique with regular or occasional practice and through teaching both her own children and perhaps other pupils as well. If Marie performed outside the home at all, it was probably at small, fairly informal venues, somewhat akin to the charity concerts of the mid-1860s. Perhaps an exception to this was an occasional appearance at the series of concerts that Richard Blagrove liked to organize in connection with his Concertina Fund, these sometimes requiring forces of up to eight concertinas.11

We can catch a glimpse of the day-to-day stress of Marie’s life from an extract drawn from a family diary (now in the possession of the Debenham family) and dating from 1876:

Marie, pregnant with her 5th child, had joined Edwin in Weymouth where he was establishing a new business. In February [1876]. . .he took time to visit his favourite brother Arthur, in Ryde, where he worked by lamplight each evening, painting an opal picture which would be sent as a specimen. About ten days after he left the Isle of Wight, Marie sent a note to her brother-in-law requesting he come immediately to visit his brother Edwin, who had been stricken with a condition known as erysipelas [known as ‘St. Anthony’s Fire’, a viral infection]. Arthur left Ryde by train and within hours found his special brother in a delirious state with a fever ranging from gentleness in lucid intervals to raging at its height. This was an extremely anxious time for Marie as her sister Eugenie was in another room confined with scarlet fever. Finally Elizabeth Lachenal arrived from London with another brother of Edwin’s to assist.

Edwin took months to regain his strength, and, within a few months, Marie gave birth to Frederick (Albert Debenham’s father), in Weymouth, on 23 April 1876.12

In 1885, Marie reappeared among the ranks of leading concertinists. The occasion was the International Inventions Exhibition in London, which brought out the flock of high-profile concertinists from the ‘stables’ of both Wheatstone and Lachenal. The concertina activities at the Exhibition were recorded as follows:

At the Inventions Exhibition Messrs. Wheatstones’ Recitals by Mr. G. [sic!] Blagrove, Mr. J.C. Ward, and the Messrs. Chidley, were greatly admired, and the Quartettes which were played on the Treble, Tenor, and Bass Concertinas showed the beautiful effect of concerted music, when performed on the Concertinas, and by competent musicians. The solos were also artistically rendered. Again, there were the Recitals by Mr. James Alsepti, Mr. Henry Roe, Mr. George Roe, and Madame Debenham, under the direction of Messrs. Lachenal and Co., and various solos (some of them comprising the most difficult music) being accomplished on this instrument in a manner that would take a good Violinist to excel.13

That Marie must have held her own in the midst of this all-star cast is evidenced by the following review:

A concert given to prove the pure and brilliant quality of the Lachenal concertina afforded much gratification to the large audiences in the music-room of the International Inventions Exhibition last Tuesday evening. . .Marie Lachenal . . .played fantasias from Gounod, Rossini, and Meyerbeer, with consumate [sic] ease, and was deservedly applauded.14

We can see what Marie looked like at this time from a full-length portrait showing her with concertina in hand; the portrait was made by husband Edwin at the Debenham studio just around the time of the Exhibition (Fig. 1).

Fig. 1. Marie Lachenal with concertina (photograph by Edwin A. Debenham, Debenham & Co., York, c. 1885; reproduced courtesy of the Debenham family). (Leeds Mercury)

The positive response to her performance just a few years after the birth of her last child, Elsie Linda, in 1882, must have provided a psychological boost. And Marie began to look forward to a ‘second’ full-fledged career as a concertinist. In the next two decades, she earned acclaim from audiences from Huddersfield and Leeds in the north to Southampton and Torquay in the south, all the while continuing to take on concertina pupils.
Around the turn of the century, Marie reinforced her efforts to promote her career by having an ‘announcement’ printed that advertised her availability as both performer and teacher (see Fig. 2), and followed that with a number of choice excerpts from reviews that she had clipped from the press, a selection from which follows.15

Fig. 2. Marie’s ‘announcement’, c. 1900
(reproduced courtesy of the Debenham family).

Mme. Marie Lachenal performed R. Blagrove’s concertina solo ‘Scottish Airs’ in a manner which delighted the audience, who insisted on its repetition. (Southampton Times)

Winter Garden Concerts—Foremost amongst those on Monday evening was Mme. Lachenal, whose solos ‘Les Huegenots’ [sic], ‘Le Prophéte,’ and ‘Fantasia on airs from Faust,’ again proved her thorough acquaintance with the concertina, and the applause with which she was greeted shewed that this lady has won her way to popular favor. (Torquay Times)16

Mme Lachenal again sustained the reputation she has gained on more than one occasion for the masterly way in which she handles the English concertina, and her ‘Scotch Airs’ were loudly applauded. (Devon County Standard)17

Mme. Lachenal showed herself to be a very facile and correct executant, and an accomplished artiste in her style of playing, her accent and phrasing being particularly good, and her ability in bringing out the dramatic side of the music was really remarkable. Indeed, she showed what a wonderful variety of tone and expressiveness can be obtained from the instrument by a good player. (Huddersfield Examiner)

Leeds Coliseum Saturday Concerts—The feature of the performance was the rendering of a couple of concertina solos by Mme. Lachenal, of Huddersfield, in such a manner as to win the hearty applause of the audience. Her fingering of the instrument was perfect. She is the best performer of the kind we have heard for some time. (Leeds Daily News)18

Leeds Coliseum Saturday Concerts—A novelty in the evening’s entertainment, and one which will bear repeating was a concertina solo by Mme. Marie Lachenal, who succeeded in drawing music from the instrument which few would have given it credit for possessing.

Dating from the turn of the century is another portrait of Marie with her concertina (Fig. 3). Produced by husband Edwin, it roughly coincided with Marie’s announcement of her continuing availability for performances and teaching.

Fig. 3. Marie Lachenal with concertina (photograph by Edwin A. Debenham, Debenham Studios, Gloucester, c. 1900; reproduced courtesy of the Debenham family).

III. The Musical Repertory: Thanks to the many references to specific pieces in the announcements and reviews of her concerts in the 1860s and in the 1880s through the turn of the century, we can form a fairly good picture of Marie’s repertory. The Appendix lists all the pieces culled from those announcements and reviews.

IV. The Lachenal and Debenham Families: Marie Lachenal was born on 13 August 1848 in the family home at 26 King Street (now part of Shaftesbury Avenue),19 London, and was christened on 11 February 1849 at St. Anne’s, Soho, London. She was the first of nine children born to Louis (1821-1861) and Elizabeth Lachenal (1825-1904), born Jeanne (or Françoise) Marie Elisabeth Irion.20 Louis and Elizabeth married on 3 November 1847, probably in Elizabeth’s hometown of Ferney Voltaire (France), but possibly across the border in Geneva (given that Louis was Swiss-born). They departed for London shortly thereafter, arriving there on 10 November 1847. (Louis had originally settled in England in December 1839.)

The Lachenals’ eight other children were: Jane Elizabeth (23 July 1849 – 2 March 1883), who adopted the stage name Eugenie; Josephine (b. 28 January 1851), the third of the concertina-playing sisters; Louis Jules (b. 16 May 1853); Constance (b. 19 August 1855); François Edouard (b. 27 July 1856), Marie Louise (b. c. 25 October 1857); Alice (b. 27 November 1859); and Alexander (b. 17 October 1861). Louis Lachenal died on 18 December 1861, just three years after beginning to market concertinas under his own name (rather than wholesaling to Wheatstone) and moving his operations to 8, Little James Street, Bedford Row, London, WC, along which street Lachenal concertinas would be manufactured for the next seventy-some-odd years.21

After Louis’ death, Elizabeth managed the firm until 1873, at which time she sold the business to a group of Lachenal employees, who changed the name to Lachenal & Co.22 Elizabeth then spent three decades in retirement, and died on 10 September 1904 in the home of daughter Marie Louise Waddell in Stout Green, North London.

To return to Marie: by 1867 she had met and fallen in love with Edwin Alfred Debenham, who, having a fine voice, was also something of a performer, and often sang at public concerts. Marie and Edwin married on 7 April 1868 in St. Peter’s Church, Regent Square, London. Edwin was born on 7 June 1844 in Bury St. Edmonds, Suffolk, where the Debenham family was long established and well known.23 He was the seventh of eight children born to Samuel and Salome Debenham (born Warren). Recognizing the opportunities stemming from the recent advances in photography and with something of an artistic flair of his own, Samuel Debenham had moved his family to London in 1846 to pursue a career as a photographer. By 1860, he was well established with his own studios, having learned much about the new art form, which he then taught to his sons.
By 1862, Edwin and younger brother Arthur were working for their older brother, William Elliott Debenham (age twenty-three), who had already set up a successful studio at 158 Regent Street, London. In 1867, Edwin and Arthur formed a partnership and set up a studio of their own in Ryde, Island of Wight. Within a year, though, Arthur had married, and Edwin agreed to withdraw from the partnership, though not without a cash settlement. The Isle of Wight became the center of Arthur’s business and an opportune site for advancing the Debenham slogan of ‘Photographer to Royalty’. Indeed, Arthur was a favorite photographer of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra when they resided at Osborne House, their summer home, or went sailing on the royal yacht ‘Victoria’.24 In addition, Arthur produced a family portrait of Tsar Nicholas II and Tsarina Alexandria, taken during the Russian royal family’s last visit to England in 1910.

Edwin’s older brother, William Elliott, preferred to operate mainly from his Regent Street studio, which was an ideal location for attracting such high-profile clients as members of the royal family, prime ministers, poets, and artists. Edwin chose a decentralized approach, expanding his operation around England, especially (but not exclusively) along the southern coast. Among his locations: the early studio in Reigate, Surrey, as well as E. Debenham (later Debenham & Gould), Glen View Studios in Bournemouth,25 E. Debenham (later Debenham & Smith) in Southampton, E. Debenham’s ‘Royal Portraits Studio’ in Weymouth, Debenham & Co. in York, and the Debenham studios in Torquay and Gloucester. The Debenham studios also reached north to Edinburgh, where Edwin had a studio that would later belong to his son and namesake, Edwin Holford Debenham (c. 1872-1936).26

A number of calling cards and cabinet cards produced at the studios of Edwin, his brothers, and their sons may still be found among collectors.27 A particular passion of Edwin Debenham was the pleasure of photographing Marie and his children. In addition to portraits of Marie with her concertina (see Figures 1 and 3), Edwin produced a cameo-mount portrait of her at age seventy. Shown in Figure 4, it dates from 1919.
In 1869, with Marie at his side, Edwin opened his studio in Reigate, Surrey. At the same time, the family began to grow with the arrival of their first child, Lucy Alice. Their first son, Arthur Jules, was born in late 1870, and seven more children arrived during the next twelve years: Edwin Holford (c. 1872-1936), Leonard (b. 1874),28 Frederick William (1876-1956),29 Philip Eugene (b. c. 1877), Leonard Coleman (b. c. 1879), Josephine (b. 1880), and Elsie Linda (1882-1967), their places of birth seemingly following the path of Debenham studios across England.

Fig. 4. Marie Lachenal (photograph by Edwin A. Debenham, Debenham Studios, 1919; reproduced courtesy of the Debenham family).

The 1871 census shows that Marie and Edwin’s residence was in Reigate. A decade later, the family was located in Holford, Holdenhurst, near Bournemouth, whereas the 1891 census has the family at 24 Newton Lane, Castlegate District, York, and records Edwin and Marie as ‘Photographer[s]’. The 1901 census places Marie, Edwin, and three of the children in Gloucester; by 1920, Marie and Edwin were residing in Nottingham.

