John Avery (organ builder)

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John Avery (c. 1755 - 1807) was one of the main organ builders in England during the late 18th and early 19th centuries.[1]

Life[edit]

The organ builder John Avery was mainly based in London. He had a reputation as a colourful character, occasionally falling foul of the law, being declared bankrupt in 1775[2] and again in 1801,[3] and having a reputation as a ‘shocking drunken character’.[4] Despite this he was responsible for some important organs, including those in King’s College, Cambridge and Winchester Cathedral.

He appeared at the Old Bailey as a witness in two trials in 1797:

  • on 12 July 1797 in the trial of Henry Gray, who was accused of stealing a handkerchief from John Avery's pocket.[5]
  • on 20 September 1797 in the trial of Joseph Robson, who was accused of stealing John Avery's tools.[6]

One of his apprentices, Alexander Buckingham went on to work with Thomas Elliot before becoming an independent organ builder.

He died in Giltspur Street Compter.

Organs[edit]

Not much work by Avery survives, but there is an organ at Ponsonby Baptist Church, New Zealand, and one in the Finchcocks collection at Goudhurst, Kent.

A list of new organs built by Avery includes:

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Making of the Victorian Organ. Nicholas Thistlethwaite. 1999
  2. ^ Hampshire Chronicle - Monday 27 November 1775
  3. ^ Morning Chronicle - Monday 14 December 1801
  4. ^ The History of the English Organ. Stephen Bicknell, Cambridge University Press. 1999
  5. ^ Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.0, 26 March 2013), July 1797, trial of HENRY GRAY (t17970712-70).
  6. ^ Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.0, 26 March 2013), September 1797, trial of JOSEPH ROBSON (t17970920-67).