Humphreys (c.1867-1935)


A relatively little known family of makers of both reed organs and harmoniums who built the Endsleigh Organ, including some quite large examples. We don't know why it was named Endsleigh, except that Endsleigh Street and Endsleigh Gardens are in Bloomsbury close to Euston Square where the Humphreys worked. Do you know more?

I have to thank Keith Bishop, Charles Humphreys' great grandson, for providing some information about the family.

James Humphreys (b.1842-d.1900) was established in 1882 at 198 Seymour Street, Oakley Street, Euston Square, London and later moved to 35 Drummond Street, Euston Square where the firm was known as J. Humphreys and Son. The latter address must have been quite close to Euston station, but is no longer to be found today. Some 3MP instruments were built and a combined piano and organ with 58 stops, over 1,000 reeds and registers from 32' to 1' pitch.

James Humphreys was listed as a harmonium finisher in the 1871 census. He later advertised as a reed maker being the cheapest house in London for reeds in 1883. His wares were for sale via the widely established trade.

J.W. Humphreys, possibly son of John the founder [James ?], died in Jan'1932 (coincidentally the same month as John Holt, see Chapter 10). His brother A.T. Humphreys carried on the business for a few years.


A. and E. Humphreys Ltd. of Little Camden Street, King Street, Camden Town which was established in 1883 to produce American organs and pianos. Alfred (b.1852-d.?) and Edwin (b.1853-d.1932) were brothers of James, and there was less than 1 mile separating the two firms. In 1871 they had been listed as french polisher and harmonium finisher respectively, but see below.

There are a few pianos known to still exist with the A. and E. Humphreys label.

Another brother, Charles Humphreys (b.1855-d.1926) was also in business since 1883 until around 1902 from 16 Crawley Mews, Seymour Street, Euston Square. In 1871 he worked as an errand boy aged only 16, but later he specialised in making bellows.


Seymour Street was at some time re-named Eversholt Street. Also living at the same address in 1871 is a William C. Coutan [or Cowtan] whose occupation is given as Harmonium Case Maker.

An agent for Humphreys in Scotland was C.P. Stevenson, the Arcade, Stirling c.1894.

It is possible that when the firms ceased trading in the 1930's a descendant of one of the brothers went to work for Compton Organs.

Do not confuse with J. Humphrey & Co. Ltd. piano manufacturers of Leeds Place, Finsbury Park.

Instruments by J. Humphreys

Instruments for Silent Films

In addition to the Endsleigh Organ, there was an attachment for pianos which contained a reed organ and was patented. The demand for such instruments was growing for use in accompaniment of silent films and were also made by Stevens among others. Another impressive combined piano and organ was the Orgapian of Whomes. The instruments built to accompany silent films are described separately in Chapter 27.

Averesch Museum 1M/3:3

There are a few pressure instruments still in existance. One is at the Ulrich Averesch Museum in Bollschweil, Germany.

The collection includes the Endsleigh Organ number 25498, built in London in 1900. This organ has a light oak case and 3 ranks of reeds by Estève of Paris tuned to A=452Hz. It measures 49-1/2'' high x 51'' wide x 23-1/2'' deep.

The instrument was restored by Klaus Wahlers in Kreuztal in 1996. Its useful English style specification is as follows: Forte, Viola Dolce 4', Saudine 8', Clairon 4', Bourdon 16', Diapason Bass 8', Expression, Diapason Treble 8', Clarionet 16', Principal 4', Tremolo (16'), Forte, Octave Coupler.


This one was offered for sale on e-Bay in Dec'2006. It has no stops.


Mr. Holter's

A reed organ by Endsleigh c.1890, was advertised by Godfrey Holter on the Reed Organ and Harmonium Workshop Web site in Jan'2004. It has five octaves, eleven stops, knee swells and is in good working order with bellows in good condition. The attractive cabinet has an oiled finish.

Polly Lane's 2-manual Endsleigh

This was first for sale on the Cambridge Reed Organ site and then also on Chris Hampson's site in late 2007.