Though Marie taught the concertina to some of the children, none of them followed her as a profession concertinist. Nonetheless, the 1901 census records both Josephine (then age twenty) and Elsie Linda (age eighteen) as ‘Musical student[s]’, with Josephine eventually having a career as a music teacher.

Finally, retirement took Edwin and Marie to Darlington, in northern England (a few miles south of Durham). This was a time for Edwin, patriarch of a family with deep religious convictions, to direct his energies to the church, where he was a lay reader. Edwin died on 21 February 1925 at their home on Northgate Street; and after a widowhood of twelve years, Marie Lachenal died on 29 May 1937, at age 88. She was buried on 1 June in the Darlington East Cemetery, Geneva Road, Darlington.


Marie Lachenal’s Repertory

What follows is a list of pieces that constitute at least part of Marie Lachenal’s repertory as these may be culled from the Islington Times review of her 1865 concert, the announcements and reviews of the 1865/66 Edinburgh concerts that appeared in The Scotsman, and the reviews that appeared in various newspapers of the concerts that Marie gave in the 1880s and later. The great majority of works—both for concertina with piano and for concertina ensembles—belong to the almost-proverbial ‘Fantasia on. . .’ genre, that is, settings of well-known songs and popular opera arias of the day that were intended to display the performer’s virtuosity. In some instances, it is not possible to identify the composer with certainty, as more than one concertinist-composer/arranger drew on the same ‘common stock’ of materials. We have, therefore, attributed pieces as follows: (1) when the composer is named in either an announcement or a review, his name is indicated together with an asterisk; (2) when a title can be assigned to more than one composer (that is, more than one composer wrote a piece with the same title, based on the British Library’s online catalogue or Wheatstone’s Catalogue of Music for the English Concertina or Aeola, c. 1919), we have favored the piece by Blagrove (as long as it is known to date from before the concert in question) on the grounds of his close relationship with Marie Lachenal. Publication dates follow those in the British Library online catalogue <>. Finally, the list is organized by type of ensemble.

A. Treble concertina and pianoforte

Concertante Duet on Airs from ‘Le Domino’, ‘Fra Diavolo’, and ‘Masaniello’, Blagrove and Sydney Smith* (n.d.)
Duet on Airs from Herold’s ‘Zampa’, Blagrove (1862)
Fantasia on Airs from Donizetti’s Opera ‘Linda di Chamounix’, Blagrove (1848)
Fantasia on Airs from Gounod’s [Opera] ‘Faust’, Blagrove* (1863)
Fantasia on Airs from Meyerbeer’s Opera ‘Le Prophéte’, Blagrove (1851)
Fantasia on Airs from Meyerbeer’s Opera ‘Les Huguenots’, Blagrove (1851)
Fantasia on Airs from Rossini’s Opera ‘Guillaume Tell’, Blagrove (1855)
Fantasia on Airs from Schira’s Opera ‘Niccolò di Lapi’, Blagrove (1863)
Fantasia on Airs from Verdi’s Opera ‘Il Trovatore’, Blagrove (1856)
Fantasia on English Airs, Blagrove (no copy in the British Library)
Fantasia on Scottish Airs, Blagrove (1854)
Fantasia on ‘Souvenir de Donizetti’, Blagrove (1867)
Serenade, Regondi* (1859)30

B. Concertina ensembles

Invitation à la Danse, probably based on the famous piece by Carl Maria von Weber (two trebles, tenor, and bass)
Mozart, Quartet in F major [K. 590] (two trebles, tenor, and bass)
Quartet on Airs from [Donizetti’s]‘L’Elisir d’Amore’, George Case* (two trebles, tenor, and bass)
Quartet on English Airs, George Case* (two trebles, tenor, and bass)
Selections from Meyerbeer’s Opera ‘Les Huguenots’, Blagrove (treble and tenor)
Selections from Rossini’s Opera ‘Il Barbiere di Siviglia’, (two trebles, tenor, and bass)
Selections from Rossini’s Opera ‘Guillaume Tell’, Blagrove (treble and tenor)
Themes from [Rossini’s] ‘Semiramide’, [Bellini’s] Sonnambula’, and [Donizetti’s] ‘Lucrezia Borgia’ (two trebles, tenor, and bass)
Trio on Scotch Airs, George Case* (treble, baritone, and bass; or two trebles and bass)
Trio on Irish Airs, George Case* (two trebles and bass)

C. Treble concertina and strings

Beethoven, Serenade (likely that in D major, Op. 8, 1797, with viola and cello)
English Airs (with violin, viola, and cello)
Mayseder, Duet No. 1, (with violin)
Mozart, Quartet, No. 23 [in F major, K. 590] (with violin, viola, and cello)


1. We appreciate the comments of Chris Algar, Richard Carlin, Stephen Chambers, Geoffrey Crabb, Robert Gaskins, Douglas Rogers, Neil Wayne, Wes Williams, and the editor of PICA. Stephen Chambers’s contribution to the documentation of Lachenal and Debenham genealogy deserves a special note of thanks.

2. On the firm of Lachenal, see the two important articles by Stephen Chambers: ‘Louis Lachenal: “Engineer and Concertina Manufacturer”, Part I’, The Free-Reed Journal, 1 (1999), 7-18; ‘Some Notes on Lachenal Concertina Production and Serial Numbers’, Papers of the International Concertina Association, 1 (2004), 3-23.

3. Both venue and date are identified in a review printed in The Musical Times, xii/269 (1 July 1865), 101; the review goes on to say: ‘The effect [of the concertina quintet] was exceedingly good; and the adaptability of the instruments to the execution of orchestral music was most successfully shown’.

4. On Blagrove’s concertina-related activities (he was also a violist in the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and taught that instrument at the Royal Academy of Music), see Allan W. Atlas, The Wheatstone English Concertina in Victorian England, especially Chapters 4-6; on the Blagrove family of musicians, see The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 2nd ed., ed. Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell (London: Macmillan, 2001), iii, 670-71. In later years, Marie described herself as a ‘favourite student of Richard Blagrove’. A Richard Blagrove photograph in the form of a calling card was produced by the studio of Debenham & Gabell, 158 Regent Street, London; see <>.

The bibliography on Regondi (1822/23-1872) has grown rapidly in recent years: to cite only those items that are entirely or mainly concertina-related (he was also a virtuoso guitarist): Douglas Rogers, ‘Giulio Regondi: Guitarist, Concertinist, or Melaphonist? A Reconnaissance’, The Guitar Review, 91 (Fall 1992), 1-9; 92 (Winter 1993), 14-21; 97 (Spring 1994), 11-17; Tom Lawrence, ‘Giulio Regondi and the Concertina in Ireland’, Concertina World: International Concertina Association Newsletter, 411 (July 1998), 21-25 (online at <http:// www.ucd.le/pages/99/articles/Lawrence.pdf>); Atlas, The Wheatstone English Concertina, 48-54; ‘Collins, Count Fosco, and the Concertina’, Wilkie Collins Society Journal, new ser., 2 (1999), 56-60; ‘Giulio Regondi: Two Newly Discovered Letters’, The Free-Reed Journal, 4 (2002), 70-84 (the latter two articles online at <>); Helmut C. Jacobs, Der junge Guitarren- und Concertinavirtuose Giulio Regondi: Eine kritische Dokumentation seiner Konzertreise durch Europa, 1840 und 1841 (Bochum: Augemus, 2001); two forthcoming articles: Atlas, ‘A 41-Cent Emendation: A Textual Problem in Wheatstone’s Publication of Giulio Regondi’s Serenade for English Concertina and Pianoforte’, to appear in the journal Early Music (2005),33/4; Alessandro Boris Amisich, ‘Where was Regondi Born?’, to appear in Papers of the International Concertina Association, 3 (2006).

5. Our attempts to find a copy of this newspaper have come up short. We therefore quote the review as it appears in William Cawdell, A Short Account of the English Concertina by an Amateur: Its Uses and Capabilities, Faculty of Acquirement, and Other Advantages (London: W. Cawdell, 1865; reprinted with new title page, 1866), 15 (both versions online at <>).

6. Already a widow, Ellen (born c. 1816) is listed as living in Richard Blagrove’s household along with her three sons in the 1861 census.

7. See Cawdell, A Short Account, 22. The letter, signed ‘TREMELO-NON-TROPPO’, was almost certainly written by Cawdell himself. George Tinkler Case (1823-1892) was a violinist (in the Covent Garden Opera Orchestra), pianist, and concertinist, who turned out a voluminous amount of music for the concertina; see Atlas, The Wheatstone English Concertina, Chapters 4-5.

8. On the George Street Music Hall and the performances held there, see Robert Gaskins, ‘The Lachenal Sisters Visit Edinburgh, 1865-1866’, at <>, which includes all the notices from The Scotsman cited below (and more).

9. On the day of the concert, The Scotsman focused on the following highlight: ‘The programme for to-night contains a novelty—viz., the performance of a movement from Mozart’s Quartett in F major, played on four concertinas. The artistes are the Mdlles. Lachenal, of London celebrity, and Mr. Bridgman’. There are three possibilities for the quartet in question: K. 138 (1772), which Mozart called a Divertimento, the equally early K. 168 (1772/73) or, most likely, the late K. 590 (1790), one of the so-called ‘Prussian’ quartets (our thanks to Allan Atlas for this information). On Bridgman, who was noted as a child prodigy and enjoyed a successful career as a teacher in Edinburgh, see James D. Brown and Stephen S. Stratton, British Musical Biography: A Dictionary of Musical Artists, Authors and Composers Born in Britain and Its Colonies (London: Reeves, 1897; reprint: New York: Da Capo Press, 1971), 61.

10. On the Webbs, see Richard Carlin, ‘The Fayre Four Sisters’, The Free-Reed Journal, 3 (2001), 79-88.

11. See Atlas, The Wheatstone English Concertina, 67-68; it was for one of these concerts that the Dutch-born composer Edouard Silas wrote his now-lost Adagio in E for eight concertinas.

12. The late Albert Debenham was the husband of Faye Debenham, co-author of this article.

13. John Hill Maccann, The Concertinist’s Guide (London: Howard, 1888), 3-4 (online at <http://>). The initial ‘G.’ before Blagrove’s name should probably be ‘R.’ Maccann likely refers to Marie as ‘Madame Debenham’ because of the lengthy period that had elapsed since Marie had performed under her own name. On John Charles Ward, see Atlas, The Wheatstone English Concertina, passim; Alsepti is treated in some detail in Atlas, ‘Signor Alsepti and “Regondi’s Golden Exercise”’, Concertina World: Newsletter of the International Concertina Association, No. 426, supplement (July 2003); on the brothers Roe, see Atlas, ‘The Victorian Concertina: Some Issues of Performance Practice’, forthcoming in The Nineteenth-Century Music Review; finally, the Chidleys took over the firm of Wheatstone & Co. c. 1870 (see Chambers, ‘Some Notes on Lachenal Concertina Production’, 20, n. 18).

14. Illustrated London News, 1885. (We have not been able to determine the exact date of this review, which was preserved as a press clipping by Marie herself.)

15. Though Marie identified the newspapers from which the clippings were cut, she did not provide dates, which have yet to be determined.

16. The Winter Garden in Torquay, an iron and glass structure located behind the post office on Brandons Hill, was built in 1881 with about a 3,000-seat capacity. The structure was relocated to Wellington Pier in Great Yarmouth in 1904.

17. The Devon County Standard, founded on 1 April 1882, changed its name to the Torquay Observer and District News after 29 April 1898, which is therefore the terminus ante quem for the review; see ‘Devon Newspaper Bibliography’ at <>.

