Born in St Pancras, London he never knew his father and by the time he was 15 he was working as a messenger boy.
Aged 25 he was just married and Landlord of the Waterloo pub in High Street, Huntingdon, Huntingdonshire. He soon moved back to London where he was working as a musical instrument repairer and ten years later was living at 14 Bolton Street Lambeth with a son and 6 daughters all under 10 years old.
He flourished in the early 1870s, both as a maker of banjos with both he and his wife as teachers of the instrument. His banjos at that time were typical of the period: deep (5 in.) hoop of wood (with undulant bottom edge), wide unfretted neck, push-in pegs, and six or eight heavy straining brackets.
By 1882 he has premises in Duke Street at the peak of his career and with his wife they are listed as “Professors of the Banjo”
In 1885 he was granted a patent for a metal hoop for the banjo "with an annular groove in it to receive the tension bolts and to which the handle (neck) is attached." In section this hoop was something like the figure 5 minus the tail.
By 1891 he moved to South London and was living at 10 Mill Lane Streatham and ten years later he was a music teacher living with son in law at 95 Amesbury Avenue Streatham.
Henry John James Spratt 1836 - 1920
Do you have a pre 1940's banjo by this maker? can you supply us some images?