It's well known that London
maker, William Camp, worked for Rudall & Rose before stepping out on
his own. What hasn't been known until now is that he wasn't the only
Camp employed by the old firm. Nor was it known that the Camps and
Rose had a significant falling out, one that lead to trials at the Old
Bailey, London's most famous court, and presumably to a breakdown in
relations altogether. All this has recently come out, due to
publication of the court records from the period.
But it's not just the Camps we
find out about here. John Mitchell Rose has always remained a
mysterious figure, leaving very few documentary trails. In this
account we hear his verbatim comments recorded by the court. We might benefit by
listening for an Edinburgh accent!
There are accounts of three
separate trials here, conducted sequentially before juries. I've
taken some liberties with the records, to make them easier to
follow. I've also made a number of comments [in square brackets] to draw your attention
to matters I think interesting. If you would prefer to read the
original account and draw your own
conclusions, you'll find a link at the bottom to the original court
The first trial
JOHN CAMP and GEORGE CAMP
were indicted for stealing, on the 8th of June 1835, eight flute joints,
value 24s, the goods of John Mitchell Rose and another, their masters.
[The “another” being of course
George Rudall, of Rudall & Rose.]
MR. PAYNE conducted the
JOHN MITCHELL ROSE:
have one partner, we are flute manufacturers, and live in the Piazza,
[This seems to suggest that at
least Rose and possibly Rudall actually resided at the factory where they made
The prisoners were in our employ;
John for thirteen years, and George is our apprentice—he has been nearly
seven years with us...
[Long apprenticeships in those
—there is a bed-room at our
house, in which both the prisoners sleep occasionally, but George more
frequently—in consequence of some information,...
[I.E., someone mentioned to Rose
that his staff are selling flutes made at the factory for their own
…I desired a search to be made,
and eight flute joints were found in a box, in the bed-room, which George
said was his box—these are the joints—they are all ours, with the
exception of one, which I have my doubts about—there were four pieces of
ivory found in the same bed-room, in a hat box; but I believe neither of
them owned the box.
[Note the use of the expression
“flute joints”, i.e. sections of flutes.
This suggests to us that Rudall & Rose workers did not make
“flutes” as such; rather that they made joints of flutes.
These sections would then presumably have been collated into flutes
at a later stage of production, and perhaps by Rose, or a more experienced
workman, rather than the base worker.]
Cross-examined by Mr. DOANE:
Q. How often did George sleep
A. Six nights out of seven—John
slept there on Tuesday nights—these joints are mounted with German
silver, but that does not belong to us—our mountings are silver,...
[No cheap German Silver for this company!]
joints I can swear to—they are made of cocoa-nut shell—we sell a great
many flutes—other makers use cocoa wood….
[cocoa-nut shell … others use
cocoa wood. What can Rose
—here is the letter "I" on them,
which is the initial of the person who turned them…
[Now, where is this letter
“I”, the initial of the person who turned them?
I’m unaware of anyone reporting initials on Rudall flutes!]
—it is usual for persons who
work in our trade, to work over-hours, and to take their
work to their rooms...
[One gets the idea that workers in
the flute trade were not well paid, and needed to work long hours and
make free with the boss’s goods to augment their meagre income!]
—I had no quarrel with either of
these men—I never heard that either of them were going to set up in
business—one of them took a house, and referred the landlord to me—I
understood it to be taken as his dwelling-house—his father was to live
with him, and he was to let part of it.
Q. They took the work to their own
A. Yes; that applies to William
Camp, but not to either of these prisoners—he is their brother, but he
does not live in our house.
THOMAS SOPER (police-constable T
52.) I was present with Mr. Rose, on the 17th June, when the search was
made, and these joints were found in a box, which George stated was
his—he said, on going to the station-house, that they were not his
THOMAS WILLIAM INGRAM . I am in
the prosecutor's employ. I believe these to be my master's property—here
is one of my own turning.
Q. How can you swear to that?
A. It has my own mark on it—I
put the same mark on all the joints I turn—I have turned some
hundreds—this one is not my master's—this one is.
[So, Ingram has turned some
hundreds of joints for Rudall & Rose, and presumably marked them all with an “I”. We need to find these initials!
