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Barnes And Mullins

Barnes and Mullins, founded in the 1890s is still trading today mainly in guitars, saxophones and accessories.

Samuel Bowley Barnes and Albert Edward Mullins were both from Dorset although not originally from Bournemouth. Samuel Barnes was born in 1872 in Wimbourne and Albert Mullins was originally from further afield (Somerset or Gloucester) but about the same age. Samuel's father, Mark was a saddler and harness maker in Corfe Mullen high street. In 1894, they started a journal called "The Jo" specialising in banjos reflecting their interest - they were both players. The name changed to "The Troubadour" later. They moved to London in around 1900 and started a workshop and wholesalers of musical instruments in Rathbone Place, although much of the stock was simply bought in.

In 1901 Barnes and Mullins married in Christchurch. Samuel Barnes married Helen Edith Piercy and Albert Mullins married her older sister Kate Emily Piercy. The sisters were from Leyton in Essex, so how they met is a mystery.

Banjos were made for them by Abbott, Temlett, Windsor, Matthews and others.

In 1913, aged 40, Albert Mullins was drowned when the Empress of Ireland sank in the St Lawrence river as he was returning from a 2 year sales trip.

Samuel Barnes continued and his son Mark entered the business, moving it in 1976 to Grays Inn Road. Mark died in 1986 but the business continued. Barnes and Mullins Ltd is now in Oswestry, Shropshire.

 banjolin March 4, 2008