Life and work of James Jepson Binns
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This thesis is the first study of the life and work of Leeds organ builder James Jepson Binns (1854-1929). It is not the intention to provide a full technological evaluation of Binns' work, but rather to provide a historical evaluation of his work which is placed into a wider historical context. First, Binns' family background and life are examined; then his career in organ building is traced from its beginnings as an apprentice to the firm Radcliffe and Sagar at the age of 11. His time with Abbott and Co., prior to commencing organ building in his own right, is assessed; and finally the origins and development of his own company is traced from its founding in 1880 up to his death in 1929. The examination of Binns' company is split into three distinct periods, mirroring its rise and decline. Since Binns' first ledger book is considered to be lost, the author has reconstructed what it is likely to have contained and has discussed its content chronologically. The patents granted to Binns are also discussed chronologically and placed into historical context. A survey of the company's work and output in each of the three periods is given, with examples drawn from the surviving ledger books. The decline of the company was partly as a result of the Great War and is given due consideration. Through this study of Binns' life and work, a picture emerges of the British organ building industry from 1880 to 1930. In conclusion, an assessment is made of Binns' place within this and the factors that contributed to his success.