John Broadwood & Sons Pianoforte Manufactory

From London's Ghost Acres

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1823 to 1902


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Located in



Grand piano, semi-grand piano, square piano, cottage upright piano, cabinet piano

Used Raw Materials

Timber, Mahogany, Cedar, Fir, Lime-tree, Beech, Sycamore, Rosewood, Beef-wood, Oak, Pine, Wire, Glue, Ivory, Ebony, Iron, Steel, Brass, Lead, Cloth, Vellum, Felt, Wool, Leather

|1823 |1902 |John Broadwood & Sons |-


Extensive details on factory layout and manufacturing process: George Dodd, Days at the Factories; or, The Manufacturing Industry of Great Britain Described, Series 1: London (London, 1843; repr. New York, 1967), 387–408.

“1842 - 2,500 pianos a year were being made in the great factory in Horseferry Road, Westminster. Broadwoods were one of the twelve largest employers of labour in London, in an industry that was still craft-based with all parts made in-house.

1856 - The Horseferry Road factory burnt down. Only about 200 pianos salvaged. Production continued elsewhere until the factory could be rebuilt.

1902 - Factory moved to Old Ford, Hackney, with new machinery and methods. Cuthbert Heath "the father of British insurance" became Chairman, his sister having married a Broadwood son.”

Dodd mentions that Spanish mahogany was preferred over Honduras mahogany, but both were used. Mahogany was also shipped in from Mexico, British West Indies, Central America, and British Honduras. Cedar was shipped in from Cuba, Mexico, and Central America. Fir was shipped in from Russia, Sweden, Norway, Germany, and British North America (Canada). Oak was shipped in from Russia, United States of America , Prussia (Germany), and British North America (Canada). Ivory was shipped in from Foreign West Africa Not Particularly Designated, East Coast of Africa Native States, and British East Indies. Ebony was shipped in from Western Coast of Africa not Particularly Designated, India Singapore and Ceylon, and Cuba.

Kent, Marie. “The Piano-Industry Workforce in Mid-Victorian England: a Study of the 1881 Census.” Royal Musical Association Research Chronicle 46:1 (2015): 95-158. DOI: 10.1080/14723808.2014.986259