About Us This site is based in the UK and came about after a chance e-mail from the late Terry Holland’s son in law who agreed to the original British Banjo Makers web sites being upgraded and he donated a lot of the original research documents to the project.
It is not our intention to try and compete with the many individual experts and researchers of the banjo, and its makers, but to provide a single comprehensive reference site for those who have an old banjo and wish to know something about its maker.
Consequently we are very happy to provide a link to other sites for a particular maker where there is more detailed research information.
Updates As the opportunity arises to add to the site we are happy to do so, whether it is through corrections notified to us by interested parties, our own research or the opportunity to buy a banjo from an obscure maker to include on the site.
Images One aim of the site is to have a picture or two of banjos by as many of the makers as possible. We are not only interested in the most expensive or highly decorated models but often the run of the mill instrument that are most often likely to turn up.
We are always pleased to receive pictures of other banjo owners’ instruments and we will always credit the owner for the pictures.
Research Access to census records clearly allows us to fill in some of the specific demographic details about makers BUT the translation from pen and ink record to computer is full of copy errors. Also as some of the Victorian makers could neither read nor write it is interesting to note how their dates of birth change from one census to another.
Similarly, the recorded dates of when makers made specific banjos may vary, as clearly, when businesses changed there will have been stocks of components which were subsequently made into instruments, well after the companies had changed management or ownership.
Also, as is our wont, we may occasionally buy instruments to get the information needed (and then dispose of them).
For example, “the purchase of a zither banjo by an unknown maker “Will Birch of Accrington” led to the discovery of his link with Grimshaw”
And “Following a recent trek to N Yorkshire we came away with the Williamson shown on the site and an 1885 Bay State Guitar... however a cheap side lot included an old 5 string with a loose perch pole that turned out to be a Grimshaw, now also on the site.”
Good luck and keep pickin' or strummin'
This site is not part of any business so replies may be erratic but we are always willing to receive additions, corrections, updates and pictures and we will always credit you with them.