Free to good home: two manual Endsleigh reed organ marked J. Humphreys and Sons London. In need of restoration. Owner states, As far as I can see there is no woodworm externally but have not examined inside. Dimensions 27 1/2''d x57 3/4''w x 55''h. This was my grandfather's who enjoyed many, many hours of enjoyment playing this organ, but I think the bellows have gone but having very minimum musical knowledge it needs an expert to have a look and see exactly what needs doing.

2x 61 note manuals
angled stop jambs

Swell:                        Great:
Flute                         Principal
Salicional                    Gamba
Oboe                          Bourdon
Dulciana                      Diapason
Voix Celeste                  Sub Bass
Swell to Great                Octave
Vox Humana                    Forte

two knee swells
treadles and blowing handle

This is a two manual suction organ with 14 stops and blowing via both pedals and handle. It also has the usual knee levers.


2M in Westcliffe-on-Sea

This one is not confirmed to be by Humphreys, but Ian Thompson suggested it probably is. It was for sale in Westcliffe-on-Sea, Essex via FaceBook in Nov'2020.


For an almost identical instrument with the Wallis shop label, see Chapter 31.37.

1M/5:5 Endsleigh in Canterbury

This one is in a similar style to Polly Lane's but a slightly larger specification. It however only has a single manual with 61-note F-f compass. The case is finished in dark oak, and it is clearly designed to be used in a small church, having a console resembling a pipe organ.


Malcolm Hall noted: I have worked in the pipe organ trade for many years at the Kent based company of F.H. Browne & Sons Ltd, and have owned and restored several American reed organs during my career. During the early 1980s, I came across a large one manual instrument which had been stored in an old wood store near Newington in Kent, which had suffered many years of neglect and ill treatment. I received a request from a friend to restore this job, and at the moment it is housed in a finance office just outside Canterbury. I have enclosed several recent photos, and include the following details.

The instrument has a solid oak case (back included).

It has the unusual feature of external swell shutters behind the music rest.

The stop action was operated by (as far as I can remember) some sort of cotton covered wire pulling the reed cover bars open via pulleys instead of the normal slotted ``lolly pop'' devices.

The pedals have a lockable cover, and there is the usual key fall, augmented by a full cover locking into the same position as the key cover.

The specification is as follows:

Bass:                     Treble:            
Principal 4'              Flute 4'           
Sub Bass 16'              Echo 8'            
Diapason 8'               (Dulciana) 8'      
(Gamba) 8'                Melodia 8'         
Aeolian Harp 2'           Vox Celeste 8'     
Bourdon 16'               Saxophone 8'       
Vox Humana (fan)          Oboe 8'            
Bass Coupler              Treble Coupler     
Forte                     Forte

3MP/17 Humphreys

The specification of this large instrument was given by Phil and Pam Fluke in the Aug'1983 edition of ROS Bulletin. It is said to have measured 8' high by 4'6'' deep and 5' wide. It probably has over 1,000 reeds. The Flukes noted that this organ is thought to have been built by Humphreys for another organ builder.

3x 61 note manuals
30 note pedalboard

Swell:                   Celesta:            
Bourdon 16'              Harp Aeolian 8'                
Gamba 8'                 Clarinet 8'                    
Voix Celeste 8'          Celest 4'                      
Oboe 8'                  Flute 4'                       
Open Diapason 8'         Forte                          
Clarion 4'                                              
Vox Humana               Great:                         
                         Double Diapason 16'            
Couplers:                Trumpet 8'          
Swell-Great              Open Diapason 8'    
Swell-Pedal              Dulciana 8'         
Great-Pedal              Principal 4'        
Celesta-Swell 16'        Twelfth 2-2/3'      
Celesta-Swell            Fifteenth 2'        
Swell Octave             Forte               
                         Trombone 16'        
                         Violone 8'          
                         Open Diapason 8'    
                         Violoncello 16'

This is the only specification I have seen of an English reed organ with a ``harmonic'' stop, the Great Twelfth. This would work with the Principal 4' as an acoustic stop to augment the 8' tone, and is quite common in pipe organs. It would have had to be carefully tuned. The Fifteenth is also quite unusal. It is also the only one with a non-unison manual coupler (the Celesta-Swell 16'). The designation of a ``Celesta'' manual is also unique, and the Celest 4' may indeed have been a set of bells as in the Celesta invented by Mustel. This may have been made as an exhibition piece. Further history of this instrument is not currently known, but see below.

