Around 1840 Roger John Ward arrived in Liverpool from Dublin as a Musical Instrument Maker. Within 10 years he was married with 4 children living at 64 Albert Street, Everton.
He opened a musical instrument shop in Liverpool in which he sold brass band instruments fashioned by hand.
In 1870 his son Richard Joseph Ward (b 1854) had aqquired the business and, with his sons, had established a flourishing shop and factory at 10 and 12 St Anne Street Liverpool. By 1905 the firm, although still advertising itself as 'Military Band Instrument Manufacturers' had added banjos and mandolins to the instruments they made and sold.
Their smooth-arm banjos had ornately engraved nickel silver encased hoops, with the neck and perchpoles made of solid ebony, (rosewood) highly polished. The fingerboards were made of richly engraved nickel sliver. Some of the banjos were made with hoops as large as 16” and all were fitted with pegs of the push in type made of ivory.
It is possible the banjos made by R.J.Ward and sons of Liverpool
were made individually by a lone workman for your author has seen an instrument marked made for B.Chamberlain by R.J. Ward & sons Liverpool' .
The example shown in the pictures is being restored but clearly the company, at some time, also opperated out of 67 Dale Street, Liverpool (as did George Jordan) Edward J Ward also ran a music business out of St Anne Street and he died in 1920.
The firm closed down about 1931 but is believed they ceased making banjos some years before this date.
hand note -surely 'made by B Chamberlain for R.J.Ward?