Neil Wayne is an avid concertina collector and historian. In 1996, the Horniman purchased over 600 concertinas and related European free reed instruments, such as accordions and harmoniums, collected by Wayne.
The concertina achieved widespread popularity in Victorian musical society. There was great demand for Charles Wheatstone’s English-system concertina which he patented in 1844. New makers sprang up and new models were developed. The instrument’s remarkable social mobility led to its adoption by bandsmen, folk musicians, Salvationists and social musicians around the world. By the early 1960s, however, the concertina was in serious decline, almost a forgotten instrument, as the remaining makers and players from the early 20th century had passed away.
While at university, Neil Wayne was inspired to collect and study concertinas by his 1965 meeting with Frank Butler, a fine concertina player, and the grandson of one of the Wheatstone company’s former workers, the Victorian concertina maker George Jones. Wayne became a committed collector, creating the Concertina Museum in Belper, Derbyshire. He also helped preserve the rapidly vanishing concertina heritage by founding the Concertina Newsletter and Free Reed Magazine, together with the Free Reed record label.
The Wayne Collection represents a chronicle of the concertina, from its invention by Charles Wheatstone in 1829 with the some of the earliest models and prototypes. Its purchase was generously assisted by the Heritage Lottery Fund. It also included a substantial archive, with the ledgers of the Wheatstone & Co. concertina factory now available online at http://www.horniman.info/, recordings, concertina tutors and ephemera relating to early concertina players. Neil Wayne’s current focus of collecting is on concertinas dating from before 1855.
collector and researcher (active 1965 - )