Well I guess it doesn't matter now (apart from for accuracies sake) but there are a lot of British made Banjoleles with his name on and even a few Ukuleles too; and now one of the Ukuleles is coming to Ukulele Corner! From the photos it looks in really good nick and it is very likely a London made instrument but I am keen to find out all I can about its history as thats one of the reasons I invited it. That and that it is a lovely pre WWII sunburst Ukulele that looks, (again from the photos), very pretty. Who knows, once it it here maybe it will tell me if John and his family did exist?
Its arrived and it is in every bit as good a condition as the photos suggested. There are a few chips, the finish is a little crazed and the tuners are fairly modern replacements, (oh and it has a funny mothbally smell!) but for the money it's very good! Its also very tuneful too. Everything is firmly fixed with a 12 and a half fret neck there are no worries about losing the 12 fret to neck movement like you get with a number of the early models, (though I can see no signs of neck movement here). A good original bridge no seam separation, no cracks just the replacement tuners and these have been done pretty well. It has the "made in England" label in so must date from the 1930's but is much better made than a lot of the British made ones of the time I have seen and is at least equal to any of the equivalent US made ones of the time. It is also interesting to see the John Grey bridge and neck heel (though I've not seen them on anything else so possibly these weren't made for anyone else?) It doesn't tell me if john Grey existed but it does tell me Rose Morris, (who owned the brand by this time and brought it from Barnett Samuel & Sons - now I know Barnet existed), made a fine Ukulele