Instrument Section C-221 to C-250, Maker - Rock Chidley, inc. Edward Chidley
There are around 35 Rock Chidley (and some Edward Chidley) instruments in the Collection. A 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 .
The Wes Williams archive states: " Rock Chidley produced the often-featured ivory ended instrument for Wheatstone in 1848, but left Wheatstone sometime around 1850, and according to Jones, set up near Oxford Street. The address found on instruments, '135 High Holborn, London', near New Oxford St., was in fact the family address. He was definitely manufacturing by 1851 and exhibited at the Great Exhibition of that year, advertising:.....
ROCK CHIDLEY begs to call the attention of the Nobility and the public visiting the Great Exhibition to the very great improvements he has discovered in the manufacture of his CONCERTINAS, amongst which are his newly invented Glass Studs, working on a double fulcrum action, and a variety of other improvements, which are very obvious to the admirers of this instrument.
The Wheatstone sales ledgers show a 'Baritone Chidley' being sold on 12th July 1852. However the market for concertinas was competitive, and in 1856 he advertised his prices as being 'further reduced by 25% from last year's prices' .
The British Library lists two tutors published by Rock Chidley, one ascribed to Edwin Chidley, presumably a mistake for his brother Edward. One of these tutors, published in 1858, says that the firm then had two factories, 'Hollingworth Street North, & Wellington Street, St. James's Road, Holloway', which were also listed in his 1856 advertisement. It seems probable that the company closed sometime around 1867, when it disappears from listings. It may not be co-incidence that Wheatstone seem to acquire a capability for their own mass production under Edward Chidley at the same time.
Although working together initially, Edward seems to have made some concertinas in his own name, and is independently listed from 1861 to 1870 at 28 Store St, Bedford Sq. By 1870 Edward is listed as an " Importer and Maker of Harmoniums and Concertinas" at Wheatstone's address.
The highest Chidley serial number in the Horniman is 5204."
Here is a selection of information on some of the Chidley instruments in the Collection, many bearing labels mentioned above.
C.221 Rock Chidley No 243:- A mid-1850s period 48-key Amboyna-ended 48-Key English concertina with the dealer's label of William Sprague. With inner action stamps of Rock Chidley, and original rosewood veneered case with green/gilt Sprague label. See also Rock Chidley No 755 for a later Sprague-labelled instrument.
C.222 Rock Chidley No 419:- 48-Key rosewood-ended baritone English concertina, with the early Chidley label stating "...late finisher to Messrs Wheatstone". Serial No 419, with original rosewood veneered case.
C.227 Rock Chidley No 755 :- 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 for an earlier Sprague labelled instrument.
C.228 Rock Chidley No 783:- A mid-1850s period 48-key rosewood-ended Rock Chidley 48-Key English concertina, with the later "High Holborn" label wording. Serial No 783, with inner action stamps of Rock Chidley, Serial No 783,
C.240 Rock Chidley No 3881:- 48-Key rosewood-ended English concertina. Fancy fret-pattern, with Pearl
inlays, silver-capped keys, ornate silver-capped
thumb-strap screws. Later "C Wheatstone & Co" label with "15
West Street" address wording.
The instrument shows another appearance in the Collection of gilt
frame leather, and the continued use of bevelled edges on the fretwork of
the ends. Original rosewood veneered case containing an envelope
from Harry Minting (the last Wheatstone manager), a hand-annotated Wheatstone
Price list, and information from the vendor stating that his grandfather
bought it in
C.241 Rock Chidley No 5347:- 48-Key rosewood-ended English concertina, a first appearance of the later "Factory Hollingworth St., St James Rd, Holloway" label in addition to the "High Holborn" label wording. A first instance in the Collection of the addition, in gilt lettering, of the full "Rock Chidley Manufacturer , 135 High Holborn, London W. C." address on the lower left bellows paper on the bottom bellows bout.
C.242 Rock Chidley No 5395:- 48-Key fine quality amboyna-wood-ended and gilt mounted and decorated English concertina, in a fine Amboyna veneered case, and having another appearance of the later "Factory Hollingworth St., St James Rd, Holloway" in addition to the "High Holborn" label wording. The instrument shows another appearance in the Collection of gilt stamped bellows frame leather and gilt-stamped thumb-straps, but this special model has an engraved gold-plated edging over the frets and between Frets and action frames, and has gilt bellows, straps and strap metals. With original Amboyna-veneered case.
C.221 Rock Chidley No 5647:- A basic and early 20-key anglo concertina, with the Rock Chidley "135 High Holborn" label in a central cartouche in the fretwork. The instrument may possibly have made at the George Jones workshops, and closely resembles Concertina No C.333, (Geo Jones No 5314).
C.246 Edward Chidley (un-numbered) :- An unusual "stretched hexagon" 54-key baritone "English" concertina. Many unusual features, clear E Chidley labels, and original fabric-clad case. 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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Created December 2010 by Neil Wayne
Modified March 2011 by Wes Williams
This page created Wednesday 30 March 2011.