18. Opened by the Prince and Princess of Wales in July 1885, the 3,000-seat Coliseum Theatre became Leeds’ first full-time cinema in 1905.

19. This was a busy year for the Lachenal family, as it was in 1848 that Louis began large-scale production of concertinas to be sold by Wheatstone’s.

20. She changed her name from Jeanne to Françoise on the birth certificates of her children. In his last will and testament, dated 8 May 1856, Louis referred to his ‘dear wife Françoise Marie Elizabeth Lachenal’ (Chambers, ‘Some Notes on Lachenal Concertina Production’, n. 12). After her husband’s death (or even possibly before it), she became known as ‘Elizabeth’ (altering the French ‘Elisabeth’).

21. See Chambers, ‘Louis Lachenal’, 16.

22. See Chambers, ‘Some Notes on Lachenal Concertina Production’, 8-9.

23. In fact, there is a town called Debenham in Suffolk.

24. Arthur’s studios on the Isle of Wight included those at Arcade and 28 Union Street in Ryde and a studio in Cowes. Arthur (later Debenham & Sons) also had studios in Brighton, Newport, Sandown, and Seaview.

25. The most famous client of Debenham & Gould at the Glen View Studios may have been Oscar Wilde, who posed for the photographers in 1887. Two photographs from that session are owned by the Clark Library at the University of California, Los Angeles.

26. The Debenham studios had various ownership and operating structures: sole ownership and management by a Debenham brother or nephew; partnership with a brother, son, or unrelated party; and studio sub-contracting under a lease or franchise-type arrangement. Competition was strong, but the demand for portrait photography kept pace with—and even outpaced—the proliferation of studios. During the period of Edwin and his brothers, the popularity and affordability of studio photography filtered down from royalty and celebrities to the upper and middle classes, and finally to the more prosperous members of the working class. Most upscale Victorian parlors had wedding and other large portraits, and collecting small cardboard-backed portraits—calling cards (2½” x 3½ prints) and cabinet cards (about 4” x 5”)—was all the rage from the royals on down. The popularity of the studios would only wane with the rise of amateur photography and the advent of George Eastman and the Kodak.

27. The Roger Vaughan Collection of images of calling cards, some made at the Debenham studios and some two thousand others produced at several hundred other Victorian studios, appears online at <>. Many original photographs by the Debenhams are preserved in museum collections in England and elsewhere.

28. He died on 15 July 1874, just fifteen days old.

29. Frederick William, father of Faye Debenham’s late husband, was born on 23 April 1876 in Weymouth, Dorset. He and Margaret Pottar Guthrie-Russell were married in Alberta, Canada, on 19 April 1916. He died 16 May 1956 in Vancouver, British Columbia.

30. There is a recording of the piece by Douglas Rogers, English concertina, and Julie Lustman, piano, on The Great Regondi: Original Compositions by the 19th Century’s Unparalleled Guitarist and Concertinist, The Regondi Guild, Bridge Records BCB 9039 (1993). For a discussion of a textual problem in the Serenade, see Atlas, ‘A 41-Cent Emendation’ (see note 4).

Frank Butler: An Interview


Frank Butler (Fig. 1) will hardly need an introduction to concertinists: he was one of the twentieth century’s finest players of the English concertina, with a career as a performer that spanned the 1920s-1940s; he was one of the most important teachers of the instrument, which he taught for several decades in London’s schools for adult-education; beginning in the 1950s, he was a driving force in—and one of the founding members of—the International Concertina Association, to which he devoted himself with his usual energy; and he was even a historian of the instrument, having contributed an informative article on the behind-the-scenes business of concertina manufacturing in the nineteenth century. 1 In addition, Butler touched many concertinists with whom he never came into personal contact through his fine tutor for the instrument, The Concertina,2 which not only offers a comprehensive method for playing the instrument, but provides a primer on the basic elements of music theory, and thus reflects Butler’s strongly held belief that concertinists should be good, well-rounded musicians.

What follows is based on an interview that I conducted with Frank Butler in January 1975.3

Frank E. Butler was born in March 1904, 4 the youngest of three children. His formal education came to an end when he was fourteen, at which time he was apprenticed to a wholesale drapers for two-and-a-half years. He then spent the remainder of his working life in the employ of a publisher that specialized in school textbooks, rising from book packer to the important post of advisor on educational publishing. Frank began his musical career as a pianist:

My mother made efforts to teach me the piano, not very successfully because she belonged to the ‘spare the rod and spoil the child’ fraternity, and therefore she was quite harsh in her teaching. But when I was sixteen-and-a-half, I suddenly took to it on my own account, except that if my mother walked in to play, I walked out. I wasn’t having the risk of another cuff!

Frank taught himself to play the piano and read music by using the Trinity College of Music examinations for the piano as a guide. Before long, he was touring as a pianist with a ‘concert party’, that is, a group of musicians who normally joined forces with a comedian, singer, and Master of Ceremonies to perform at local clubs. Most of the members of the party were employed in regular day jobs, and used their party performances in order to earn a bit of extra money on the side.

Frank’s interest in the concertina was inspired by the memory of his grandfather, the well-known concertina manufacturer George Jones: 5

My grandfather, George Jones, was a manufacturer of concertinas. I can’t tell you from memory when he started in the business; I think he gave up around 1910. He started as an out-worker for Wheatstone’s. He joined with another outworker of Wheatstone’s [Jabez Austin] in some sort of partnership. . .My grandfather [joined Austin] at the age of twenty, as manager, which was a pretty hectic rise for those days, and [within a year, Austin] had drunk himself to death. So my grandfather found himself in possession of quite a good-sized music business…

Two of Jones’s students would play a crucial role in Butler’s career: Arthur and Joseph Webb. Better known as the ‘Brothers Webb’ (Arthur as Root-Toot, or Ruté, as it was sometimes spelled, Joseph as Jo-Jo), they were among the most popular musical circus clowns of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and also played the music halls and clubs that were, at the time, ubiquitous throughout England. And in addition to their fiddle, musical saw, and drum (not to mention their feats of acrobatics, juggling, and comic skits), the brothers played concertinas in the course of their act. Moreover, since the circuses of the period offered Sunday concerts of semi-classical music, the brothers had an opportunity to show off their concertina-playing skills, Arthur on the treble, Joseph on the baritone. 6 It was the Webb brothers who encouraged Frank to take up the concertina in the late 1920s, when Frank was twenty-five years old:

The brothers Webb said, ‘What an appalling thing it is that Frank, the only one of the Jones brood that seems to have gone truly musical, doesn’t play a concertina’. My grandfather, of course, was dead. My grandmother had two of his instruments, not very good ones, so the brothers Webb lent me a treble English ‘tina; and, in all honesty, I can say that within six weeks I was using it on the stage; I was playing Dvoøák’s ‘Humoresque’ and Beethoven’s ‘Minuet in G’, and they remained my stock solos for three months…

At that time, light-classics such as those mentioned by Frank, along with selections from operas, marches by Sousa, and popular songs of the day were the meat-and-potatoes of the concertinist’s repertory. This was the music that people wanted to hear in the music halls, and this was what the professionals played.

Frank used the concertina as a ‘novelty’ to perform one or two solos as part of the concert party. And though Frank never became, in his words, ‘a full-time, professional “artiste’’’, he was able to find a good deal of work, since opportunities for semi-professional performers at this time were numerous:

A lot of churches used to run regular concerts. There wasn’t the radio or television…the clubs, the working-men’s clubs, and so forth, were all in existence and all had regular concerts. I don’t know that they have the same now; I believe they switch the television on and leave it at that. Several cinemas were not allowed to open on Sundays unless it was a ‘concert’. So by some weird logic, if you put on two films and a short program of music in between, it became a ‘concert’. And that was legal! With some concerts, it was lethal, I should think! That provided us with Sunday night jobs, and some of them were very well paid. This work was not limited to London, and we used to go far afield for those days: Folkestone, Cambridge, Bedford, Luton. . .it meant, very often, not getting home until 2:00 in the morning, which will tell you why I didn’t want to do any more than three a week.

In the early years of the Depression, Frank’s concert party broke up, and he began to tour as a solo artist. He limited his solo work to the concertina, and he soon had well over thirty numbers under his fingers. Yet Frank found performing unrewarding:

I went on to working solo turns, and my heart really wasn’t in it. The people wanted popular choruses, and they wanted ‘ditties’ that they could sing, and I got no pleasure out of playing the concertina while eight hundred to a thousand people bawled choruses at me. . .I had some thirty numbers in my repertory then, which I knew from memory, and I knew [them] so well that I could carry on a conversation at the same time I was playing them. I always had a selection going of the popular songs of the day. Funny enough, the only ones that comes to mind immediately [are] ‘If I Had A Talking Picture of You’ and ‘Sonny Boy’, that sort of thing. I also had several selections of old music hall choruses; these would always go down well, particularly in the clubs. Truthfully, I didn’t like playing them, but this was your only way to get encores. In the end, I didn’t care whether I got an encore or not; that’s why I gave up.

Frank put away his concertina until after the Second World War. In the meantime, his wife had encouraged him to take up the piano again, which, as it turned out, led him to playing classical music on the concertina. In 1953, the grandly named International Concertina Association—really at first just a London-based group of players—was formed. Frank attended his first meeting a year later, and became the Association’s secretary in 1955, editing the ICA Newsletter from 1956 to 1967. Frank also organized the ICA’s first festival, which subsequently developed into a yearly competition aimed at encouraging young players to take up the instrument. Finally, he began teaching group classes at various London-area ‘Institutes’ (schools run by the individual boroughs and devoted to adult-education), which he would continue to do through the late 1970s:

Harry Minting [the last manager of the Wheatstone firm, and a concertina player and teacher active in London for many decades] started this school [in the early 1950s]… He recruited so many students it became a little bit of a problem, and he engaged me to take his beginners’ classes. He had two classes. And this really got me deep into teaching. I’d only done it in a desultory fashion up to then. I decided immediately that there was nothing published that met my requirements, [so] I wrote the exercises myself, and that, in 1955, was the beginning of the Butler tutor… Minting after a time transferred his club to the Holloway Institute, where I teach now [1975]. Minting himself became ill, and I stepped in as his substitute, his deputy, and was quite happy over it. . .And [when, in 1959,] Minting… decided to give that up entirely… [he] asked me if I would like to take the class. And I took this class over from him, really, on a few hours notice. And I’m now in my sixteenth year of it.

One year before that [thus in 1958], Battersea Institute started a class of concertina playing at the request of an old gentleman in the borough who asked the principal if he could have a class. And the principal said, ‘If you can get sufficient students, yes’. The old gent advertised in all the local papers, put little notices in the local shops, and he recruited a class. The principal of Battersea Institute engaged me as the teacher. So there I was with Battersea Institute, substituting for Minting at Holloway, and then [after Minting left] I found myself with Holloway Institute as well. And from that moment, for many years I reigned supreme as the only accredited teacher of the English concertina, with two of London’s Institutes to work in.

Butler soon discovered that many of his students could not read music, so he designed a course of study that would teach the basics of reading music while it developed exercises that would help students understand the unique layout of the English concertina’s keyboard. Like the Trinity method with which he had taught himself, Frank’s method was based on taking the students from elementary scales and exercises to the most difficult classical music. He also drew on his experiences developing textbook material for beginning readers. Butler’s method was based on constantly challenging the student with a wide variety of graded material:

To me, the most important thing in playing is sight-reading. When you’re teaching an infant at school to read, you don’t give him one book, and let him read that until he can read it perfectly. [Better to have him] read something different every time he opens a book. You get some repetition, but on the whole, the child’s reading capacity is being expanded the whole time.

