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  ... of 267-9 Portobello Road, London, was a successful teacher of the fretted instruments and a dealer (at first, using the name of "The Mozart Musical Stores") in everything musical, with the emphasis on the banjo and mandolin.


From about 1890 onwards he extensively advertised and sold his own patent "Highbridge" or "Finger Rest" banjos and zither-banjos, a feature of which was his own (Skinner) "Tone Bar"-a device fitted to the instrument parallel to the strings on which the little finger of the right hand could rest whilst plucking the strings.  This necessitated a violent backward slant to the neck to allow for an exceptionally high bridge, which Skinner always claimed increased the tone of the instrument.


He was the father of the extremely talented Skinner Sisters (who performed at many banjo concerts in their day) and Charles Skinner Jnr (b 1892) who was well known as a mandola player with Troise and his Mandoliers and as a London County Council Institute and H.M. Prisons instructor of fretted instruments for many years, up to the time when he was over eighty.


Although Charles Skinner Snr always stated in his advertisement and printed literature that he was a "Musical Instrument Maker," all his banjos and zither-banjos were made for him by W. E. Temlett and, later by J. G. Abbott. 


The business was closed down when Mr.Skinner Snr died in February 1922.


Images courtesy of Ken Barker

Skinner front

Charles Skinner      1849  to 1922

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