So on to No 3 Moray Place.

Note: This research is based on the people who appear in the Property Database on Bygone Bungo, in this case the entry for 3 Moray Place, which helps give the following context. You can explore further from the Address or Person Search in the main menu.

John Shields

John Shields (1818-1912) was Greek Thomson’s measurer (of Shields & Duff, later Shields & Walker); what would now be known as a quantity surveyor.

He gave a talk to the Glasgow Architectural Society in 1862 describing the issues around his trade, reproduced in The Builder magazine .

Opening of John Shields’ presentation in The Builder, 1862

His father John (1776-1859) was a house factor who married Margaret Glen (1791-1881), the family living in Hospital Street, Gorbals in 1851. John had recently married Sarah Wilson, and had moved out to live further down Hospital Street.

In 1861, John was living at 128 South Portland Street, with his wife Sarah, two children, his now widowed mother, and his brother James. At this time he would have been completing the work on 1-10 Moray Place, and soon after he moved in at No. 3, next to the architect at No. 1, and the builder at No. 2.

They adopted Annie McGregor Muir, the daughter of James Muir, a pattern designer from Paisley who had lived locally, presumably after his death. She later married Alexander Thomson’s architect son John. Annie and John had been neighbours in Darnley Terrace, Shawlands as children – see also the One Moray Place post.

They were still in Moray Place in 1875, but soon after they moved to Rysland, a large, and at the time solitary, house on the Ayr Road in Newton Mearns (now known as Croyland). This was a new Greek Thomson villa, probably the last villa he ever designed, and he did so expressly for his colleague and friend John Shields .

Rysland, built 1874 for John Shields. Credit: Mearns History Group

About this time John served as honorary treasurer, then secretary, to the Alexander Thomson Memorial Committee after Thomson’s death in March 1875 .

However by 1881 the Shields had returned to Strathbungo, but had moved round the corner to 37 (now 35) Regent Park Square, much as their neighbour John McIntyre had done previously. Did this reflect a period of financial difficulty, perhaps related to the failure of the City of Glasgow Bank in 1878?

The family then went on a bit of a wander, to 6 Nithsdale Road in 1885, 258 Kenmure Street by 1895, and 22 Teregles Avenue in 1901. His wife Sarah passed away in 1903.

Robert Little

Around 1877 to 1882 the house was occupied by Robert Elliot Little, of Forrest, Lennie, & Little, tea merchants of 76 Wilson Street.

Andrew Wright

In 1885 Andrew Wright was resident. He was another tea agent, his office at 28 St Enoch Square. In 1886 the property was vacant, but Mr Wright was back in 1890.

The Adlingtons

In 1891, the house was occupied by William Adlington.

His father, William Adlington Senior was born in Southwell, Nottinghamshire in 1812 and married Keturah Pope in 1836. He trained as a tailor, but his life became tied up in music, and he was a music teacher and organist.

His son William was born in April 1837 in Southwell. The family moved to Derby in the 1840s, where William Junior became a bit of a local musical prodigy.

In January 1850 Master Adlington, then twelve years old, was reported in the Mercury as “one of the youthful band of choristers belonging to [St Peter’s Church Sunday School], presiding at the pianoforte, with great ability,” during a church function in the large dining room of the King’s Head Inn in the Cornmarket, a popular meeting place for both cultural groups and philosophical clubs .

William junior became something of a local sensation, with regular performances in Derby, such as at the opening and consecration of the new church of St Paul’s at New Chester (now Chester Green), near Derby in May [1850]. The Adlingtons appear to have been at the centre of a a minor renaissance of the music scene in Derby. The St Peter’s Madrigal Society “gave the second performance to their subscribers and friends” in September 1850, at which “Master W. Adlington pof oresided at the pianoforte, accompanying the glees, songs, &c., in a very efficient style.”

At a Christmas concert held in the Athaenaeum that same year, “Master Adlington was also encored in the song, ‘Why do summer roses fade’, which he sang with considerable effect, accompanying himself on the pianoforte … A fantasia on the piano by Master Adlington was remarkable for its brilliancy of execution.”

Numerous concerts were held throughout 1851, culminating in a “Grand Miscellaneous Concert” at the Lecture Hall, Derby:
“Master W. Adlington’s performance of Hummel’s Rondo Brilliant, in A, opera 59, on the piano forte, was played with a spirit, taste, and cleverness which would have done credit to any player. This youth is only fourteen years of age, and from the abilities displayed in the performance of this piece, there could be but one opinion, that in all probability he is likely to become a first class performer. The subject, although long, was executed by Master Adlington in a manner which was appreciated in a high degree by his patrons, as was shown by the warmth and unanimity of their applause.”