And I work very much the same [way] with music. I’m very anxious to get these pupils to the stage where they can read music as fluently as you or I read a newspaper or a novel. As in reading [a] text, you start off with a small vocabulary and gradually expand it, so with music you start off with one note and expand it until you’ve got twelve different pitches and four different variations of duration. And when you’ve acquired that much, you’ve already opened an enormous field to explore, because all of your simple folk or traditional tunes lay within your grasp. I aim that within two years the concertina player will be a fluent reader and have considerable dexterity in playing. A brilliant pupil will go through my course in eight months; I shouldn’t think I’ve seen this more than about three times in fifteen years, but it’s done.

Sadly, by the early 1970s, Butler’s eyesight was failing, and he had to wait several years to get the operation that he needed through Britain’s National Health system. Still, he continued to teach through the early 1980s. Fortunately, the concertina revival of the mid-1970s—based mainly in England—brought him to the attention of a new generation of players, and with the publication of his instruction book, his method of teaching spread widely and quickly. Although Butler was himself primarily interested in the ‘classics’, he was whole-heartedly sympathetic to all styles of music, and his teaching gave students a strong foundation for playing in any style they wished.

Honored and admired by all who knew him, Frank Butler—a gentle man with a wonderful sense of humor—passed away on 21 February 1992.7


1. See ‘Concertinas in the Commercial Road: The Story of George Jones’, Concertina & Squeezebox, 20 (1989), 5-14; Jones was Butler’s maternal grandfather.

Photo of Frank Butler

2. Frank Butler, The Concertina: A Handbook and Tutor for Beginners on the English Concertina (Duffield: The Free Reed Press, 1974/reprint: New York: Oak Publications, 1976); another of Butler’s pedagogical publications was Concertina Two (n.p.: Frank Butler, 1983), with a supplement titled Arranging Music for the English Concertina, with an Introduction to Harmony; there is a review of the 1983 publication in Concertina Magazine, 7 (1984), 18-19; see Randall C. Merris, ‘Instruction Manuals for the English, Anglo, and Duet Concertina: An Annotated Bibliography’, The Free-Reed Journal, 4 (2002), 90 (Merris’s valuable inventory of concertina tutors is also available online:

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3. The interview was conducted as part of a research project on the concertina that I was able to carry out thanks to a Youth Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Eventually, Butler wrote about me in a short note titled ‘Richard Carlin Revisited’, Concertina & Squeezebox, 20 (1989), 21. In addition to Frank Butler, I interviewed Harry Minting, Harry Crabb, Arthur Austin, and the sisters Inga, Tina, Sylvia, and Lillian Webb, known as the Fayre Four Sisters, who were the daughters of the concertina-playing Joseph Webb (about whom see below); I reported on my interview with the Webb sisters in ‘The Fayre Four Sisters: Concertina Virtuosi’, The Free-Reed Journal, 3 (2000), 79-88.

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4. There has been some confusion about the year. Although 1904 is the year cited both by Butler himself in the interview and Alex Richards in ‘The Frank Butler Story’, Concertina Magazine, 9 (Winter 1989), 20, the obituary in Concertina & Squeezebox, 27 (1992), 4-5, gives the year as 1903. My thanks to Stephen Chambers for calling Richards’s article to my attention and to Jon McNamara for providing me with a copy.

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5. Jones (1832-1918) is usually credited with having expanded the scale of the Anglo-German concertina from its original 20-button, diatonic format to a fully chromatic, 30-, 36-, or 40-button instrument; he also manufactured English concertinas, and designed a portable harmonium that was a commercial success. Jones himself played the concertina in the music halls, and was influential as a teacher of the instrument; on Jones, see Butler, ‘Concertinas in the Commercial Road’; Neil Wayne, ‘Concertina Book-Final Edit’, online at unpublished manuscript, 58-65 (a copy in the Wayne Archive, Horniman Museum, London); Stephen Chambers, ‘Louis Lachenal: “Engineer and Concertina Manufac-turer” (Pt. 1)’, The Free-Reed Journal, 1 (1999), 7-8; Jones’s own ‘Memoir’ appears (heavily edited by Frank Butler and Neil Wayne) as ‘The Concertina in Victorian Times: An Echo from the Past—Recollections of the English Concertina Trade by George Jones’, Free Reed: The Concertina Newsletter, 16 (1973), 14-20.

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6. Further on the Brothers Webb, see Frank Butler, ‘The Webb Brothers: A Memorial’, Concertina & Squeezebox, 18-19 (1989), 11-14; Carlin, ‘The Fayre Four Sisters’, 79-82.

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7. There is an eloquent obituary by Joel Cowan in Concertina & Squeezebox (see note 3); although the ICA Newsletter did not run a formal obituary, No. 385 (May/June 1992), 3, contains some letters of tribute (my thanks to Wes Williams for this information).

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Fig 1. Frank Butler and Eileen Jones in Frank’s garden, 1991

Some Notes on Lachenal Concertina Production and Serial Numbers


Concertinas of a new—and revolutionary—‘mass produced’ model,2 manufactured for C. Wheatstone & Co. by Louis Lachenal, started to be sold in, or shortly after, April 1848.3 The first instruments have numbers in the 1500s series, the earliest example that I know of being number 1563 in my own collection (see Fig. 1). Unfortunately the Wheatstone ‘Red Book’4 ledger for the period 6th April 1848–31st December 1850 is missing, so I cannot be more specific about the date, though the highest serial number in the previous ledger5 is 1495, sold on 14th November 1847, and the last recorded sale is that of 1126, a second-hand instrument, to George Case,6 on 5th April 1848.

During the years 1853-1858, Lachenal occupied Alpha and Omega Cottages, British School Lane,7 Chiswick, as a ‘House’ and ‘Manufactory’,8 respectively (see Fig. 2). The Chiswick Rate Books show both to have been owned by ‘Messrs. Wheatstone & Co.’,9 and it is interesting to note that they were only about a quarter of an hour’s walk from Charles Wheatstone’s house, in Lower Mall, Hammersmith,10 suggesting that he was probably taking an active interest in the venture.11

Lachenal seems to have been manufacturing for Wheatstone’s on a contract basis, and would have owned the machinery and made the tooling himself.12 My guess, then, is that the contract probably ran until the beginning of August 1858, when Charles Wheatstone’s Patent, No. 10,041 of 8th August 184413 (for a term of fourteen years), would have expired. This would appear to be confirmed by John Crabb having sold the lease of his own house, only a few doors away from the manufactory, on 2nd August 1858.14 By this time Wheatstone’s serial numbers had reached as high as the 10600s series,15 though the ledgers are in date-of-sale order, and the numbering is extremely erratic.

Louis Lachenal then set up his own business at 8, Little James Street,16 Bedford Row, London, W.C., though I believe his firm continued to manufacture for Wheatstone’s until the 13700s series in late 1865/early 1866.17 This series overlapped with that numbered in the 18000s, which would seem to mark the beginning of Edward Chidley’s18 production for Wheatstone’s, the first sale being 18000 on 28th April 1865 (so there is a gap in the sequence of more than 4,000 numbers between the two series).

As noted above (see note 16), the first notice in MDRA for Louis Lachenal as an independent concertina manufacturer appears in 1859, and I think we can safely assume that his own production commenced sometime around, or shortly after, August 1858 (indeed, many of Lachenal & Co.’s later directory entries confirm that the business was established in 1858).19 In addition, it looks as though he probably started his own numbering of English concertinas at 6000, perhaps reckoning that he had already made about that many for Wheatstone’s.20

The lowest (confirmed) serial numbers that I know of for Louis Lachenal English concertinas are 6119 (CMC 72 from Neil Wayne’s former Concertina Museum Collection),21 which has its end-label missing, 6372 (author’s collection; see Fig. 3) and 6599 (CMC 37), both labelled Russell (a major customer at the time), and 8488 (author’s collection), which is labelled Louis Lachenal (see Fig. 4). This last instrument has an early repair inscription inside it: ‘Repaired and Tuned by J. Cooke, Ipswich 6/3/63, 1302’.22 I have taken the precaution of checking for serial numbers 6372 and 8488 in the Wheatstone Red Books.23 Both are listed: Wheatstone 6372 was supplied to Mrs. Sidney Pratten (guitarist, concertinist, teacher, friend of Giulio Regondi, and wife of the flautist R. Sidney Pratten) on 9th May 1856, though no price was recorded; Wheatstone 8488 was one of a consecutively numbered batch of twelve concertinas (so all of one model) that were sold to Messrs. Harraden on 13th October 1856 for the wholesale price of £67.4.0 (=£5.12.0 each), while Louis Lachenal’s price lists show that the surviving Lachenal 8488 was only a £3.3.0 model. Thus it would appear, at least from these examples, that both Wheatstone and Lachenal instruments were given the same serial numbers, which implies that there were two separate sequences.

Lachenal’s 1859-1862 advertisements in the annual MDRA are double-page price lists (see Fig. 5). They list English-system trebles with 22, 24, 32, 40, and 48 keys, 48-key baritones, and 24-key Duets. However, by the time we reach the price list published in the Catalogue of the (May) 1862 Exhibition (see Fig 6),24 trebles with fewer than forty-eight keys have been discontinued and replaced by a new, cheaper 48-key ‘People’s Concertina’ at £2.2.0. (Members of the Lachenal family have told me that Elizabeth Lachenal had Socialist leanings!).25

C. Wheatstone & Co. sometimes sold concertinas (usually second-hand) by other makers, and these are marked as such in the Red Books. There are a couple of very useful entries for early Lachenal Englishes:26 Lachenal 9641, sold on 28th July 1862 to Eales for £2.2.0; and Lachenal 7728, sold on 4th April 1863 to Bagshaw for £3.3.0.

It is not until the MDRA for 1863, by which time Lachenal’s advertisement has been reduced to a half page, that an engraving (the first hint) of an Anglo concertina appears (opposite that of an English), with ‘prices [running] from £1.11.6 to £21’. The following year—in MDRA, 1864—the distinction between systems/prices is made clear, with prices from ‘£1.11.6 to £2.15.0’ shown under the engraving of the Anglo and ‘£2.2.0 to £21’ under that of the 48-key English.

It would seem, therefore, that Lachenal’s probably started to produce Anglos only after the 1862 Exhibition,27 where ‘German concertinas’ had been exhibited by John Simpson,28 and Rock Chidley had probably also shown ‘German Fingering Concertinas’, as we know that he was already manufacturing them.29 It is probably no coincidence, then, that the first sale of an ‘Anglo German’ in the Wheatstone ledgers does not occur until 14th July 1863,30 and though the sales of Anglos are usually recorded without serial number (sometimes not even the name of the purchaser), an entry on 16th December 1864 names one as ‘Anderson’, who bought six Duets for £3.3.0, three Anglos (Nos. 782, 829, and 1470) for £3.12.0, three more Anglos (Nos. 823, 1483, and 1493) for £4.10.0, and two English concertinas for £4.15.0 (it is as though he was stocking up with cheap concertinas for Christmas!).31 These Anglo serial numbers do not look to be Wheatstone’s, as they do not fit in with what we know of the firm’s very limited sales of such concertinas at this time. Thus I would speculate that these are most likely Lachenal Anglo serial numbers, though the instruments would appear to have been labelled C. Wheatstone (otherwise we would expect Lachenal’s name to have been entered in the ledger).

