Circa 1890 George P. Matthew Fretless banjo with all the original hardware parts and original neck.
The neck and the inside of the rim have been re finished, new goatskin head, new ebony pegs, Every piece of hardware has been cleaned and polished. The nickel plating has a lot of wear and the brass is showing.
The neck / dowel stick have been reset for an easy to play action. New bridge, nylon strings and original bone nut.
Very good sounding banjo ready for another century of playing.
Born in St Pancras London in 1858, he was the youngest with three elder sisters and it appears he never knew his father. At aged 13 he was living at 121 Gt College Street with his mother Helen (b 1827) who was a Pianoforte seller.
He moved to Birmingham where at aged 22 he was working as a "music seller" and “living in” as a servant to a Mr E A Barton. In 1885 his son was born but his wife soon died and by 1891 he was living with his 5 year old son George Philip and mother-in-law in Birmingham where he established a factory firstly in Hockley Street and then at Soho Hill Works, and was listed as an instrument maker and employer.
He married his 2nd wife Sara Sparrow in 1899 and by 1911 had retired from the business and moved to Strathmore, Southbourne Grove, Prittlewell in Essex with three daughters aged 7, 5 and 3. He died there on the 26th February 1929 leaving his estate of £5091 to his widow Sara.
Not only did he sell a wide range of instruments bearing his own name but he made banjos and zither-banjos for other wholesale and retail firms (such as Ball Beavon, Rose Brothers, J. Thibouville, Lamy & Co., Rose Morris & Co.) to brand as their own. "Down South" was a brand of JTL made by Matthew.