Actually, in discussion with other members of the RO mailing list, we have discovered that quite a few Dutch reed organs had harmonic stops. Further information can be provided by Louis Huivenaar and Frans van der Grijn.

3MP Endsleigh in Netherlands

I was contacted in Oct'2022 by the owner of an actual instrument very similar to the one above. It has the J. Humpreys and Sons Drummond Street maker's label and also ``Endsleigh Organ'' in gold script stencil. The large case is in stained dark wood.

I was told that it came from a large farm house in the North Netherlands. More information about its history would be welcome. Now having seen photos I have revised the layout order of the stops above to correspond with this one which seems to be slightly different in detail.

3x 61 note manuals
30 note pedalboard

Swell:                   Celesta:            
Voix Celeste 8'          Flute 4'
Gamba 8'                 Celesta 4'
Clarion 4'               Harp Aeolian 8'                               
Double Diapason 16'      [face missing]
Oboe 8'                  Forte
Diapason 8'              
Vox Humana               Great:                         
                         Gamba 8'
Couplers:                Fifteenth 2'
Swell-Great              [face missing]
Celesta-Swell Sub Oct    Dulciana 8'
Swell Super Octave       Open Diapason 8'
Swell-Pedal              Principal 4'
Celesta-Swell            Forte
Great-Pedal              Twelfth 2-2/3'
                         Trombone 16'        
                         Violone 8'          
                         Open Diapason 8'    
                         Bourdon 16'     

balanced centre Swell pedal
4x combination pedals

In addition to the unusual details noted above the photos show that this instrument also has partly pneumatic stop action.


2MP Endsleigh in Dallas

An advert for a 2MP Endsleigh organ appered in the May 2003 issue of Crescendo magazine of the Dallas chapter of the American Guild of Organists. It was in Grace United Methodist Church, Dallas. It was noted to have two 16' ranks and approx. 100 years old.

2MP/7 in South Africa

This one belongs to Adrian de Villiers who wrote to me in Apr'2008 as follows.

It's a two manual ``Endsleigh Organ''. The name is in gold transfer, with ``Endsleigh'' on the far left and ``Organ'' on the far right. I looked it up in Gellerman's Atlas and saw it was made by J. Humphreys, who I see is mentioned on your site.

It's a two manual organ with only 3 ranks of reeds per manual and six stops per manual, and there's one rank on the pedals. It has some useful couplers though. It is still hand pumped from the side. After restoring my single manual Kimball's insides, I tackled some refurb. work on the Endsleigh and had ordered trays of pieces filling many rooms in my parents' house. The organ has two wind chests (vacuum chests?); one below the Great reed pan and one at the top of the organ, above the Swell reed pan. The pedals are concave.

The organ is probably nothing special and I know one used to find this type of two manual in every English country chapel or school, but I was so delighted when I found it. I never thought one would ever come my way. One very seldom sees anything more than the [standard] American reed organ in South Africa.

2x 61 note manuals CC-c'''
pedals 30 note CC-f

Swell:                          Great:
Flute 4'                        missing 16' (?) 
Principal 4'                    Clarinet 16'
Dulciana 8'                     Gamba 8'
Oboe 8'                         Diapason 8'
Contra Gamba 16'                Viola 4'
Double Diapason 16'             Gemshorn 4'
Vox Humana                      Forte

Couplers:                       Pedal:
Great Octave                    Bourdon 16' (?)
Swell to Pedal                  Open Diapason 16'
Swell to Great                  Forte
Great to Pedal

1x balanced swell pedal
1x exhauster pedal
1x Grand Jeu (without couplers)
1x reversible Great-Pedal coupler

pg_vi.jpg endsleigh_2mp.jpg pg_vii.jpg

Note: some of the RH stops have the wrong faces.