The known serial numbers for early Lachenal Anglos suggest that they belonged to a separate numbering sequence from the outset. The lowest-numbered surviving Anglo by them that I am aware of is 865 (CMC 360), with mahogany ends, twenty keys, a simple circle of fretwork (with no central motif, such as later instruments had), and numbered buttons, labelled Louis Lachenal. It is the same model as 7602, labelled H. Journet (see Fig. 7), or a rosewood-ended instrument numbered 2655, labelled Louis Lachenal (both of which are in my own collection).

Louis Lachenal died on 18th December 1861, aged 40, and the entries in the Post Office London Directory show that the business was then carried on by his widow, ‘Lachenal Elizabeth (Mrs,) concertina maker’,32 until the name of the firm changed to ‘Lachenal & Co.’ in 1874.33 It seems reasonable to suppose, then, that it was probably in 1873 that Mrs. Lachenal sold the business to ‘five workmen who’d pooled their resources’ (according to Tommy Williams).34 That the decade is correct is attested by Elizabeth Lachenal’s census returns, for in 1871 she was listed as a ‘Concertina Maker’,35 whereas in 1881 she described herself as a ‘Retired – Concertina Manufacturer’.36

Lachenal & Co. applied for its trademark, No. 15,222, on 31st August 1878, and it was published in the Trade Marks Journal on 8th January 1879. The mark consists of a drawing of an individual, double-screwed, English-style free reed. The outline of this device, along with the words ‘Trade Mark’ and ‘English Make’, was thereafter stamped into the right-hand rail (handle) of the firm’s Anglos in order to differentiate them from the cheap ‘imitation Anglos’ of German make—with ten reeds riveted onto each plate, wooden actions with glued-on buttons, and cardboard bellows (see Fig. 8)— that were being marketed in large numbers, and being built, at least externally, to resemble instruments made in England and thus deceive the unwary buyer.

Lachenal & Co. introduced the ‘New Model’, their top-of-the-range, raised-ended concertina in hexagonal form, in the late 1880’s. The 66-key ‘New Model’ baritone, 28320 (CMC 106), gives every appearance of having been made to advertise ‘Signor’ James Alsepti’s newly patented bowing valves,37 as it has ‘Lachenal & Co.’s Patent Bowing Valve No. 8290’ very noticeably, and uniquely, emblazoned in gold leaf on the bellows frames. The patent, however, describes them as ‘relief valves’, and it is not until 1888, with the publication of Keith, Prowse & Co.’s advertisement on the back cover of The Concertinist’s Guide, that they are referred to as the ‘Patent Bowing Valves’. Therefore I think this instrument should probably be dated to c.1888, and I wonder if it was made either for Alsepti himself or for one of his circle, where instruments with fifty-six or more keys seem to have been preferred (see below). In addition, it became Lachenal’s normal practice to provide slots (beside the thumb straps) for the so-called bowing valves in the fretwork of all but the very cheapest English concertinas made after the patent (even if the valves themselves were not fitted), so that instruments so-provided cannot be any earlier than the patent (1885/6). (By way of illustration—and advertisement—Lachenal’s supplied Alsepti’s The Modern Concertina Method [Lachenal, c. 1895] with a detailed loose-leaf diagram of the keyboards of a 56-key concertina fitted with bowing valves; even the serial number of the instrument, 37281, is given!)

Lachenal’s also introduced a new, raised-ended, twelve-sided ‘artistic’ concertina,38 which they named the ‘Edeophone’, the Registered Design for which (RD 129662) was entered on 27th July 1889. The lowest serial number that I know of for such an instrument is 28821, a tenor-treble now owned by Chris Algar (see Fig. 9). This instrument has a lot of unusual features,39 which suggest that it is a very early developmental model, and that it should be dated to no later than 1889. The next known Edeophone number is 35874,40 a regular production model, evidently made several years later.

Edeophone number 38694 (CMC 262)41 is a 63-key instrument with bowing valves and aluminium reed frames. It sounds remarkably like the unusual instrument described by J. A. Black in January 1895:42 ‘…I have just come into possession of an edeophone (treble) by those truly progressive makers, Messrs. Lachenal…This fine instrument (played by Mr. Alsepti [Black’s teacher] at Islington on December 4th last) though of sixty-three keyed and four and a half octave compass, weighs only two and three quarter pounds, or exactly the weight of a forty-eight keyed concertina’. So perhaps No. 38694 should be dated to circa 1894.

That Lachenal’s supplied a large number of wholesalers and dealers with concertinas bearing their own names over the years could be used to date some serial numbers, though this would take a comprehensive study of directories in order to establish the years in which those dealers were at one or another address. However, we should always bear in mind just how erratic the numbering for Louis Lachenal’s production appears to be in the Wheatstone Red Books and question if the Lachenal firm’s own numbering might have been no less so.

The date they closed down is problematic. Tommy Williams told Neil Wayne:43 ‘we finally closed in 1936—it was the Depression, very often they’d have no money to pay out for the workmen. They’d go and say, “Where’s the money?”, and the boss got so fed up, he decided to close the works down’. And whilst an article in a 1950 Accordion Review stated:44 ‘For some years Lachenal made Concertinas for Wheatstone’s but afterwards started a business of his own which became the famous firm of Lachenal & Co. of London which was incorporated with Wheatstone’s in 1934’,45 I have still not managed to find a definitive date for the closure, and there seems to be evidence (below) to suggest that it actually occurred even earlier, probably in 1933.

Williams went on to say (in the same interview):46 ‘Well, the machinery, and all that, was put up for sale, along came Wheatstone’s and bought the bloomin’ lot up, and scrapped most of it.47 Nobody else could get it. . .It all went for as little as a hundred quid, including the gas oil that drove the machinery. They took barrow loads of unfinished work; they’d really come into it alright!’. And I have now discovered that those pieces of ‘unfinished work’ start to appear in the Wheatstone ledgers as early as the autumn of 1933 with the following two consecutive entries:

Sept 22 [Model] 51 Rosewood 26 keys Lach’48 33053
Oct 10 Accordeaphon49 1st 40 keys 33054

There is also, in connection with a pair of concertinas completed around that same time, a reference to ‘1st Erin’ (their first use of the plastic Erinoid) a material that Lachenal’s had been using to make buttons since the late 1920s. Wheatstone’s had not used it previously, but continued to use it thereafter:

Sept 11 1st Erin 48 keys Black & White 32947
Sept 11 1st Erin 48 keys Black & White 32948

Finally, speaking about the Lachenal premises ‘at Little James Street, just along the Gray’s Inn Road’, Williams told Neil Wayne: ‘They’ve pulled it all down now’,50 a statement very much confirmed by the 1930’s Art Deco building at 4 & 6, Northington Street, that now occupies the site (see Fig 10a, 10b, 10c.).51

In conclusion, the tabular compilation that follows provides both a ‘quick guide’ to dating certain features of Lachenal’s concertinas and some notes about individual instruments:

I. A Quick Guide to Dateable Features of Lachenal Concertinas

Labelled C.Wheatstone = 1848–1866
Labelled Louis Lachenal = 1858–1873
Labelled Lachenal & Co. = 1873–1933


Fewer than 48 keys (trebles) = 1858–1862
With slots for bowing valves = 1885/6–1933
Edeophone = 1889–1933


Without trade mark = 1862–1879
With trade mark = 1879–1933

II. Notes on Specific Instruments


(a) As Louis Lachenal (1858-1873)

6119 label missing, earliest known (CMC 72)
6372 labelled J. Russell, 80, Goswell St., Clerkenwell, London (author’s collection)
6599 labelled Russell Manufacturer, Presented by the Proprietors of the Companion for Youth, 80, Goswell St., London (CMC 37)
7728 sold by Wheatstone’s, 4th April 1863
8488 labelled Louis Lachenal, repair date 6th March 1863 (author’s collection)
9641 sold by Wheatstone’s, 28th July 1862
15435 labelled Joseph Scates, Dublin (up to 1866?) (seen on eBay)

(b) As Lachenal & Co. (1873-1933)

28320 New Model, probably made about 1888 (CMC 106)
28821 pre-production Edeophone, 1889 (Chris Algar)
37281 before 1895 (in Alsepti’s Method)
38694 lightweight Edeophone, like J.A.Black’s, perhaps 1894 (CMC 262)


(a) As Louis Lachenal (1862-1873)

782 sold by Wheatstone’s, 16th December 1864 (?)
823 ditto ditto
829 ditto ditto
865 labelled Louis Lachenal (CMC 360)
1470 sold by Wheatstone’s, 16th December 1864 (?)
1483 ditto ditto
1493 ditto ditto
2655 labelled Louis Lachenal (author’s collection)
3207 labelled Thomas Prowse (a dealer who died in 1867), 13, Hanway St., London (sold on eBay)
5681 labelled G. King, 31,North St., Manchester Sqre. (author’s collection)
7602 labelled H. Journet, 43, Tottenham Court Rd., London, 1870-c.1900 (author’s collection)
9637 labelled Jones & Son, 6, Cross St., Hatton Garden, London (author’s collection)

(b) As Lachenal & Co. (1873-1933)

196865 sold for £5.0.0, 9th January 1926 (receipt, author’s archive)


1. This article originated as a set of guidelines that I sent to Chris Algar for the Lachenal serial number dating project. However, I felt that it was potentially of much broader interest, as it contains some important new discoveries about Louis Lachenal, Lachenal & Co., and C. Wheatstone & Co. I have, therefore, reworked it for publication, and it can stand, in the interim, in lieu of the projected Part 2 of ‘Louis Lachenal: “Engineer and Concertina Manufacturer”, Part 1’, The Free-Reed Journal, 1 (1999), 7-18 (hereafter cited as ‘Louis Lachenal’); the article is available online at
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2. The same design would carry on as the ‘standard Lachenal model’ until the closure of Lachenal & Co. some eighty-five years later, and formed the basis for much of that company’s range of English concertinas.
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3. C. Wheatstone & Co. issued a price list that year, advertising that ‘. . . a very considerable reduction in price of the various descriptions of the Concertina has been recently effected, as the subjoined list will show’. A transcription of this price list appears in Chambers, ‘Louis Lachenal’, 16-18; a copy of the original is reproduced online at . For information on both the start of Lachenal’s work for Wheatstone’s and evidence that he was employing staff on behalf of that firm in 1848, see ‘Louis Lachenal’, 15.
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4. The surviving nineteenth-century ledgers of C. Wheatstone & Co., including most of the sales records from the 1830s to the 1860s, production records from the 1860s to the 1890s, and two wage books from the 1840s (twelve volumes in all), were preserved from destruction for us by the late Harry Minting, who was Wheatstone’s Sales Manager at the time the company moved to the Boosey & Hawkes factory at Edgware, in 1961. All but one of these records are written in red, leather-bound notebooks, and Harry always described the set as a whole as ‘The Red Books’, seemingly the name by which they were known at Wheatstone’s. Housed for a number of years at the former Concertina Museum, Belper, Derbyshire, they are now part of the Wayne Archive at the Horniman Museum, London, where they are in the process of being digitised by Robert Gaskins; when that work is completed, they will be made available for research both on the web and on a CD-ROM (which will be available from the Museum). The surviving twentieth-century ledgers, from 1910 on (part of the Dickinson Archive), are already available in both formats; see

The Red Books, with the numbers given to them by Neil Wayne (and retained by the Horniman Museum), consist of the following:

SALES LEDGERS (chronological according to date of sale, and listing names of purchasers): C1046— 30th April 1839 to 5th April 1848; C1047—1st January 1851 to 23rd October 1852; C1048—23rd October 1852 to 21st March 1854; C1049—21st March 1854 to 4th April 1856; C1050—5th April 1856 to 4th November 1857; C1051—4th November 1857 to 21st October 1859; C1052—21st October 1859 to 30th April 1864; C1053—30th April 1864 to 23rd May 1870.

