The Boosey family
The family was of Franco-Flemish origin. Boosey & Company traces its roots back to a bookshop at 4 Old Bond Street in London, established by Thomas Boosey in about 1792. From 1819, the bookshop was called Boosey & Sons or T. & T. Boosey. Thomas Boosey’s son, also named Thomas, set up a separate musical branch of the company known as T. Boosey & Co. and, in the latter part of the 19th century, Boosey & Company. This branch initially imported foreign music but soon began music publishing in England.In the 1850s Boosey & Company diversified into manufacturing woodwind instruments and also began making brass instruments. At the same time the company capitalized on the increasing popularity of the ballad by focusing its publishing activities on them. In 1874, Boosey & Company moved into offices at 295 Regent Street where the business was to stay for the next 131 years.
John Boosey, the grandson of the founder, Thomas Boosey, established the London Ballad Concerts in 1867 to promote sales and it was later said that John became one of the pioneers of cheap editions of the classics. The concerts took place at St James’ Hall, Vine Street, and later at Queen’s Hall when it opened in 1893. Clara Butt and John Sims Reeves performed at these concerts, and its successes included Arthur Sullivan’s ‘The Lost Chord’ (1877) and Stephen Adams’ ‘The Holy City’.
In 1871, John Boosey, then aged 39, was living at 48 (originally 19) Hamilton Terrace with his wife Rose, plus 2 nephews and a niece, all aged under 10, helped by 4 servants, including a nurse.