I came across this article online, which supposedly appeared Yorkshire Illustrated magazine in 1952. I’ve edited it a bit as it’s rather long (if you’re really interested, you can find the full article here.)
A couple of things struck me as funny. First, we seem to have a lot of John Thomases in our history. For me, that name immediately makes me think of Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life. Second, the final paragraph seems to predict the demise of the professional musician, which in hindsight was a rather poor prediction.
One of the most remarkable musical families in England today is that of the Dearloves of Yorkshire. For two hundred years every member of it has played some form of instrument and the majority have been professional players. Their name is known in every theatre and in every orchestra in the country. They have been linked with the entertainment world in all its aspects, from cinemas to circuses, and from band waggonettes to broadcasting, and they owe it all to Mark Dearlove, a professor of music, and a maker of violins, who was born about 1771.
Yet if a family story had any proof, and were to be believed, the Dearloves owe it all to William the Conqueror! The story that has been handed down the years, and the one they regard as a joke which they love to tell in their more pontifical moments, is that when King William came over in 1066 he brought with him among his army, a number of trumpeters. One of them, so it is said, was named de Louvre, and from this, say the family, it is not a far cry to Dearlove.
The son of the original Mark, is always spoken of as “Mark William”, and it was he who became one of Englands noted violin makers. When the Great Exhibition of 1851 was proposed, he conceived the idea of making a quartet of miniature scale models for display there, comprising a violin, a viola, a cello and a bass fiddle, each with its respective miniature case. They were greatly admired as the work of a craftsman, and shortly afterwards they were taken to Australia by one of Mark Williams sons.
His eldest son, also names John Thomas, carried on the family tradition, and for more than thirty years was the musical director of the Harrogate Grand Opera House. He also provided the Harrogate Military Band, of which he was musical director, and which at one time comprised his brothers playing violin, cello, bass, clarinet, flute and cornet, with his wife playing the piano.
The eldest son of John Thomas II, likewise a John Thomas, but better known as Jack, is secretary of the Musicians Union, and another Jack, son of William Henry, has his own band and does a considerable amount of broadcasting. They are all proud of the wonderful record held by their parents, and so too is the next generation. They are, however, not concerned with music as a profession, although there is an inherent desire to be associated with it and most of them play as amateurs. They are turning to other vocations realizing that the day of the professional musician is waning.