Exposing the London piano industry workforce (c. 1765-1914)

Kent, Marie E. (2013) Exposing the London piano industry workforce (c. 1765-1914). Doctoral thesis, London Metropolitan University.

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Abstract / Description

Research into the London piano industry workforce has focused to date on high profile makers such as Backers, Beyer, Brinsmead, Broadwood, Challen, Clementi and Collard, and, more recently, lesser-known practitioners such as Southwell, Geib, Plenius, Vietor and Neubauer. Although the study of influential practitioners is crucial to understanding the development of the industry, to attribute the manufacture of the piano to a handful of men is to misrepresent the case. This study investigates large numbers of lesser-known, and formerly unknown, members of the London piano industry workforce, from the launch of the trade in the 1760s to the start of the First World War, and examines not only their extent and contribution, but reconsiders the industry in light of their discovery, and introduces them jointly and severally as subjects for further study. Drawing on six principal sources -local parish registers, the censuses of England, social history archives, London's historical directories, the national press, and the online wills of the National Archives - five resulting studies examine those identified in terms of their work, gender, succession, solvency, location, migration, nationality, inter-connection and social demographic. Findings are both general and specific in that they relate to the workforce as a whole and to specific individuals. More than seven thousand men, women and children are identified as makers, dealers, tuners and suppliers to the trade; it is demonstrated that women held a sustained role in the industry prior to the labour shortage of the First World War; that bankruptcy and insolvency were not endemic in the trade; that the perception of the industry as one shackled to tradition is appreciably flawed; and that further research is required to understand the complex interconnections that existed in the trade. It is in the search for the typical, as well as the famous and exceptional, that a balanced interpretation of the workforce is to be found.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: uk.bl.ethos.603079
Uncontrolled Keywords: London piano industry; piano industry workforce; development of the piano industry; piano makers (London); piano trade
Subjects: 700 The arts; fine & decorative arts > 780 Music
Department: The School of Art, Architecture and Design
Depositing User: Chiara Repetto
Date Deposited: 08 Apr 2022 10:10
Last Modified: 08 Apr 2022 10:18
URI: http://repository.londonmet.ac.uk/id/eprint/7399

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