His younger brother Jonathon (later just John) also became a proficient pianist and teacher .

William moves to Scotland

William married Emma Giles in August 1862 in Edgbaston, and 9 months later his first child James was born in Aberdeen. Emma had been born in Aberdeen, daughter of a Scottish painter, James Giles. William had moved north to Aberdeen as a Professor of Music at Aberdeen University, and conductor and musical director for the University Orchestral Society, and taught choral and keyboard music. His brother Jonathan followed him to Aberdeen by 1866 and became the organist at St Andrews Cathedral, as well as teaching music.

William moved to Edinburgh in 1864 as music director at the Scottish Institution in Moray Place, Edinburgh, succeeding Charles Hargitt as piano master at the Ladies College. He was also co-director and organist of Edinburgh Classical Chamber Concerts, and pianist at most of the principal concerts. He wrote a standard text, “Elementary Principles of Music and Elements of Harmony Adapted for those studying the Pianoforte“, first published in 1881.

Jonathon, or John as he now was, followed William to Edinburgh in June 1877 to take over his brother’s well-established teaching practice.

Their parents also moved north in the 1870s first living with John, then to a cottage at Banchory Devenick, near Aberdeen, where William Snr sold pianos and music for Selby, Wood & Co. They moved to Edinburgh in the 1880s, and their son John died at only 44 in March 1884, at their home there.

In 1882, William became a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music. However his wife Emma had left him – purportedly he had been having affairs with his students for years and she had had enough. She moved to Italy with one of her daughters, presumably Mary Annie, who is thought to have married an Italian doctor. They did not return to Scotland.

William moved to Glasgow, perhaps from a need to escape the scandal. By 1891 he was living at 3 Moray Place, and his parents had moved in with him. He developed a major wholesale business in pianos and music, becoming the sole proprietor of a long established business on Buchanan Street, J Muir Wood & Co. There is a gushing account of his business in a trade directory of 1894, which claims he was piano-maker to the Queen .


TO the enterprise displayed by leading firms in the music trade must be ascribed a considerable share of the credit arising out of the advancement of musical taste and education in Great Britain during recent years. In Glasgow the notable firm of Messrs. J. Muir Wood & Co. have long held a leading position as music-sellers and dealers in musical instruments, and their business is a particularly interesting one of its kind, not merely by reason of its high standing in the trade, but also because it is probably the oldest concern in its line in the city. This house was founded about one hundred years ago in the same firm-name, and for a long period it has occupied its present fine premises in Buchanan Street. These are large, commodious, and admirably suited to the requirements of the business, and the spacious and handsomely appointed saloons afford superior facilities for the display of one of the largest and best stocks of pianos, organs, and harmoniums out of London. In this stock will be found first-class examples of the instruments of all leading makers of the present day, both British and foreign, the most notable names in the long list being those of Erard, Hardman, Broadwood, Kaps, Collard, Winkelmann, Bechstein, and Steinway. Some of these makes are specialities of the establishment. For example, Messrs. J. Muir Wood & Co. are agents in Glasgow for the celebrated “Hardman” pianofortes, which are patronised by Her Majesty the Queen, H.R.H, the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Connaught, the Duchess of Fife, the Duke of Richmond, the Duchess of Montrose, and the nobility and gentry of Scotland, as well as by many distinguished musicians. The firm are also agents here for the Erard pianos, and for the famous instruments of Messrs. Cramer, and also Messrs. Winkelmann. They also manufacture a special piano which is largely used all over Scotland in Board schools; in Glasgow over seventy of these pianos have been supplied to the Glasgow School Board alone.

In the organ and harmonium trade Messrs. Muir Wood & Co. hold some valuable agencies; for instance, they are sole agents for the first-class American organs made by the Wilcox & White Organ Company, of which they keep a large selection. The well-known firm of Mason & Hamlin, of Boston, U.S.A., also make a special line for them, applicable principally for use in churches or chapels, and here we may note the large business transacted by Muir Wood & Co. in supplying organs and harmoniums for use in churches and chapels in different parts of Scotland and even to the Colonies. Of the renowned Erard pianos there is no need to speak here. Their fame extends throughout the musical world, and the awards they have won and the testimonials they have elicited from the highest sources speak volumes for their fine qualities. Of these superb instruments Mendelssohn said:—“ I have not seen any instrument that may be compared to yours.” Rubinstein, when asked what piano he preferred, replied:— “But there is only one piano, the Erard. As to the others, they are but imitations.” Liszt, Paderewski, Wagner, and Madame Schumann have all pronounced in favour of the Erard piano. Paderewski says:— “Play on an Erard wherever obtainable.” As everybody knows, Messrs. S. & P. Erard are famous also as makers of harps, and they hold a number of Royal appointments. Messrs. J. Muir Wood & Co. show a fine selection of their unrivalled instruments. The Winkelmann pianos may also be seen here. These are instruments of the highest class, and their fine qualities have been commended by some of the greatest artists of the day.

