Nicholas Southwell (ca. 1760–1832): A Timeline

ca.1760 Nicholas Southwell was born (year confirmed by his age at date of death – see 1832) His place of birth is as yet unidentified.
Before 1793 He married Martha Matilda Fazakerley. Though a record of the marriage has not been located, this was the birth year of their eldest daughter Caroline (later wife of Charles Nicholson, the renowned flautist), established by her age at date of death in 1828.
1802 He was named as William Southwell’s brother in the Dublin Deed of partnership of 1 June, which established the new partnership of Nicholas, John and Francis Southwell (the latter two being William’s sons).1
1805 Nicholas is listed as a musical instrument maker in Duke-street, Liverpool in the Liverpool directory, together with his nephews ‘J’ and ‘F’.
1808 By this year he had also established a manufacturing presence at 49, Rathbone-place, London.2
1811 He began to advertise his wares in the newly established Liverpool Mercury, including his ‘lately improved PATENT PIANO FORTES, with six turned feet, crescent shaped drawers in front and gilt ornaments’. A particularly intriguing model is a ‘newly invented ELLIPTICAL DITTO [square piano], with eight feet, crescent drawers, &c., particularly adapted to stand occasionally in the centre of a room’.

He also states that he ‘is lately appointed principally Agent for the sale of Messrs. Clementi and Co.’s recently improved PIANO FORTES’.
1817 He advertised a newly completed CABINET PIANO FORTE, which he claims is an improved version of his brother William’s design. He names the artists who have finished the exterior ‘in the best Chinese style’ as ‘Messrs Smith and Mason, artists of the first celebrity, from London’.
1820 A notice in The London Gazette announces the dissolution of the partnership of Nicholas Southwell and Stephen White, organ builders of Liverpool. This is the first mention of Southwell involvement in this field located by the author.
1821–1829 Nicholas is listed in Liverpool directories at various addresses in Duke-street as both an organ builder and pianoforte maker.
1821 Martha Southwell died.
1832 Nicholas Southwell died and was buried in St. James Cemetery, Liverpool. The burial register gives his age as 72 years.

1 Registry of Deeds in Dublin: book No. 551, pages 111–12, memorandum No. 362400 (transcribed in full in Bozarth and Debenham, Piano Wars [2009], Appendix 5, 96).
2 Margaret Debenham (2013); William Southwell (1736/7–1825): Anglo-Irish Musical Instrument Inventor and Maker – an Extraordinary Life, 19-20.
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