PRODUCTION LEDGER (written in a copy of ‘Harwood’s Diary 1864’, serially numbered by date of manufacture, with no purchaser information): C1054—March 1866, serial number 18061, to 22nd December 1891, serial number 21353.

SERIAL NUMBER REGISTER (in serial number order, listing names of purchasers; this volume, which seems not to have received a number from Neil Wayne, has been catalogued as C104a by the Horniman Museum): C104a—the lowest recorded Wheatstone serial number is 59, the highest, 1500, with dates ranging from 1835 to 1849; there are, however, many missing entries, especially in the earliest period.

WAGES BOOKS (cash books showing expenditures, both in wages and payments to suppliers): C1055 —25th January 1845 to 1st August 1846; C1056—1st January 1848 to 30th June 1849.

On the set of books (subsequently cited only by their Horniman/Wayne number), see Neil Wayne, ‘The Wheatstone English Concertina’, The Galpin Society Journal 44 (1991), 144-45 (now online ); Allan W. Atlas, The Wheatstone English Concertina in Victorian England (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996), 146; Atlas, ‘Who Bought Concertinas in the Winter of 1851? A Glimpse at the Sales Accounts of Wheatstone & Co.’, in Music in Nineteenth-Century Britain. Nineteenth-Century British Music Studies, I, ed. Bennett Zon (Aldershot: Ashgate, 1999), 65 and n. 8; Atlas, ‘Gendering the Concertina: Women in the Wheatstone Sales Ledgers’ (forthcoming in the Research Chronicle of the Royal Musical Association); Chambers, ‘Louis Lachenal’, 14 and n. 36.
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5. C1046.
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6. A member of the Royal Society of Musicians, George Tinkler Case (1823-1892) both performed on and composed and arranged for the concertina. He was also a manufacturer in the 1850s. In addition, he played violin in the Royal Opera orchestra (Covent Garden) and was a good enough pianist to serve as an occasional accompanist for Giulio Regondi; see Atlas, The Wheatstone English Concertina, 56-57; James D. Brown and Stephen S. Stratton, British Musical Biography (London: William Reeves, 1897; reprint: New York: Da Capo Press, 1971),81; Betty Matthews, The Royal Society of Musicians of Great Britain: List of Members 1738-1984 (London: Royal society of Musicians, 1985); Charles Ward, ‘The English Concertina’, Musical News, 25 (21 August 1891), 511.
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7. British School Lane was another, perhaps the original, name for British Grove, the name under which it is listed in the 1851 Census, and which it still bears today. It was named after the non-denominational school founded there by the British and Foreign School Society in 1832. The east side of British Grove formed the boundary between Chiswick, in the old County of Middlesex, and Hammersmith, in the County of London. It was in British Grove that Frederick Walton invented linoleum in 1863.
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8. I revisited the area earlier this year, and was surprised to find that the buildings formerly at the location, occupied by Kingscourt Publishing Limited, 20, British Grove, have been demolished and that a large new commercial building is nearing completion.
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9. The Rate Books were compiled twice yearly, in April and October/November. The first relevant entry appears in the Rate Book for 19th April 1853, when the occupier is listed as ‘Messrs. Wheatstone & Co.’, and the owner as ‘Themselves’; the next Book, 22nd October 1853, gives ‘Louis Lachenal’ as occupier, ‘Messrs. Wheatstone & Co.’, as owner. This suggests that Louis Lachenal was not an employee, as such, of Wheatstone’s, but rather that he was running a workshop for them on a contract basis; otherwise they would have still had their own name listed as occupier of the workshop. Lachenal’s independence would also seem to be confirmed by the entry for ‘Lachenal Louis, machinist, British grove’ (under the heading Traders, in Chiswick) in the Post Office Directory of Essex, Herts, Kent, Middlesex, Surrey and Sussex (London: Kelly, 1855); online at the website of the Digital Library of Historical Directories,

By 1855 there was evidently a need for more living space, as the Rate Book for 18th October shows that Wheatstone’s had also acquired the house beyond the ‘Manufactory’ as another ‘House’, though by 22nd April 1858, it had become a second ‘Manufactory’.
In the Rate Book for 12th November 1858, the name ‘Louis Lachenal’ is crossed out, and ‘Captain Bauman’ substituted as occupier at Alpha Cottage, though the status of the other two premises seems unclear; as of 25th April 1859, however, both Alpha and Omega Cottages are shown as unoccupied, though still owned by ‘Wheatstone & Co.’, with the other house being occupied by one A.G. Whichels, but with no owner listed.
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10. About Wheatstone’s Hammersmith residence, Ms. Anne Wheeldon, Archivist with Hammersmith & Fulham Archives and Local History Centre, has informed me of the following in a communication of 10 February 2004: ‘The first reference to Charles Wheatstone was in the Hammersmith rate book of May 1847, when his name was entered in pencil against a property consisting of a house, garden and buildings in Lower Mall … [He] was rated for the property until some time after October 1861 as his name was crossed through in that rate book … The house was at the eastern end of Lower Mall near Hammersmith Bridge [in which he owned shares] … By 1871 … the premises was known as Digby House in the census…In 1885 Digby House was numbered 5 Lower Mall … [a new suspension bridge was built in 1887 and the intervening houses demolished, hence] In the 1891 census … Digby House … was described … as being at the corner of the new road by the side of the suspension bridge … It was demolished around 1894 and part of a large block of flats, named Digby Mansions, was built on the site in the late 1890s’. A photograph reveals that Digby House was a five-bay, three-storey (over basement) Georgian mansion, whilst an 1865 Ordnance Survey map shows that it had an extensive garden behind it, with a rear carriageway and outbuildings (my thanks to Ms. Wheeldon for sending these, and diligently answering other questions from me). I have walked from British Grove to Lower Mall in a little over fifteen minutes.
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11. The area was then still largely rural, with many market gardens supplying the London markets. It would have been much more convenient both for Wheatstone’s Conduit Street shop and most of the manufacturing staff, as well as for out-sourcing of materials, had the factory either remained in Central London (it had previously been at George Yard, Princes Street, Soho; see ‘Louis Lachenal’, 14) or moved eastwards, towards the craft district of Clerkenwell, as Louis Lachenal later did. Indeed, Lachenal suggested as much in his first advertisement, which appeared in the 1859 edition of the annual Musical Directory, Register and Almanac (London: Rudall, Rose, Carte, 1859-; hereafter MDRA): ‘L. LACHENAL … having removed from Chiswick to the above more convenient and central premises [8, Little James St., Bedford Row, London], has now every facility for carrying on the Wholesale Business …’ Little James Street is now called Northington Street, and runs between Gray’s Inn Road and Great James Street, near the junction of Theobalds Road and Clerkenwell Road.
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12. As evidence for this, we have the testimony of the former Lachenal employee Tommy Williams, who was interviewed by Neil Wayne in 1968. Transcripts from this interview were published in three instalments—and under three different titles—in The Concertina Newsletter: ‘Tommy Williams’, 3 (January 1972), 5-6; ‘The Tommy Williams Interview—Part 2’, 5 (May 1972), 6-7; and ‘The Tommy Williams Story—Part 3’, 7 (August 1972), 10-12; they may be viewed online at: . An edited version appears in the sleeve notes to his LP recording, Tommy Williams—Springtime in Battersea. Free Reed Records, FRR 008 (1976). Williams stated (‘The Tommy Williams Interview’, 7): ‘Sir Charles Wheatstone, he commissioned Louis Lachenal to make them [concertinas] for him, under the name of Wheatstone’. But ‘concertina folklore’ (or anecdotal evidence) has long held that Lachenal ‘… left the house of Wheatstone, taking with him … it is alleged, a complete set of concertina-making tools!’ (Neil Wayne, ‘An Outline History of the Concertina and Related Instruments’, The Concertina Newsletter, 4 [no date], 11), or ‘The story goes that Louis Lachenal, who had been employed by the Wheatstone company, left to set up his own business (possibly taking some of Wheatstone’s tools, and even some employees) …’. (David Aumann, ‘Lachenal Concertina Production’, in the—Buyer’s Guide, online at

However, Lachenal’s Last Will and Testament, made on 8th May 1856, while he was still living at Alpha Cottage, British School Lane, left ‘all my stock in trade, plant, machinery, working tools and implements … carts and carriages … to my dear wife Françoise Marie Elizabeth Lachenal’, thus suggesting that the machinery, tooling, and even the means of transport were all owned by him, and confirming that he was no mere employee of Wheatstone’s, but rather worked for them as an independent contractor, with his own equipment and staff. For information on what is known about Louis Lachenal as a watchmaker and engineer, see Chambers, ‘Louis Lachenal’, 10-16.
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13. British Patent No. 10,041, 8 February 1844: ‘Improvements on the Concertina and other Musical Instruments’, in which the Sounds are Produced by the Action of Wind on Vibrating Springs’; online at
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14. Henry Joseph (‘Harry’) Crabb (1911-1981) told Richard Carlin that ‘… Wheatstone … asked my grandfather [John Crabb] to make the woodwork … and Lachenal was a French [sic, read Swiss] engineer … they all got together … and they started making concertinas. Well my grandfather was, until the patent ran out, with Wheatstone, and Lachenal had made all the tools for the plant, and he started on his own … my grandfather went with Lachenal…and then he started with Nickolds as a partnership.’ And that ‘My grandfather’s brother [Charles Crabb] worked for Lachenal, all his life …’. See Carlin, ‘An Interview with Harry Crabb’, in English Concertina (New York: Oak Publications, 1977), 54-56.

John Crabb (c.1826–1903) first appears at the address in question, 12, British School Lane, Chiswick, in the Rate Book for 17th April 1856. Interestingly, his name seems to have been added as a late entry, in different ink, the house having earlier been marked as unoccupied. He was still living there on 22nd April 1858, but an Indenture (Numbered 960, preserved at the Greater London Record Office, Ref. MDR 1858 BK9 PTS1-2) between ‘John Crabb, 3, Spring Street, Clerkenwell … Cabinet Maker, on the one part, and James Richard Eden…Plumber’, on the other, shows that he sold the lease of the house on 2nd August 1858. He seems to have first moved to the area between the christening of his second daughter, Emma Louisa Crabb, at St. Andrew’s, Holborn, on 18th April 1853, and the birth of his first son, John Charles Crabb, at 9, Park Cottages, Hammersmith (now Ravenscourt Gardens, a short walk from British Grove), on 20th October that same year. His fourth child, Henry Thomas Crabb (d. 1930, father of ‘Harry’ Crabb, grandfather of Neville and Geoffrey Crabb), was born at 12, British Grove, Chiswick, on 17th July 1856. Moreover, there is evidence to confirm that John Crabb’s brother, Charles (1835-1885), was also working for Louis Lachenal in Chiswick, for he married Elizabeth Matilda Nichols, from Turnham Green, Chiswick, at the Episcopal District Chapel of St. Peter, in Hammersmith (now St. Peter’s Church, Black Lion Lane, only two streets from British Grove), on Christmas Day 1855. Both gave their ‘Residence at the time of Marriage’ as ‘Hammersmith’, and since the marriage was ‘after banns’, they were evidently both living in the district at the time. Also, he appears to have become a concertina maker in 1853, as his firm’s advertisement in ‘Professor’ John Hill Maccann’s The Concertinist’s Guide (1888) claims ‘for 35 years concertina maker’ (online at:
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15. C1051.
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16. Lachenal’s advertisement in the 1859 edition of MDRA takes the form of a double-page ‘List of Prices’ for English concertinas, with twelve models of treble starting at £1.13.0 (for a 22-key in mahogany) and rising to £8.8.0 (for a 48-key in rosewood, with silver buttons), two models of baritone, at £9.9.0 or £11.11.0, and Duet Concertinas for £1.2.0 (mahogany) and £1.6.0 (rosewood). The advertisement states: ‘L. LACHENAL, several years Maker of the Concertina as Patented, having removed from Chiswick to the above more convenient and central premises [8, Little James St., Bedford Row, London], has now every facility for carrying on the Wholesale Business, and can offer Instruments of the very best manufacture, and warranted superior in quality to any hitherto produced, at the greatly reduced prices annexed … In future, all Concertinas from this Manufactory will be stamped LOUIS LACHENAL’. Finding this advertisement was the first clue that there had been a factory in existence at Chiswick. And though it avoids actually stating that he had been manufacturing for Wheatstone’s there, it strongly hints at just that by using the phrase ‘Maker of the Concertina as Patented’ (by Charles Wheatstone).