Unless perhaps they were temporary, and erased when the flutes were finally
Witness for Defence, GEORGE
[Our usual bible for flutemakers
past, the New Langwill Index, is silent on George Trench, perhaps for
reasons we'll learn below.]
I live at No. 24, Prince's-street,
Drury-lane, and am a flute-maker. Four of these joints are mine—I have
the middle joint to match...
[That actually makes sense. The middle joint
will be the Left Hand section, that has no rings.]
—I gave them to John Camp to tip with German
silver last Friday week—he was in the habit of doing jobs for me—he
put the mounting on these four pieces which are mounted.
[Hmmm, contradictory evidence eh?
Either they are Rose’s or Trench’s – how do we decide?
More importantly, how did the court decide?]
MR. PAYNE [for the Prosecution]:
Q. What part of the line are you
A. In the rough work—I have
supplied the prosecutor with
some in a rough state...
[Meaning he has supplied some to
—I get joints finished to
sell—I sell them myself sometimes—I do not keep a shop...
[So Trench is an example of someone
who works “to the trade”, not interfacing directly with the public.
Many of the unnamed flutes we come across are probably the output
of such makers.]
—I have sold some to Wainwright,
a flute-maker, in John-street, Smithfield...
[Possibly Jordan Wainwright, who flourished in London
between 1822 and 1853, before embarking for Sydney, Australia]
—I have employed George Camp to
work for me—I knew he was in the prosecutor's employ, but he had a poor
father and mother to support—I have employed him at various times, but
never in his master's time—I did not know that he was not allowed to
work for other people...
[Presumably a stipulation made by Rudall & Rose,
perhaps to prevent their processes from benefiting other makers.]
—I swear to these, by a mark on the wood—I have
not seen them since they had the German silver on them, but I know them by
the German silver;—I gave them the German silver to do it with—I heard
Mr. Rose say, that these pieces were all his but one—but I swear that
four of them are mine—I do not know whose the others are—the materials
might belong to the prosecutor.
[known “by a mark on the
wood”. Seems as vague as
Q. Have you sold Mr. Wainwright
flutes in a finished state?
A. I have sold them when they have
been returned from the prosecutor—but what I call finished is, when they
have got the keys on; which these have not—I have had many returned by
the prosecutor, which have been as much turned as these are.
[Sounds like Mr Trench's turning
or materials were not up to Rudall & Rose quality, but were good
enough for Wainwright!]
JURY to MR. ROSE:
Q. Are you in the habit of sending
back these things with the turner's initials on them?
A. Never; the
initial is not put on unless the joint is good—the prisoners were not
allowed to do work in the bed-room—I never knew that they did—the box
was locked, and George Camp gave the key out of his pocket.
(The prisoners received a good
[Presumably this means that they
brought good character references by other witnesses.]
JOHN CAMP— NOT GUILTY .
GEORGE CAMP— GUILTY , Aged
21.— Confined Six Months.
[Wow, 6 months in the slammer for
stealing 8 flute joints valued at 24 shillings!
Lucky he hadn’t helped himself to a loaf of bread as well - he
might have wound up in
New South Wales! Seriously, this was a real threat. A number
of people in adjacent cases in the records were sentenced to
transportation for 7 years or more for stealing several pounds value.]
[It’s not clear why John got off
and George didn’t, except perhaps that George had the key to the box
with the flute joints in it.]
[And if you thought it was all over
bar doing the time, think again ....]
The Second Trial
Third Jury, before Mr. Sergeant
WILLIAM CAMP was indicted
for stealing, on the 17th of June 1835, 18 flute joints, value £2-14s.;
33 pieces of silver plates, value 16s.; 5 flute keys, value 15s.; 1 flute,
value 10s.; and 2 flute plates, value 1s. 6d., the goods of John Mitchell
Rose, and another, his masters.
MR. PAYNE conducted the
JOHN MITCHELL ROSE:
The prisoner was in our employ. I received some information, and searched
the house, No. 14, Crescent, Euston-square—I found these flute-joints,
keys, and silver there.
JOHN KIRKMAN (police-constable F
I went with Soper to the
prisoner's lodgings, and produce the property, which was found in
THOMAS SOPER (police-constable T
I went to the house—I found this
flute and one joint in a box, in his bed-room.
Cross-examined by MR. PERRY.
Q. Did not the prisoner's wife
give you the key?