Altogether Messrs. J. Muir Wood & Co. have a remarkably good business under their control, both as regards the character of the goods they supply, and the extent and importance of their connection. As music-sellers they keep a very full and complete stock of all the best publications, including the leading editions of musical classics. They sell pianos, organs, and harmoniums at the lowest prices for cash, or supply the same on the three years’ system, or on hire by the month at moderate charges. Their tuners visit every district four times a year, and they have branches at Aberdeen and Inverness, and numerous agents in different parts of the country. Mr. W. Adlington is now the sole partner in this firm. He is a gentleman of large experience and widely known in the trade, and he has been specially appointed piano-maker to the Queen and the Prince of Wales, an honour which attests the high standing of the house over which he presides, as well as the esteem in which his personal abilities are held.

His parents died in 1894 and 1895, and William re-invented himself again, moving to Croydon and becoming a music impresario and agent, while also making harps and pianos.

The Paderewski Connection

From 1898 he was for some 17 years the English agent for Ignacy Jan Paderewski, the young Polish piano virtuoso who became a worldwide sensation. He organised Paderewski’s tour to Australia and New Zealand in 1904, and accompanied him on the trip, along with Paderewski’s wife Helena, his Érard piano, 37 trunks of wardrobe and general luggage, and his talking parrot named Cockey Roberts.

Ignacy Jan and Helena Paderewscy in the company of John Lemmone, flutist and composer (left), William Adlington, secretary of the pianist (second from right) and Dr Marcin Ratyński (right). Paderewski tour to Australia and New Zealand 1904. Credit: National Museum in Warsaw

Paderewski was massively popular in his homeland, and went on to become the first prime minister of Poland when the state was founded at the end of the First World War.

Florence Roch

Meanwhile the Roch family, with their two daughters, moved from Conway in North Wales, to Glasgow. Florence Roch married a David Macfarlane in June 1886 in Glasgow, and Ethel Macfarlane was born in Inverness two months later, but presumably the relationship didn’t last. In 1891 she was living with her parents, sister and young daughter in Ibrox, where Florence was working as a Music Seller’s Cashier, possibly for William Adlington.

By 1901 Florence was a housekeeper in Mayfair, London, but who should be visiting on census night? William Adlington.

William married Florence in Conway, North Wales in 1908, the year after his estranged wife Emma died in Italy. However sadly Florence died the following year, and William raised his step-daughter, Ethel. William then married Gwendoline Hayes in 1911, and died in Croydon in 1921 .

Meanwhile, back in Moray Place…

William’s son John lived in Chester, then London, where he married Ada Scull in 1893, but he then returned to Glasgow. He moved back to 3 Moray Place, probably around 1896 as William noved out. The couple’s three daughters were born in 1897, 1898 & 1906 at Moray Place. He appeared to be managing the Glasgow office of the French piano manufacturers Sébastien and Pierre Érard, at the time the finest piano manufacturers in the world. By 1911 they were back in London and John worked in a senior role for the same company until he retired. He died in Hove in 1963 .

Erard Piano, Buckingham Palace

Queen Victoria’s Érard Piano, Buckingham Palalce. Credit: Royal Collection Trust

The wanderer returns

On the departure of John Adlington to London at some point after 1906, John Shields, the retired and newly-widowed measurer, completed his wanderings around the southside and moved back to 3 Moray Place. When he died there in 1912, his daughter Jessie stayed on, and was still resident in 1939.

Additions and corrections are welcome.


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Shields J. Sketch of the history and present practice of measuring artificers’ work in Glasogw. The Builder [Internet]. 1862;20:780–2. Available from:
Grey R. The Adlingtons of Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire and their descendents [Internet]. [cited 2022 Jan 8]. Available from:
RIVERS OF THE NORTH - THEIR CITIES AND THEIR COMMERCE (1894) [Internet]. [cited 2022 Jan 8]. Available from:
Pianist and Patriot: Ignacy Jan Paderewski [Internet]. Available from:
Payne B. Photo-Sleuth: Jonathan Adlington (1839-1884), Music teacher of Derby & Aberdeen [Internet]. Photo-Sleuth. 2011 [cited 2021 Nov 25]. Available from:
ccm :: Adlington, William Adlington [Internet]. [cited 2021 Nov 25]. Available from:
Stamp G. Alexander “Greek” Thomson. Laurence King; 1999. 176 p.