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Renaissance Workshop Company
The foremost manufacturer of early musical instruments worldwide

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The Old History and the Legacy
Initially producing pianos and sheet music, Joe Wood & Sons (Beethoven House) was established in 1850 in Huddersfield with the name of 'Wood & Marshall' by the organist and choirmaster of St. Paul's, in that town, Joseph Wood and his own pupils Joshua Marshall and John North. In 1877, Wood extended his empire to Bradford, sending his son William to take over a music business already established there (d'Este's). Marshall remained a partner in the firm until his death (in 1902) after several attempts, legally quite indefensible, to oust him from music business by Joe's sons. Political machinations of this kind were to recur in later years.

The business flourished all through the Victorian era and has sometimes expanded, sometimes contracted: at various times there have been shops in Halifax, Leeds and Skipton. It has also survived three fires, two in Bradford (1905 and 1977), the other in Huddersfield (1964).

In recent years, the most significant developments have taken place in the firm's Bradford arm which, after receiving a fairly large education order about 1963, initiated its specialization to Early Music and started to operate in 1968 with the name 'The Early Music Shop'.

In Germany, the Early Music revival movement had begun much earlier than in England and the small workshops of Moeck Verlag, Rainer Weber and Gunter Korber produced most of the world's only available early instruments since the 50s.

Supply still outstripped demand throughout the 1970s to the extend that 'J Wood & Sons Ltd.' began making their own instruments in a workshop in the firm's attic. Under the direction of Jonathan M. Askey, the attic became two floors of the shop, the catalogues became more comprehensive and the firm's clientele soon covered the entire globe, with agents in most countries of the world.

In 1995, the firm was demerged into two separate companies. The original J Wood & Sons Ltd operated in Bradford; the other in Huddersfield. In 1999, Richard Wood, the founder's great-great-grandson, sold separately the Bradford's showroom to G A Williams of Darlington and Newcastle that continued operating it as 'The Early Music Shop' and the workshops were sold to Jonathan M. Askey, who had managed the business since he joined the company back in 1972 and continued to drive the workshop with a new name: 'The Renaissance Workshop Company Ltd'.

Located in the same building until 2004, having been in the past part of it, and sharing the same product catalogue, the Renaissance Workshop Company (RWC) grew under the shadow of the Early Music Shop (EMS) and not all the customers realised that the EMS had become a mere dealer of RWC.

Now the company has recently been re-established in a new premises in Spain and is still owned by his founder Mr Askey.

At Renaissance Workshop Company we take our heritage very seriously and endeavour to provide the exceptional level of service that has become a standard in our long history.

 

Most of the information of this article has been obtained from the book 'Music Making in the west riding of Yorkshire', published by R H Wood and Adrian Smith in November 2000


Copyright © 1999 Renaissance Workshop Company Ltd.
Last modification: 17 de septiembre de 2010
Phone & Fax:(+34) 91 450 30 50