A. No; we were obliged to break the door open.
[This perhaps implying that the
Camp family had something to hide?]
These flute-joints and this flute
are ours—these pieces of silver, I am certain, are ours—I can speak
positively to four of these keys—I had not authorized the prisoner to
take them away—work had been given to persons to do at home, but we had
no work at that time.
Cross-examined by MR. DOANE:
Q. You gave him work?
A. Yes, as he lived some
distance—my partner never interferes in the business—I can swear he
never gave out a flute-joint in his life...
[Nice confirmation of something we
had suspected but did not know - Rudall did not concern himself with the
making side of the business, but left that in Rose's capable hands.
We can probably safely assume he carried out the
"front-of-house" aspects of their business, selling flutes and
—these are such articles as the
prisoner would receive to complete our instruments...
[Again confirmation that
"cottage industry" - working from home - was not uncommon in the
business. That made sense in a time of slow transport. It
makes more sense in today's connected but energy-starved world, a lesson
we have yet to relearn!]
—this flute, which is made, is
defective—it is made for a person who has one finger less than other
persons—the prisoner has one finger less, and it struck me the moment I
saw it, that it was done for himself—I never knew that he had it in his
possession—we should not have such a flute made, unless it were ordered
[So, Camp had a missing finger. And aspirations
to become a maker in his own right. So it would be handy to be able
to play, and that requires a flute playable with one less finger.]
—there is no mark on these
pieces of silver—I had given the prisoner such articles, but he always
professed to return them—persons in our trade might keep specimens of
----JENKINSON. I am in the employ
of Mrs. Cook, of Vauxhall—she makes silver keys for the prosecutor—I
made these four keys.
[Ah, so we find out who makes keys
for Rudall & Rose! The NLI makes no mention of Mrs Cook.]
GEORGE PAYNE . I live in Little
Newport-street, and am a flute-maker.
[Richard and George Payne of 13 Little Newport St
were listed as flute manufacturers from 1835 to 1841.]
I know the prisoner bore a very
excellent character—about five year ago, I heard him say to Mr. Rose,
"Please, sir, may I have these joints to make me a flute?"—and
he said he might take them—I was in the prosecutor's employ then.
JOHN MITCHELL ROSE . I have no
recollection of giving him this flute, but I might do it.
The Third Trial
GEORGE CAMP and JOHN CAMP
were again indicted for stealing, on the 17th of June 1835, 9
flute-joints, value 27s., and 4 pieces of ivory, value 1s., the goods of
John Mitchell Rose and another, their masters.
MR. PAYNE conducted the
JOHN MITCHELL ROSE . The two
prisoners were in our employ—we found this property in the house of
William Camp, where the prisoners sometimes slept.
HENRY WHITAKER . I am in the
prosecutor's [Rose's] employ—my father lives in the house, No. 14, Crescent,
Euston-square—the prisoners slept in the room at the top of the house,
where this property was found—I saw the prisoner, John, cut off four
pieces of ivory at Mr. Rose's factory, and he took them up into George's
bed-room, at Mr. Rose's.
[Henry Whitaker later becomes another
maker, trading as Whitaker from Rudall & Rose. Given the testimony above, perhaps
he also provided the other information that Rose was acting on in the
Cross-examined by MR. DOANE:
Q. Did not these men occasionally
sleep at Mr. Rose's?
A. Yes; William Camp keeps the house where we live; he might put these
things into any room.
JOHN MITCHELL ROSE . I found these
flute joints, which I have no doubt belong to me, in the top room at that
John Camp's Defence:
I bought the wood of Mr. Payne,
and tuned them up at my leisure time—the joints are mine.
NOT GUILTY .
[A seeming sudden end for this
trial. Perhaps the court felt it was unable to proceed without more
So, what's the score? Rose lodged a total of 5 indictments - two
each against John and George, and one against William. But there
was only one conviction, that against young George on the first count.
We can imagine that relations between Rose and the Camps were not
enhanced by the confrontation in the court. But, whatever, within 2 years, William Camp had achieved his aim of becoming an independent
maker. Perhaps with a bold sense of irony, he styled his new venture as: Camp
from Rudall & Rose. A bit cheeky, eh, given the cases reported
above? In 1840, he took
over the premises previously used by William Card. He remained
listed as a maker to 1879, a span of 42 years in total. His flutes are highly