Essex Paragon
Barnes and Mullins Lyratone

Between the arrival of the banjo craze in the mid-Nineteenth Century until the Second World War, Britain made an astonishing variety of banjos, in all shapes and sizes.

They made banjos in big factories; they made banjos in back rooms and sheds in the bottom of the garden. They made them with four strings, five strings, six strings and seven strings. They made five string banjos with six guitar tuners and left one empty (go figure). They made banjos with metal fronts and metal backs — but not, as far as I'm aware, on the same banjo. They made banjos with beautiful marquetry and engraved silverwork. They made custom jobs and one-offs. They filed for patents on some very eccentric instruments indeed. They made wonderful banjos, and terrible cheap banjos that are falling to bits.

And I would like to own every single one of them.

This isn't intended to be a comprehensive reference. This is me, banjospotting. If I can't own all the banjos (and apparently I can't, for some reason), I'll make a virtual collection of the most interesting ones I can find.

I'm just getting started putting this together. Most of the banjos so far are from instruments I saw listed on eBay. All photos and listing information are used with permission of the seller and credited as requested. If you think the descriptive information is in error, do please let me know!

Get in touch! I'd love to hear your thoughts, corrections, additions...and, oh boy, if you have an interesting British banjo to share....