BY W.G. BARRETT
The compiler of the attached notes on Pinxton in the 1890’s was a ‘local character’ in his own right. He was born in London in 1878. His father, a silversmith, died when he was still at school, leaving his mother and five children. The eldest brother who took over the duty of breadwinner worked in the London office of Pinxton Collieries. As a promotion he was sent to the Pinxton offices, and mother and the rest of the family were found a colliery cottage. On leaving Pinxton school ‘Will’ as he was affectionately called, joined his brother in the colliery offices.
While in London Will had been a choir boy, and on showing great interest in the work of the church organ tuner was encouraged to assist, and taught how to tune a pipe. From that time on his great ambition was to be an organ builder.
When he reached school leaving age, the lack of finances dictated that he forgo all hopes of an apprenticeship with an organ builder, and make a contribution to the family income. However, he saved all the pocket money he could, and persuaded Henry Jackson, the Lincoln organ builder, to give him instruction in the craft at weekends. To benefit from this, Will had to cycle the forty miles to Lincoln – there being no money for train fares.
By the time he was thirty he was working spare time as an organ tuner in his own right, and had built his workshop on Wharf Road. His wife and daughter kept shop at the front of the premises, and with their help Will was able to hand in his notice at the colliery offices. He had at last achieved his ambition of becoming a full time organ builder.
His reputation was such that his own name should rightly be added to his list of Pinxton worthies.