Joseph Scates Concertinas



First let me apologise for the 'oddities' in the 'footnotes' in the Joseph Scates Review, these are attributable to the problems incurred converting a document saved in.wps to a PDF document. It didn't like it!! And what's more - it wouldn't let me correct them, so apologies for this aesthetic issue (it annoys the hell out of me!!!).

I say in the 'review' (see PDF) the reasons for my interest in Joseph Scates stems from curiosity as to who actually made my Joseph Scates concertina. When I bought it in the late 80's I had never seen a concertina 'close up' before but thought that it looked 'interesting' and as I had a bit of cash spare from having given up smoking, a couple of years previously, I dashed off down to my local library to find an instruction book on concertinas and managed to establish that it was an 'English' and from the key layout was able to ascertain that it was mostly 'in tune' but did have a bit of a leak in the bellows. Using this information I was able to haggle the shop down from £52 to £48 - I now owned a concertina!  Enquiries for 'people' who would know how to sort my problems out gave me the name: Steve Dickinson at Milton Keynes. I first repaired the bellows with a bit of waterproof anorak (crude but it lasted nearly thirty years!) and as I was going to a folk festival at Milton Keynes, made arrangements to visit Steve's workshop. He tuned the 2/3 reeds that were seriously 'out', ascertained that it was in 'concert pitch' and ventured the thought that it may have been made by Wheatstone - hooray- I had heard of Wheatstone - even if I hadn't heard of Joseph Scates.

Nothing much happened with the concertina for a whole lot of years! Until my wife and I decided to go to Canada, touring the Rockies for a couple of weeks in 2006. I couldn't face the thought of being without an instrument, even for a couple of weeks. Taking a guitar with us was somewhat impractical and my wife suggested taking the concertina. In order to take the concertina - without  having to worry about it falling apart the day we got to Canada, required having new bellows and thumb straps fitted ( the work was done by Dave Leese- great job).

Having, now brought the concertina to the forefront of my mind - it raised the original question - who actually made it!!

Thus started the 'research' I waded through all the articles that I could find concerning concertinas- Neil Wayne, Wes Williams Stephen Chambers, George Jones etc., various online resources, to name but two it also meant learning about 'genealogy'. I waded through pages of newspapers (online) pages of census fact any source that I could find. One consequence of my developing interest in genealogy was that my wife got the 'bug' and started work on her family history!

My wife's research into her family history found her grandfather, who served as a Sergeant Major in the Royal Fusilliers. This is where 'Coincidencies along the way....' (part of 'the review') brought another coincidence to light. My wifes Grandfather lived in a village called Qeniborough which is along the road from Melton Mowbray to Leicester. Another village along this road is Kirby Bellars, and about a mile away is a village called Eye Kettleby (comprising a Hall and a couple of farms). My wifes grandfather was wont to visit a pub in Kirby Bellars (called The Flying Childers) for the occasional drink. Sir Gerald Hanson and his wife lived at Eye Kettleby Hall (seriously into hunting -rode with the Quorn!). Sir Gerald was a Captain in............. you've guessed it The Royal Fusilliers and in the same battalion and at the same time as my wifes Grandfather........small world isn't it!!!!!!!!!!

Chris Flint

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