There were a number of artisans in the Broad Street area in the late eighteenth century. Ince & Mayhew took over from Charles Smith in the cabinet-making trade in 1759 and were based at the western end of Broad Street in Marshall Street. When Thomas Sheraton produced his Cabinet Dictionary in 1803, there were four other cabinet-makers in Broad Street: Hudson and Corney at Nos.4 and 13, Jermain at No.10 Broad Street, Lonsdale at No. 7 and Owen an Upholsterer at No. 54.
Thomas Sheraton was himself living at 8 Broad Street where copies of the Dictionary could be obtained. It would be very surprising if he and William Ince did not meet occasionally to discuss the trade. Thomas Sheraton died in 1806 and the writer of his obituary in the Gentlemen’s Magazine was concerned that he had left his family ‘in distressed circumstances’ mainly because since 1793 he had been supporting himself as an author. He was described as ‘a very honest well-disposed man; of an acute and enterprising disposition’.
Broad Street also housed a number of instrument makers: the harpsichord maker Jacob Kirckman, who came to England in the 1730s, had his business at No.19. He was organist of St. George's, Hanover Square, and the author of several compositions for the organ and the pianoforte which he published himself at the sign of the 'King's Arms' in Broad Street, Carnaby Market. He died in 1777 but the business was continued by his nephew, Abraham. There is record of a square piano inscribed Jacob and Abraham Kirchmann dated 1775 and a grand piano dated 1780 was also theirs[i].
Frederick Beck the piano maker was at No.4 Broad Street, producing square pianos between 1772 and 1788, with attributions to 1798. Thomas Beck, pianoforte maker was at the same address. Beck was also in business with George Corrie of 41, Broad Street about 1790[ii]. Christopher Ganer was a piano maker, inlayer, music publisher and seller initially at 22 Broad Street moving to 47 Broad Street, Soho and also at 48 Broad Street from the early 1780’s. From 1779, he made very elegant inlaid square pianos on a “French” frame stand as well as plain examples.[iii]
William Blake, the painter and poet, was born at No. 74 (then No. 28) Broad Street and after his marriage in 1782 he set up in business as a print seller next-door in No. 72 (then No. 27), but had removed to Poland Street by Christmas 1785; his partner, James Parker, remained at No. 72 until 1794.[iv] The two sculptors and carvers, Sefferin Alken and Sefferin Nelson were based in Dufours Place, a little alley off the north of Broad Street.
A National School was established in Marshall Street in 1827, described as situated at the end of Broad-street, Golden Square – the exact site that Ince & Mayhew bought from Charles Smith in 1758, as shown on the map in the Victoria County History[v]. Three school rooms were erected with apartments for the masters and mistresses plus a shop used as a depot for the Society for promoting Christian Knowledge. There were two day-schools and two evening-schools, separate for boys and girls, and an infant-school. There were over 1000 pupils in total. The school closed in 1892.
Sarah Ingle is the great great great great grand-daughter of William Ince and has been researching her family history for a number of years. She thoroughly enjoyed the detective work involved in tracing William’s lineage.