Edward Withers was the founder of the oldest existing violin shop in the UK. The original firm was founded as long ago as 1765 by Norris & Barnes which later became R. & W. Davis in 1818. Following the retirement of William Davis in 1846, the enigmatic Edward Withers took over the firm and so it continued in the same family for over 120 years until 1969 when the last Edward (they were called “Edward” to perpetuate the name) retired.
Amongst the great names associated with the shop are the fascinating and brilliant 19th century maker John Lott, the French emigre Charles Boullangier and his namesake Charles Maucotel to name just a few.
From 1969, Dietrich Kessler carried the torch and made great strides in further establishing the fine reputation of the company, particularly in the restoration department and the making of instruments of the viol family. Many fine antique instruments and bows of the violin family were also bought and sold during this time.
Mr. Kessler “retired” from shop life in 1987, and Adam Whone became owner/director, carrying on business in the same Wardour Street shop that had been the home of Withers since 1878. High class repairs, restoration and service to musicians carried on as did the expertise and dealing in fine violins, violas, cellos and bows.
In 1991 the shop moved for the first time in 113 years into fine new premises in Windmill Street, W1 where it continued very successfully until 1997 when the firm ceased to trade in the West End.
Edward Withers Ltd circa 1895 (0r 1996?)