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Thomas Hewett

The "Hewett Patent Banjo"-with its all-metal hoop, extremely thin square-topped brackets for pulling down a flange-type bezel, and all-metal pegs with a built- in locking device was advertised as being "individually made by its inventor T. Hewett" by the Stainer Manufacturing Co., of 92 St. Martin's Lane, London, W.C.

The Stainer Manufacturing Co. consisted of Thomas Hewett, his wife and his daughter Christine. The premises in St. Martin's Lane consisted of a large shop at the back of which had been built a "platform" workshop in which Hewett did his work of making and repairing. His wife and daughter attended to the serving in the shop. In addition, Christine, as "Miss Evelyn Christine" managed "The Dixies", a "banjo team" which could he booked for "Concerts, At Homes, Banquets, etc.".

In addition to making, his banjos, Thomas Hewett repaired any musical instrument, from a violin to a bassoon. he was the "local" repairer to musicians at the near-by "Palace", "Empire" and "Alhambra" theatres, each with an orchestra at that time of 50 to 60 musicians.

He started his business some time prior to 1900 and in a January 1909 advertisement stated his banjos were made in five sizes (81 in. to 12 in. hoop) and in seven grades (£4.4.0 to £15.15.0). In addition to the banjos of his own unusual design he also sold (under his own. name as maker) conventional banjos which appear to have been made for him by Windsor. He closed down his business during the first world war.

Pictures courtesy of Steve Prior

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