The Concertina Museum Collection Ref:C-227.

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Item Type: Concertina

Summary Labels and Serial Numbers End Frets Fingering System Straps and Holding Devices Fret Baffle Action Board Reeds and Reed Pans Bellows Case and Other


Full Description: A mid-1850s period 48-key solid rosewood-ended Rock Chidley 48-Key English concertina, with the dealer's label of William Sprague. Serial No 755. See also Rock Chidley No 243 ( C-221 ) for an earlier Sprague-labelled instrument. Original rosewood veneered case with remnants of a large green/gilt Sprague label.The bellows show none of the sharp leather folding of the early "Bookbinder's" Style, and are of 4-folds, and do not have the silk-reinforced bottom-bout to bellows-frame. The bellows have the common "Gilt crosses and Dots" bellows papers. Original green leather straps, RH with small repair.

Concertina Summary: Rock Chidley 48-Key solid rosewood-ended English concertina, with the dealer's label of William Sprague. Serial No 755, with inner action stamps of Rock Chidley, and original rosewood veneered case with green/gilt Sprague label.

Owner or Collection: Concertina Museum, Belper

Maker: Rock Chidley

Maker Links: The most detailed source of information on the genealogy of the Chidleys, and the premises, manufacturing and marketing of Rock Chidley instruments is Chris Flint's paper at: A good survey by Wes Williams of Rock and Edward Chidley's various addresses and some noted instruments is at:

Region of Manufacture: London

Main Maker's Label Wording: "William Sprague, Manufacturer. 7 Finsbury Pavement, London". No internal "Rock Chidley" stamps, unlike the previous Sprague-labelled Chidley, here: (C-221)

System Type: 48-Key Treble English system

Source Catalogue No: The Concertina Museum Collection Ref:C-227.

Maker Details

Rock Chidley produced concertinas from about 1850 to 1868.

Rock Chidley and younger brother Edward Chidley both worked for Wheatstone. They were distantly related to Charles and William Wheatstone via shared Barnwood, Gloucestershire ancestors.

Rock Chidley produced the often featured ivory ended instrument for Wheatstone in 1848, left Wheatstone sometime around 1850 with his brother Edward, and set up at 135 High Holborn,London near New Oxford St., their father's house. They exhibited at the Great Exhibition of 1851. In 1856 they are listed as having further factory premises at Hollingworth Street North, & Wellington Street, St. James's Road, Holloway.

Rock Chidley expanded his business interests into property and a sawmill, but ran into financial trouble in 1862 when he became bankrupt. After another bankruptcy in 1868, the concertina business disappears from listings.

Edward Chidley seems to have made some concertinas in his own name, and is independently listed from 1861 to 1870 at 28 Store St, Bedford Sq. He began producing concertinas for Wheatstone about 1866, taking control of the firm soon after. By 1870 Edward is listed as an Importer and Maker of Harmoniums and Concertinas at Wheatstone's address.

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The Concertina Museum Collection

Created August 2009 by Neil Wayne
Last Modified 07 February 2012 by Neil Wayne, Chris Flint, Wes Williams

This page created Tuesday 14 February 2012.