Endsleigh 2MP/9 in the Netherlands - HVN DB entry 137

This is from the database of the Harmonium Vereniging Netherlands, entry number 88. It is a suction instrument with an oak case and said to date from around 1890.

2x 61 note manuals
30 note radiating concave pedals
angled stop jambs

Swell:                        Great:
Swell Octave                  Great Octave
Voix Celeste 8'               Dulciana 8'
Flute 4'                      Principal 4'
Stop'd Diapason 8'            Gamba 8'
Oboe 8'                       Open Diapason 8'
Lieblich Bourdon 16'          Open Diapason 16'

Couplers:                     Pedal:
Swell to Pedal                Bourdon 16'
Great to Pedal                Double Diapason 16'
Swell to Great

electric blower
swell pedal
at least 2 combination pedals

This would be a very competent instrument of probably 9 ranks.


't Hijgend hert den sloop ontkomen

These instruments seem to have been quite popular in the Netherlands. The above title is from a Dutch recording, Harmoniumnet CD number 28, the cover of which shows a 2MP Humphreys. I need to ask Frans van der Grijn for more information as the curious photo is from his Web site It is probably a similar specification to Adrian de Villiers' but with a slightly more modern console layout.


Russell Walshaw's 2M

Russell Walshaw from Scunthorpe contacted me in Oct'2015 with a view to disposing of a large 2M J. Humphreys organ with the Drummond Street address. He said it more or less works but needs some work. Many of the draw stop labels have come adrift but I still have them.

Based on photographs received and what he told me, the specification is as follows:

Top row (Swell) Principal 4', *, Diapason 8', gap, *, Vox Humana, *, blank, *, Violoncello 16', gap, Principal 4', Diapason 8', Vox Celeste 8', Bourdon 16'.

Bottom row (Great) *, Pianissimo 8', *, Forte, gap, *, *, Bass Coupler, Treble Coupler, blank, gap, Forte, blank, *, *.

* missing stops include: Forte, Flute 4', blank, Melody, Bassoon Oboe 8', Pianissimo 8', Sub Bass 16', Bourdon 16', Aeolian Harp 8'


This is a high topped instrument with swell shutters in front of the player and will have a high level windchest for the Swell manual. It is of F-f compass and 61 notes per manual. It has 2x treadles, swell levers and also heal latches.

It was advertised for sale several times, including on the Chris Hampson's site here: no.338.

ROS DB 3612

Simply noted as ENDSLEIGH and there is no picture. It has a ``chapel style'' oak case and is serial no.22089

For reference, serial no.25498 is dated 1900.

Stop list Forte, Bass Coupler, Sub Bass, Principal, Dulcet, Diapason, Gamba, Vox Humana, Echo, Melodia, Vox Celeste, Dulciana, Flute, Saxophone, Treble Coupler, Forte

This has knee swells, treadles and FFF-f'' keyboard range. Note the rare Saxophone stop also found in their silent film instruments, see Chapter 27.

Another possibly similar one was for sale in Devon as e-Bay *6042 in July 2011.


Woodville Reed Organ Museum 1M ROS-3653

This one is serial no.516 and is located in the Woodville Organ Museum, New Zealand, formerly in the Norsewood Musuem. Its stops are Bass Coupler, Diapason. Gamba, Vox Humana, Echo, Melodia, Treble Coupler. 61 keys FFF-f''.


ROS DB 6249 1M

This is a high top instrument with shelf and mirror serial no.29809.

Stops are: Forte, Bass Coupler, Sub Bass, Diapason, Gamba, Vox Humana, Echo, Melodia, Voix Celeste, Treble Coupler, Forte


Quaker Meeting House, Wexford, Ireland

This single rank 1M instrument is described on the Friends' Web site here Now at It was originally sold by Piggott & Co. of Suffolk Street, Dublin who were agents for James Humphreys & Son.

