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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Canterbury Provincial District]

Music Dealers, Importers, Etc

Music Dealers, Importers, Etc.

Milner And Thompson (Robert Thompson, sote proprietor), Manufacturers and Importers of Pianos and Organs, and General Musical Warehousemen, 106 Manchester Street, Christchurch. This business dates back to 1863, when it was established by Mr. John Lewis, by whom it was conducted in the Crystal Palace Buildings, Market Square, Christchurch, till 1874. It was then purchased by Messrs Milner and Thompson. Mr. Milner retired from the firm in 1879, and the business was then carried on, as it is now, under the management of Mr. R. Thompson, senior, the sole proprietor. Mr. Thompson has from early manhood been intimately associated with music and matters relating to it. He was born at Harrow, Middlesex, England, in 1835, educated at one of the celebrated Harrow schools, and arrived at Lyttelton in 1856.

Jenkins, Edgar Henry, Organ Builder, Ferry Road, Christchurch. Mr. Jenkins' factory, situated in Ferry Road, is a fine large hall, where six hands are employed in organ construction. Mr. Jenkins has built some of the finest organs in New Zealand, and he has supplied some of the largest churches in the colony with instruments, which take the highest place for beauty of tone and perfection of mechanism. The organ in St. John's Church, Latimer Square, was rebuilt by him in 1875, with twenty-nine stops and 1300 pipes, and was at that time considered the largest in New Zealand. Mr. Jenkins built the fine organ in the Wesleyan Church, Kaiapoi, and also built and erected that in use at St. Bartholomew's Church in the same place. The fine organ used at the Christchurch Cathedral in its earlier days, and which now does duty in Merivale Church, was built and erected by Mr. Jenkins, and the splendid organ now in the Cathedral, built by Messrs Hill and Son, of London, was erected and fitted with a gas motive power by him. Mr. Jenkins also built and erected the fine organ at Avonside Church. The organ of the Congregational Church, Moray Place, Dunedin, which is considered one of the finest in the southern churches, was also built by Mr Jenkins. High-class testimonials from Wanganui and Gisborne churches give further evidence of Mr. Jenkins' skill. During the Exhibition held at Wellington in 1885, his organ on exhibition there was used at all the recitals and oratorios held in the building, and was afterwards purchased for St. Mary's Catholic Church, Christchurch. Besides the numerous instruments built by him to order Mr. Jenkins has re-built, enlarged, and repaired many others with the most satisfactory results. Flattering notices of his workmanship have at various times appeared in the English musical papers, and some of the leading New Zealand organists have borne testimony to its perfection. He built to order the fine organ in use at the new North Belt Presbyterian Church, Christchurch. Mr. Jenkins was born in England, and learned his business with Messrs Hill and Son, of London, the eminent English organ builders. In 1858 he went to Paris to gain greater experience in the various branches of his profession, and was engaged by Messrs Cavaille, Coll, and Co., the builders of the celebrated organ at the Madeline, and of the monumental organ at the Church of St. Surplice, Paris. After some time he was sent by that firm to build an organ at St. Sebastian, in the north of Spain, on the construction of which he was engaged two years. On his return to Paris his employers were so pleased with his ability that they made him tempting offers to remain, but he decided to return to London, and re-entered the service of his old employers, Messrs Hill and Son, with whom he remained six years. In 1869 he arrived in New Zealand, where he became manager for his brother, who then owned extensive flax mills at Kaiapoi: the mills have since been rebuilt and converted into the Kaiapoi Woollen Mills. In 1871 Mr. Jenkins returned to Christchurch, with the intention of following his profession as organ builder, and his first contract was the enlargement of the organ at St. John's Church, Latimer Square. Since his arrival in New Zealand Mr. Jenkins has refrained from taking part in political matters, although he was well known in that connection in England. He took a prominent part in the popular agitation in favour of the Reform Bill of 1863. As Secretary of the Organ Builders' Society, he was deputed with Mr George Potter (a prominent leader of the reform party) to interview Mr. Disraeli and Lord John Manners, to allow the reformers to hold a demonstration in Hyde Park. The people considered this to be their right, but the Government was equally determined to refuse. Messrs Potter and Jenkins were then deputed to call on Lord Ranlegh, who gave permission to hold the meeting at Beaufort grounds, Brompton, and thus got the Government out of a serious difficulty. At the meeting which ensued 25,000 persons took part, and Mr. Jenkins marshalled over 10,000 of those who took part in the procession. The result was that the Conservative Government passed the Reform Bill, giving a large extension of the franchise. Mr. Jenkins in his early years, was an enthusiastic volunteer, and at the age of nineteen he volunteered for service in the Crimea, where he took part in the siege of Sebastopol, and received the Crimean and Turkish medals and the Sebastopol clasps. He was afterwards employed by the Aeronautical Society—of which Lord Holland and the late Duke of Argyll were presidents—to construct a flying machine, but he failed after repeated attempts. Previous to his departure for New Zealand Mr. Jenkins was presented with a purse of sovereigns by the London and provincial organ builders, in recognition of his services to the organ building trade. Mr. Jenkins is assisted in his business by his son, who gives promise of great ability in his father's profession.

Standish and Preece, photo.Mr. E. H. Jenkins.

Standish and Preece, photo.
Mr. E. H. Jenkins.

Sandford, Frederick William, Organ Builder, 62 Antigua Street, Christchurch. Mr. Sandford is more fully referred to elsewhere as manual instructor to the Board of Education, and instructor in carpentry at Christ's College and Grammar School. He has been engaged in organbuilding on his own account since 1884, his workshop being situated at the back of his private residence in Antigua Street. Mr. Sandford undertakes to repair and enlarge instruments, as well as to build new organs to order.