Longman, Broderip and Clementi

The story of William Southwell’s business relationship with Longman and Broderip (later followed by  Longman, Clementi and Co. and then Clementi and Co.) is related in Debenham's co-authored paper with Professor George Bozarth ‘Piano Wars: the Legal Machinations of London Pianoforte Makers, 1795–1806’ (2009) in The Royal Musical Association Research Chronicle Vol. 42. London: Royal Musical Association, 45-108. ISSN 1472-3808.


In the years 1801–6 a series of lawsuits were filed in various London courts involving many of England's top piano manufacturers. Swirling around a lawsuit by the Anglo-Irish piano inventor William Southwell against John and James Shudi Broadwood for infringement of his seminal 1794 patent were actions involving the opportunistic James Longman, his brother John Longman, his partner Francis Fane Broderip, and his successors, Muzio Clementi & Co., as well as George Astor, the firm of Culliford, Rolfe & Barrow, August Leukfeld, and George Wilkinson. In this article the authors reconstruct the issues and outcomes of these legal actions and their ramifications for William Southwell, who emerges as a victim of his own inventive success, and the nascent English piano industry. We draw upon the original court papers, as well as a family memoir of Southwell, the parish record of his burial in 1825, the 1802 partnership agreement of Southwell & Co., contemporary newspaper notices, prison records, apprenticeship records, the wills of several of the makers, and newly located original drawings and descriptions for patents by Southwell (1794) and his son, William junior (1837), held at The National Archives, Kew.

Note: Debenham has access to a limited number of complimentary e-prints of 'Piano Wars', available on request for readers without access to this Journal via an academic library. Please mail her via the Contact link on the Home page if you would like a copy.


Two further articles by Debenham relating to the later activities of James Longman are available - click on the following highlighted link to the New Resources page of her personal website for access to the pdfs of her full text papers

Article 1: Margaret Debenham (2011). 131 Cheapside: The Longman Connection


The story recounted in this article is a sequel to that described in Debenham's co-authored paper with Professor George Bozarth, ‘Piano Wars: the Legal Machinations of London Pianoforte Makers, 1795–1806’ (2009).  The evidence she presents provides new insights into the history of James Longman in his final years, in particular focusing on his relationship with John Longman of 131, Cheapside. Primary source materials consulted include original court case documents, newspaper and magazine notices, directory entries and wills.

[Author’s note: It is important to note that the John Longman of 131, Cheapside was a young kinsman of James Longman and not the same person as James’  brother John of Milborne Port, who was in financial partnership with Clementi for several years, following the Longman and Broderip bankruptcy]

Article 2: Margaret Debenham (2012). 131 Cheapside: The Longman Connection: Postscript

This short paper presents a summary of information to supplement that discussed in Debenham (2011) 131 Cheapside: The Longman Connection. The sources reported include:

  • a newspaper advertisement dated February 1802, relating to the business of ‘Longman and Co.’ at 131, Cheapside
  • a Sun Fire Insurance Company record for Richard Hovill, cooper of Wapping, dated 1801
  • a death notice for Dr Barton of Berners Street in June 1801.

These records highlight connections between James Longman, his kinsman John Longman [of 131, Cheapside], Richard Hovill and Dr Joseph Barton of Berners Street.

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