Item Type: Concertina
Full Description: Rock Chidley 48-Key rosewood-ended English concertina, Serial No 5347, a first appearance of the later "Factory Hollingworth St., St James Rd, Holloway" wording, in addition to the "High Holborn" label wording. The now standard bevelled edges to the fretwork of the ends, original black leather straps. Serial No 5347, with original hexagonal rosewood veneered case. Green leather five-fold bellows, with "gilt floral scrolling" papers, but with a first instance in the Collection of the addition, in gilt lettering, of the full "Rock Chidley Manufacturer , 135 High Holborn, London W. C." address on the lower left bellows paper on the bottom bellows bout.
Concertina Summary: Rock Chidley 48-Key rosewood-ended English concertina, Serial No 5347, a first appearance of the later "Factory Hollingworth St., St James Rd, Holloway" labelling, in addition to the "High Holborn" label wording. The now standard bevelled edges to the fretwork of the ends, original black leather straps. Serial No 5347, with original rosewood veneered case.
Owner or Collection: Concertina Museum, Belper
Maker: Rock Chidley
Maker Links: The most detailed source of information on the genealogy of the Chidleys, and the premises, manufacturing and marketing of Rock Chidley instruments is Chris Flint's paper at: www.scatesconcertinas.com/rock-chidley-concertina-maker.html. A good survey by Wes Williams of Rock and Edward Chidley's various addresses and some noted instruments is at: www.concertinas.org.uk/others.htm#Chidley
Region of Manufacture: London
Main Maker's Label Wording: "Factory Hollingworth St., St James Rd, Holloway. Rock Chidley Manufacturer, 135 High Holborn, London". A selection of images of Chidley's Hollingworth Street and 135 High Holborn premises are in the Collection as Items NC 22.214.171.124-001 and NC 126.96.36.199-002.
System Type: 48-Key Treble English system
Source Catalogue No: The Concertina Museum Collection Ref:C-241.
Rock Chidley produced concertinas from about 1850 to 1868.
Rock Chidley and younger brother Edward Chidley both worked for Wheatstone. They were distantly related to Charles and William Wheatstone via shared Barnwood, Gloucestershire ancestors.
Rock Chidley produced the often featured ivory ended instrument for Wheatstone in 1848, left Wheatstone sometime around 1850 with his brother Edward, and set up at 135 High Holborn,London near New Oxford St., their father's house. They exhibited at the Great Exhibition of 1851. In 1856 they are listed as having further factory premises at Hollingworth Street North, & Wellington Street, St. James's Road, Holloway.
Rock Chidley expanded his business interests into property and a sawmill, but ran into financial trouble in 1862 when he became bankrupt. After another bankruptcy in 1868, the concertina business disappears from listings.
Edward Chidley seems to have made some concertinas in his own name, and is independently listed from 1861 to 1870 at 28 Store St, Bedford Sq. He began producing concertinas for Wheatstone about 1866, taking control of the firm soon after. By 1870 Edward is listed as an Importer and Maker of Harmoniums and Concertinas at Wheatstone's address.
Please email comments or reports of errors to
Created August 2009 by Neil Wayne
Last Modified 07 February 2012 by Neil Wayne, Chris Flint, Wes Williams
This page created Tuesday 14 February 2012.