Messrs. Wheatstone & Co.’s advertisement in the same directory also occupies two pages, but it is principally for harmoniums, an instrument that was becoming both more fashionable and more important for them by the late 1850s (continuing into the 1860s). Their list of concertinas takes up only one third of one page and states (as it had also in 1858): ‘Messrs. WHEATSTONE and Co., having completed their machinery for manufacturing CONCERTINAS of the following scales of notes, are now enabled to offer them to the Public at the low prices annexed’. They listed only six, inexpensive models starting with the same 22-key (as Louis Lachenal) in mahogany, but for a price of three shillings more at £1.16.0, and rising to a 32-key in rosewood at £3.3.0 (thirteen shillings more), though they also mentioned ‘Concertinas, with full compass (48 Keys) from 4 to 12 Guineas’.
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17. C1053. This is evidenced both by the different construction of those instruments and by the addition of the phrase ‘Twenty Years Maker of Wheatstone & Co.’s Patent Concertinas’ to Lachenal’s advertising in MDRA, 1867 (et seq.) and elsewhere.
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18. Related to the Wheatstone family by marriage, Edward Chidley (1830-1899) and his older brother Rock (1825–1894) had worked for Wheatstone’s in the 1840s. They appear in the 1845-1846 Wage Book (C1055) as ‘Chidley and brother’, and both became concertina makers in their own right. According to Kenneth Vernon Chidley (1892-1964), a later director of Wheatstone’s: ‘My grandfather, Edward Chidley, purchased the firm from C. Wheatstone in 1860, and when he died in 1899 was succeeded by his son, also Edward Chidley, who died in 1941. I entered the business in 1906 and have managed production since 1924—and am still in harness!’ (quoted in Accordion Review, 4/6 [June 1950], 21). However, Charles Wheatstone’s younger brother, William Dolman Wheatstone (chr. 9th March 1804) appears to have run the business until his death, at 20, Conduit Street, on 30th August 1862. (The firm had borne his name alone in directory entries since 1848, although the concertinas continued to be labelled C. Wheatstone & Co. throughout the period. His Death Certificate gives his occupation as ‘Concertina & Harmonium Manufacturer and Inventor’.) Neil Wayne has suggested that Charles Wheatstone returned ‘ … to a more active involvement in the concertina firm after the death of his brother … [he] appears to have returned to concertina-making and to research on “new” free-reed instruments in later life …’ (‘The Wheatstone English Concertina’, 121). Finally, Edward Chidley is listed as a concertina maker in his own right, at 28, Store Street, Bedford Square, London, in the period 1861-1870 (Neil Wayne, Concertina Book—Final Edit [unpublished typescript, 1986], 65, where the street name is given incorrectly as ‘Stone St.’). Certainly, Chidley was living at 29, Conduit Street, close to the Wheatstone shop, by April 1871, as he was enumerated there for the Census. In all, I would suggest that 1870 is perhaps a more likely date for his acquisition of C. Wheatstone & Co. (though more work needs to be done on the subject).
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19. See (among others) the notice in Musical Opinion & Music Trade Review Directory of the Music Trade of the United Kingdom 1903, 227.
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20. While Louis Lachenal was manufacturing his ‘mass-produced’ models of treble concertina exclusively for Wheatstone’s — between about April 1848 (the 1490s series) and the end of July 1858 (the 10660s series)—there appear to have been some 9,170 serial numbers, but I do not believe that all of these will be found to have been allocated to instruments during that time. Moreover, other models of treble, as well as all the tenors, baritones, and basses, were still being made by hand (though using reeds supplied by Lachenal, except for the basses, which used French harmonium reeds). In addition, though there are potentially more than 9,000 Red Book entries during this period (allowing for a missing volume, between April 1848 and January 1851), not all of them would have been for sales of new concertinas, as numerous entries in the surviving ledgers are for instruments that were lent, hired, or sold second hand, sometimes several times.
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21. Neil Wayne sold his Concertina Museum Collection to the Horniman Museum, London, in 1996. A photostat catalogue of the collection was privately published: Neil Wayne, The Concertina Museum—Incorporating the Wheatstone Collection of Scientific Apparatus: An Illustrated Catalogue, Checklist and Historical Introduction (The Free Reed Press, 1986). All further references to CMC numbers are to instruments from that catalogue.
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22. ‘Cooke, J. Major’s Corner, Ipswich’, is entered, as a Music Seller in MDRA, 1864.
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23. C1050.
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24. The International Exhibition of 1862, Illustrated Catalogue of the Industrial Department, British Division, Vol. II. (Class XVI.—Musical Instruments), 112.
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25. Bill La Chenal and his mother, Dorothy (‘Dee’), whom I visited on 15th March 2000. Bill is a great-grandson of Louis Lachenal; his grandfather was Louis’ youngest son, Alexander (born 27th October 1861, a Crown Agent and civil engineer), about whom I did not know when I wrote ‘Louis Lachenal’, and his father was Alexander’s youngest son, Ronald. The form of the family name was changed to ‘La Chenal’ in England at the time of the First World War, in order to appear more French (and more importantly at that time, less German!). Another branch of Alexander’s family, in the United States, uses the original form, ‘Lachenal’.
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26. C1052.
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27, Significantly, Anglos are missing from their 1862 Exhibition Price List.
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28. Exhibition Catalogue, 114.
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29. The entry for Rock Chidley in the Exhibition Catalogue, 96, simply states: ‘Harmoniums and concertinas’, but that he was already manufacturing Anglos is attested by his having published a tutor, Chidley’s Instructions for the German Fingering Concertina [1858], which promoted the instruments: ‘These instruments being made by English workmen under the superintendence of R.C. …will be found very superior in tone to those generally sold…’.
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30. C1052.
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31. C1053.
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32. Post Office London Directory 1863.
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33. Post Office London Directory 1874.
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34. ‘The Tommy Williams Interview’, 7.
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35. RG 10/384, folio 18, p. 29.
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36. RG 11/210, folio 13, p. 22.
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37. British Patent No. 8290: ‘Improvements in Concertinas’, applied for 8th July 1885, granted 8th April 1886 to James Alsepti and Richard Ballinger; the patent is available online: On Alsepti and the view that the bowing valves are somewhat tantamount to charlatanry, see Atlas, Contemplating the Concertina, 27-31; for new information about the biography of Alsepti, see Atlas, ‘Signor Alsepti and “Regondi’s Golden Exercise”, Concertina World, supplement to No. 426 (2003), 1-8, which shows that his real name was almost certainly ‘Alsept’ (online at:
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38. With its radial internal design, the ideal shape for an English-style concertina is circular, but for practical purposes it tends towards that of a ‘squared circle’; while the traditional hexagon is the easiest to make, the octagon is better, and the twelve-sided is nearest to the ideal, allowing longer-scale reeds to be used and a larger volume of air to be contained in the bellows.
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39. These include the design of the fretwork, long thumb straps with top screws (like a regular concertina) instead of the usual short straps with clips, and an ordinary paper maker’s label, not an engraved nickel-silver one; hence it is not badged as an Edeophone (was the name even in use when it was made?).
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40. According to Chris Algar, communication of 29th April 2004.
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41. Wayne also gives the number as 28694 in the same catalogue entry, but he has told Chris Algar that he believes this is an error (communication from Chris Algar, 28th April 2004).
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42. In Musical Opinion & Music Trade Review (1 January 1895), Correspondence, 222.
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43. ‘The Tommy Williams Story’, 11
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44. ‘Introducing our New Feature Devoted to the Concertina,’ Accordion Review, 4/4 (April 1950), 22. The article was ‘compiled with information kindly supplied to us by K.V. Chidley, Esq., of Messrs. C. Wheatstone & Co., Ltd…’.
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45. For a few years, in the late 1930s and early 1940s, Wheatstone’s used a rubber stamp with the wording ‘(incorporating LACHENAL & CO.)’, which appeared immediately after ‘C. Wheatstone & Co.’ on their letterhead and elsewhere. An example of this is the receipt for a 36-key Anglo, 51406, sold on 26th Sept. 1941, and an associated letter dated 20th August 1941 (sold on eBay).
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46. ‘The Tommy Williams Story’, 12.
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47. The evidence from Wheatstone’s seems to indicate the contrary. Steve Dickinson, the present owner of C. Wheatstone & Co., believes that much of the tooling now in his possession originated with Lachenal’s, having been refettled, and modified by Wheatstone’s in the mid-1930s. Further, John Wicks, who worked for the flute makers Rudall, Carte & Co. and shared premises with Wheatstone’s during the 1950s, told me that he remembered Wheatstone’s having a different drill press for every size of hole (a mass-production technique, saving a lot of set-up time), until Geoffrey Hawkes, Director of Boosey & Hawkes, came along and scrapped them, in the name of economy!

