W E Hill & Sons History - About W.E Hill & Sons
About W.E Hill & sons
W.E. Hill & Sons is one of the most famous companies in the history of violin making. The company worked extensively in crafting and trading fine stringed instruments, bows and accessories, and also established a truly enviable reputation with its expertise in historic stringed instruments.
William Ebsworth Hill (1817-1895), the son of a highly esteemed family of London violin makers, began pursuing the family trade at the age of 14 working with his father, Henry Lockey Hill (1774-1835), and brother. In 1838, William Ebsworth Hill opened his own workshop which allowed him to establish a solid name for himself as an outstanding repairer. However, he also demonstrated universal knowledge in creating both old stringed instruments and violin bow and other bows of exceptional quality, albeit in modest numbers.
From 1887 onward, after his four sons had joined the company, William Ebsworth Hill was in a position to dedicate himself to his passion for the historic masterpieces of Cremonese violin making, quickly becoming the leading Stradivari expert of his day. W.E. Hill created a highly successful business in trading valuable historic instruments. In his work he drew upon his extensive experience as a violin maker; he was also incorruptible in his professional assessment and respected as an entrepreneur.
W.E. Hill & Sons on London's New Bond Street became an international venue where musicians, artists and collectors gathered. In the early 20th century, the workshop had reached an early peak, and had been awarded numerous medals and appointed among the violin and bow makers of many European rulers including the kings of England, Italy and Portugal.
The success and enduring reputation of W.E. Hill & Sons was due in no small part not only to the atelier's trade in old Cremonese masterpieces; it also offered premium-quality bows which had been produced by a long series of specialists who worked for the Hills. Some of these master craftsmen included the young James Tubbs (1835-1921) and William Charles Retfort (1875-1970), outstanding artists who set standards in the bow making of the 19th and 20th centuries.
During the early part of the 20th century, the New Bond Street venue was closed and the family moved to Hanwell, London where Alfred Hill, amongst others continued the family tradition. Then later in the century, in the mid-1970s, the W.E.Hill & Sons workshops were moved to the larger premises at Havenfields in Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire.
In 2018, the acquisition of the company by J&A Beare directors Simon Morris, Steven Smith; distinguished violinmakers Stefan-Peter Greiner, Robert Brewer Young; and Hill bowmaker Derek Wilson, marked its return to London. The new Hill workshop is located in the historic coach house and stables of Burgh House from 1704 in London Hampstead.
The Hill tradition of making fine instruments, bows and accessories continues in the London atelier, where notable, historical examples used by W. E. Hill and Sons consistently inspire new work
Under the direction of Robert Brewer Young and Stefan-Peter Greiner, violins modelled after Stradivari, including the Messiah of 1716, the best of Bergonzi and the work of Guarneri del Gesu are all being made as part of the Hill heritage.
Derek Wilson, who joined Hill in 1978, oversees the making of bows that offer the excellence of an enduring English tradition.
Since 1762 the Hill name has represented a combination of craftsmanship and the highest standards of expertise that the company continues to offer.
The Hidersine Company and W.E.Hill & Sons.
In the early 1980s the well-established British rosin makers, The Hidersine Company, were commissioned to manufacture bowed instrument rosin for W.E.Hill & Sons. These rosins are still manufactured to the same special recipe today by Hidersine, using a unique blend of oils and resins, appropriately setting it apart from the more common blends of beeswax used by other brands. Hill Rosins are still widely used by professionals with availability from specialists in most countries across the globe.
The Hill Rosins available today are: (1470) Hill Light Rosin for Violin
(2064) Hill Dark Rosin for Violin
There are a selection of specially created Hill ‘E’ strings available with both loop and ball end fittings; the Hill family traditional Peg Paste, and the original recipe Hill instrument cleaning preparation.
For a current list of products available within the W.E. Hill & Sons brand, please click here