Endsleigh portable organ e-Bay *0015

This is a 49-key portable preacher's or ship's organ advertised for sale in Dec'2018.


Instruments by A.&E. Humphreys

2M on e-Bay *9764

This un-assuming instrument appeared on e-Bay in October 2007. Its unusual nature was given away by the fact it has combination pedals. I contacted Jane, the seller in Milton Keynes and was given the following information:

There are two sets of details on the harmonium. A. and E. Humphreys of Little Camden Street, Camden Town, London NW is one - Roy R. Bullivant Organ Builder is the second one. There is also a remark stating ``British Switch BOB Co. Ltd. Derby''. We know that this organ was in use during the 1920's at New Bradwell Primitive Methodist Chapel and in c.1935 was used in Deanshanger before being used by Simpson Methodist Church. It has not been used for 18 years when it was transferred from Simpson Methodist Church to Simpson Parish Church. The user booklet states that it is an American reed organ. There are combination pedals. As to stops, there are 8 on the Swell and 8 on the Great and 1 Swell to Great. Hope this helps you.


A.&E. Humphreys 1M on e-Bay *6502

This is a 1M instrument somewhat larger than normal. It was advertised in Carmarthen in Oct'2022.


A.&E. Humphreys 1M on e-Bay *8284

This small suction instrument with FFF-f'' range, from a seller in Warrington, appeared on e-Bay *8284 in Feb'2010.


And here is a pressure harmonium with CC-c''' range *8572 from Sep'2010.


Peter Chappell's A. & E. Humphreys 1M/1:1

Peter Chappell from Brisbane, Australia wrote in Mar'2011 to say I have found a Harmonium on the side of the road - quite literally. It was being thrown out by someone as part of ``council clean up'' (residents are able to leave large items out on the street for the council to pick up and dispose of). I became instantly fascinated by the organ, even before I figured out what it was, and decided to rescue it from the dump and do my best to get it working again.

It has number 2441 stamped on LH key cheek and the list of stops is: Bass Coupler, Gamba, Diapason, Vox Humana, Melodia, Echo, Treble Coupler.


In mid-August, Pete noted: I've been working away on it steadily and have restored it enough to have it take up residence in my living room.

It's all working fairly nicely now - although I suspect I'll be making the odd tweak here and there for the rest of my life. ... I'm not an organ player but I've been really enjoying tinkering away on it.

His photos can bee seen at:

eBay 182551625861 e-Bay *5861

A single manual by A.&E. Humphreys with no stops was advertised in Wellingborough May 2017.



A few other photos of small Humphreys instruments are shown separately here.

More pictures.

Register of known reed organs by Humphreys.

Note that the register also contains the harmoniums and the combined instrument described in Chapter 27. These are extremely rare instruments.

J. Humphreys

Size Date Serial Number Comments
1M     G.Holter Beds. for sale 2004
2M/8?     P.Lane, Haslemere for sale 2005-9
1M/10     combined piano and organ. for sale Cambridge Reed Organs
3MP/17     noted by P.Fluke, 1983
2MP     B.Goodwin, Dallas, for sale 2003
2MP/9 c.1890 probably later   Netherlands HVN-0317
1M/3: c.1900 25498 harmonium Averesch Museum
1M/1:1     harmonium E. Herts. sold on eBay 2006
2MP/7 c.1905? Villiers, Pretoria, SA
2MP/7     Netherlands record label
2MP     Grace United Methodist Church, Dallas, USA; for sale 2003
2M     R.Walshaw; for sale 2015
1M     Newington, Kent; restored 1980s by M.Hall; Canterbury
2M     Westcliffe-on-Sea; for sale Nov'2020
2M Wallis shop label   P.Halkon, Pocklington; sold Feb'2021
3MP     Netherlands

A. & E. Humphreys

Size Date Serial Number Comments
1M/1:1     harmonium E. Herts. eBay 2006
2M     Milton Keynes, eBay 2007 *9764
1M/1:1   2441 2011 P.Chappell, Brisbane, Aus
1M     Quaker Meeting House, Wexford

Rob Allan