The Various Brinsmead Piano firms
In summary, the Brinsmead piano firms emerged in the following order. First, Henry Brinsmead went to London and opened a piano making business. In 1835 his younger brother John came up from Devon and joined him in the business. Henry and John Brinsmead operated as partners for a year or so until John Brinsmead decided to leave and operate on his own. Henry kept operating his own firm.
In 1863, John Brinsmead took two of his sons into partnership creating the firm of John Brinsmead and Sons. They were Thomas James Brinsmead and Edgar Brinsmead.
Several Brinsmead family members worked with the John Brinsmead and Sons firm. In 1895, John Brinsmead thought a few people were making pianos on the firm's time for their own use. He decided to fire them outright. They were Thomas Edward Brinsmead and his two sons Edward George Stanley Brinsmead and Sydney Walter Brinsmead along with one other employee. The three of them tried to make a go of the piano making business on their own account under the name Thomas Edward Brinsmead and Sons. Soon after, they fell in with some financiers who formed a limited liability company (in fact two, one soon after the other) for the purpose of soliciting public investment. The companies were each called Thomas Edward Brinsmead and Sons Limited. John Brinsmead took great exception to the use of the Brinsmead name and took out lawsuits for an injunction to block such use. However, the Courts allowed some use of the Brinsmead name subject to limitations and disclosures.
In 1899, the firm of John Brinsmead and Sons itself became incorporated as John Brinsmead and Sons (Limited). The firm was by them a very large operation with hundreds of employees.
To the extent Thomas Edward Brinsmead and his sons continued in operation (no longer as a limited company since it was wound up by its creditors) it was with a very limited operation with at best a few employees. From 1897 forward it appears to have been operated by Edward George Stanley Brinsmead who labeled his pianos Stanley Brinsmead - London in roman letters with a small "Edward" and "George" written into the S of Stanley. He appears to have made a cheap class of piano primarily directed at the hire purchase and wholesale trade.
After John Brinsmead's death, the firm of John Brinsmead and Sons (Limited) was carried on under the direction of Henry Billinghurst (who was either the husband of his eldest daughter Rose Anne, or their son). It suffered during the war, even though it was able to diversify into the manufacture of war materials. In 1916 it appears the firm was reconstituted as John Brinsmead and Sons (1916) Limited. After the war, it suffered even more from the shortage of skilled men and the elimination of piece work with the introduction of the minimum wage. It went out of business following a long strike in 1920.
The assets of the business were then sold to Walter Saville on behalf of a competitor J.B. Cramer & Co. who continued to produce pianos under the Brinsmead name. In 1964 the Cramer firm was bought out by Kemble and Co. which maintained the Brinsmead title as a brand name.
- 3 Upper Grafton Street, Fitzroy Square (from the 1840 London Post Office Directory)
John Brinsmead, John Brinsmead and Sons and John Brinsmead and Sons (Limited)
- 40 Windmill Street (from the 1840 London Post Office Directory)
- Grafton Road, Ragland Oval, Kentish Town, London, N.W. (the factory)
- 104 New Bond Street (Temporary Premises - 1883)
- 18, 20 and 22 Wigmore Street
- 1 Wigmore Street - 17 Cavendish Square
- 139 New Bond Street
Thomas Brinsmead and Sons and Thomas Brinsmead and Sons Limited
- Bartholomew Works, Bartholomew Road, Kentish Town, Middlesex.
- Ferdinand Street, St. Pancas
E.G. Stanley Brinsmead
- 7 and 21 Keens Yard, St. Paul's Road, London
- 38 Royal College Street, N.W. 1 Euston
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