Windsor tenor banjo

Contributed by Alan Worrall

During the early years of the 20th century there were up to 100 banjo manufacturers in Britain, ranging from individual craftsmen to factories employing scores of workers. One of the biggest was the Windsor company of Birmingham.

The founder, Arthur Octavius Windsor, had a small factory making coffin "furniture". His hobby was playing the banjo and when the instrument became universally popular he created and constructed his own designs. The instruments were snapped up by enthusiasts and eventually he set up a specialised factory in Newhall Street, Birmingham.

The firm was in existence for nearly 50 years but it ceased to exist in December 1940 when the factory was destroyed during a German air raid. Until then Windsor was probably the largest manufacturer of fretted instruments ever known in Britain, producing thousands of banjos each year.

This banjo is an Ambassador Supremus in The Whirle range (registration number 450220). It is a 19 fret tenor banjor with a Pyxe tailpiece and Pancake tuning gears

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