From 1934 on (33000 series), Wheatstone’s instruments began to change, becoming progressively cheaper in their construction and materials, as the firm seemingly embraced the mass-production ethos and technology of their former rivals. An example of that technology is the pattern-following router, for cutting the tapered, dovetailed slots for the reed frames in the pan board, which is still in use by Steve Dickinson. One can see it used at Wheatstone’s factory in Duncan Terrace, Islington, in the British Pathe newsreel ‘Concertina Factory’ (a.k.a. Concert in a Factory), filmed on 3rd April 1961: online at (search the database for ‘concertina factory’). Not surprisingly, under the circumstances, the router can cut slots in six, eight, or twelve-sided pans. It was as a result of having Lachenal’s tooling that Wheatstone’s started to build some Edeophones, starting with a batch of three Anglos numbered 33301-33303, in July 1934. On Wheatstone’s Edeophones, see Neil Wayne, Margaret Birley, and Robert Gaskins, ‘A Wheatstone Twelve-Sided “Edeophone” Concertina with Pre-MacCann Chromatic Duet Fingering’, The Free-Reed Journal, 3 (2001), 3-17 (a revised and expanded version is online at;; see also, Wayne, ‘Wheatstone 12-Sided Duete [sic]’, online at
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48. This is the earliest reference in the ledgers to a concertina being a ‘Lach’, that is, one of the unfinished Lachenal stock of instruments eventually completed by Wheatstone’s. The Wheatstone model number 51 denoted a 20-key Anglo with mahogany ends; a 26-key rosewood-ended Wheatstone should have been described as a model 55B.
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49. The Accordeaphone is a large, square, triple-reeded English concertina covered in blue pearloid, with translucent red plastic buttons. It was developed by Lachenal’s in an attempt to compete with the piano accordion, which became extremely popular in the 1930s, with many concertina players finding it advantageous to take up the newer, more fashionable, instrument. Very few Accordeaphones were made, but a rare example, made for a player named Sid Ive and now owned by Chris Timson and Anne Gregson, can be seen online:
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50. ‘The Tommy Williams Interview’, 7.
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51. Lachenal’s address changed from 8, to 4, Little James Street in the Post Office London Directory 1867, though a later (undated) price list indicates that they occupied the premises at both 4 & 6, Little James Street.
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View or Download the PDF format file for this pageFig1 Wheatstone.jpg, Enlarged: 1000*750, 150.2 KB

Fig. 1. C Wheatstone, No. 1563, 48 keys, made by Louis Lachenal (author’s collection)

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Fig. 2. The former Kingscourt Publishing Ltd, 20, British Grove, Chiswick (now demolished), the site of Alpha and Omega Cottages

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Fig. 3. J.Russell, No. 6372, 32 keys, made by Louis Lachenal (author’s collection)

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Fig. 4. Louis Lachenal, No. 8488, 48 keys (author’s collection)

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Fig. 5. Louis Lachenal’s double page advertisement in the Musical Directory, Register and Almanac, 1859

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Fig. 6. Louis Lachenal’s price list from the 1862 Exhibition Catalogue

PDF for Printing

Fig. 5 & Fig 6. PDF resource

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Fig. 7. Journet Anglo, No. 7602, made by Louis Lachenal (author’s collection)

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Fig. 8. A German imitation Anglo (author’s collection)

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Fig. 9. Lachenal & Co. Edeophone, No. 28821(?) (courtesy of Chris Algar)

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Fig. 10a. The old Lachenal & Co. premises at 4-6-8 Northington Street, Formerly Little James Street; the site at numbers 4 and 6 was evidently redeveloped in the 1930’s.

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Fig. 10b. Another photo of Northington Street

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Fig. 10c. Number 8


In this part of the site we have links to the sites of members of the ICA. Some of the sites have a lot of information about concertinas and the people who play them, as you would expect. Others have nothing at all about concertinas, but are interesting anyway (concertina players are, by and large, an interesting bunch).

For your convenience, we have divided up the links into two sections: sites that are primarily about concertinas or have a high content of concertina-related material, and sites that have no or low concertina content. Have fun browsing around this lot!

Please send comments etc. to

All links open in new browser windows. 

Concertina-related sites This is the successor of the website which also still extists but is no longer updated. the updates are now on this new website. It is also a successor for the previous magazine PICA (see elsewhere on this website) The Concertina Library: Digital Reference Collection for Concertinas : Documents for the study of English, Anglo, and Duet concertinas, including history, instruction books, sheet music, patents, technical papers, rare periodicals, and new research articles. A comprehensive free guide by fourteen leading concertina scholars, mostly ICA members. Developed by Robert Gaskins from his Maccann Duet web site. This is probably the most popular and comprehensive concertina site on the Net, including an online Discussion Forum. Built and maintained by Paul Schwartz. The home of the Concertina FAQ, maintained by ICA committee member Chris Timson – the second most popular concertina site on the Net! Home page of the very able Dutch English concertina player *and ICA Newsletter Editor) Pauline de Snoo. It describes her new tutor for the English concertina, which has been garnering some very favourable comment. Also from Pauline de Snoo, this site concentrates on tuition and other academic aspects of the concertina. Maker of the Geuns-Wakker concertinas, restoration of vintage concertinas, music publisher. These people have a long history of support for and involvement with the concertina. Web site for the well-known concertina repair guru Dave Elliott, which he is developing into a technical resource on concertinas.
Suttner Concertinas Jürgen Suttner – Hand Crafted Concertinas, located in Siegen, Germany Run by Neil Wayne, Free Reed is a long-standing name in the concertina world. Paul Hardy’s site has several pages about his Wheatstone, Lachenal, and Case English concertinas. Robert Gaskins’ MacCann Duet web site is now part of the Concertina Library (see above)
Other members’ sites Long standing ICA member Juliet Woodin makes beautiful fuchsia earrings inspired by visits to Ireland. Folk/acoustic trio, AJAR, based in Nottingham, includes long standing ICA member, Juliet Woodin. playing Jeffries C/G and Bb/F, and Wheatstone baritone Anglos. The web site for Stortfolk Music Club, a club in Bishops Stortford run by ICA committee member Jon McNamara. (dead link) Sally Keene also has a business selling unusual perennial plants Folkworks is an educational charity operating in the field of traditional music, dance and song. The organisation was formed in 1988 by Northumbrian musician and ICA president Alistair Anderson. Ferrette Morris is the first and so far only Morris side in France. Their band consists solely of ICA member Jonathan Taylor. ICA member Anne Gregson produces beautiful greetings cards. See them here. ICA member Jochen Riemer plays duet concertina, Chemnitzer concertina, guitar and ukelele as a member of the German folk band Hampelmuse. This site (in German) will tell you all about them. Arms Folk/workshps.html The webpage for the Saturday workshops organised by the Lewes Arms Folk Club which show a distinct concertina bias (hardly surprising with Bryan Creer’s involvement). The site for Charlotte Oliver’s Magic Lantern Show This is the web site for the band Pierrot, who include in their lineup ICA member Peter Barnard Sheffield City Giants – two processional Catalan Giants, belonging to the City of Sheffield, and representing War (the male) and Peace (the lady) whose band includes at least 3 concertina players – including Gill Noppen-Spacie, ICA Newsletter Editor. Spot them at Folk Festivals and community events both in the UK and overseas. At 15 feet tall these are no shrinking violets! The Traditional Arts Team organises activities in the Midlands relating to traditional storytelling, song and music. ICA member Pam Bishop is one of its founder members. Self-guided walking holidays in Mid Wales with guest house accommodation. Musicians particularly welcome – resident concertina, fiddle & hurdy gurdy players. Kettlebridge Clogs is a ladies’ Northwest Morris side. The band contains three concertina players, including John Wild (former ICA Treasurer).

Pay by bank

Renewing your membership or becoming a new member:

If you don’t wish to use Paypal, you can also pay by bank and send us an e-mail with your data. Follow these two steps: 

1 Pay the membership fee by bank

Ordinary (Single Person) Membership
UK resident : £20.00
Europe : £23.00
Other Overseas (including US) : £26.00
Family / Club & Corporate Membership
UK resident : £30
Europe : £34.50
Other Overseas (including US) : £39
Junior Membership
UK resident : £4.50
Europe : £6.00
Other Overseas (including US) : £6.00

Transfer this fee to:
Account holder – International Concertina Association
Bank – Barclays Bank, Saffron Walden Business Centre, Market Place, Saffron Walden, Essex
CB10 1HR
Sort code 20-74-05
Account number – 10514489
IBAN GB13 BARC 2074 0510 5144 89

Most banks allow selecting the pound as currency when doing an international payment.

2 Send your data by e-mail

Next, send an e-mail with:

your name and post address
your phone number (and/or mobile)
what type of concertina you play


As soon as your membership has been processed by us, you will also receive a welcome e-mail by our Membership secretary.

In case you do not receive an e-mail from the International Concertina Association within 10 days following your payment, please contact and we will sort this out.

The Swaledale Squeeze

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The 12th Swaledale Squeeze will take place from 15 – 17 May 2009

at Grinton Lodge Youth Hostel, Grinton, Swaledale, N. Yorks., UK.

Why not banish memories of grey skies, wind and rain and look forward to a convivial weekend of concertina playing, meeting friends, music, concert, ceilidh, sessions, Black Sheep bitter, walks, the comfort of Grinton Lodge and fantastic scenery – what more could one want!! As usual, everything will be centred on Grinton Lodge (a former shooting lodge) which is now a Youth Hostel, based just outside Reeth, in the picturesque setting of Swaledale. The venue is excellent for our purposes and we are made to feel very welcome. All accommodation is in bunk rooms (bedding provided) and meals are included for those in bunks (with or without the Friday evening meal which will be served at 7.30pm).

Campervans and tents are also welcome but, because the dining room is relatively small, campers are asked to use the self-catering kitchen. There are also many B&Bs in the area if you would like more comfort/privacy – please let me know if you’d like a list. You are welcome to bring your own alcohol to the ceilidh but not to consume at Grinton Lodge.

Friday consists of a walk in the afternoon (for those who can make it), a meal at 7.30 pm and informal sessions in the evening – a chance to unwind after your journey, play a few tunes and meet friends old and new. There will be workshops on Saturday and Sunday, a mini-concert on Saturday, a ceilidh on the Saturday evening, featuring ‘spots’; from participants, and a farewell concert on Sunday afternoon, including tutors’ spots. The ceilidh and concert will be held at Reeth Memorial Hall. Families and friends are welcome too – they may enjoy the area’s many craft shops, tearooms and outstanding walks.

The line up of tutors is as good as ever – see the flyer and application form PDF) for details.

Youth Hostel prices have risen again and I have had to reflect this in the fees. As I am busier than ever this year, I would very much appreciate receiving booking forms, deposits, balances, any odd requests etc in good time. Please feel free to contact me if you have any queries – I look forward to seeing you there!

Jane Edwards
“Turning Tide”, 1 Coast,
Ross-shire, IV22 2LR

Tel: +44 (0) 1445-781225

Click here for flyer and application form with email address (PDF)


Kilve Annual Concertina Weekend

The Kilve Annual Concertina Weekend is hosted by the West Country Concertina Players ( at Kilve Court, a former large country house now used by the Local Authority for residential courses.

The weekend normally comprises an exciting combination of workshops, sessions, a concert, a ceildh and lots more (details on the web site).

This weekend is primarily intended for post beginners, intermediate and advanced players. A weekend specifically for beginners is normally held in October (2007: 19-21 October).

Contact: Mal Derricott, 49 Medbourne Close, Blandford Forum, Dorset DT11 7JA, UK (01 258 450927)

See Kilve 2005 pictures on David Nind’s web site (


The information is that sent by the organizers. We HOPE that no errors have crept in, but PLEASE check on events BEFORE you travel.
If you have any corrections or information to add to these pages, please send it to us, anytime, using the address


Northeast Concertina Workshop Saturday April 19th 2008 in Sunderland, Massachusetts USA

Please send in your event information for 2008 to

Concertina Learning Opportunities in North America

Ken Coles of maintains a list of schools, workshops, camps etc. in North America(updates usually once a year, last update 26 March 2005)

Useful info

For full information on any aspect of the concertina, the following web sites should be your first stops: The Concertina Library: Digital Reference Collection for Concertinas: Documents for the study of English, Anglo, and Duet concertinas, including history, instruction books, sheet music, patents, technical papers, rare periodicals, and new research articles. A comprehensive free guide by fourteen leading concertina scholars, mostly ICA members. Developed by Robert Gaskins from his Maccann Duet web site. This is probably the most popular and comprehensive concertina site on the Net, including an online Discussion Forum. Built and maintained by Paul Schwartz. The home of the Concertina FAQ, maintained by ICA committee member Chris Timson – the second most popular concertina site on the Net! See below for direct links to the FAQ sections.

See the Links page for more web sites.