John Simpson

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Of Sweeting's Alley, Cornhill, near the Royal Exchange. He was the publisher of many important works during the early part of the eighteenth century. He seems to have been a manager or assistant to Mrs. Hare, the widow of Joseph Hare, who had a shop near or in the same premises occupied by Simpson. Care must be taken not to confuse him with a later John Simpson who with James Simpson published from 14 or 15 Sweeting's Alley in the late 18thC, approx 1770 - 1795. John and James (possibly sons or grandsons) were also instrument makers and the frontispiece of The Minstrel describes John as Inventor of the Tenor Flageolet


One of the original addresses of the Hare family was Freeman's Yard, Cornhill but many of the imprints especially the later ones, merely give the name "in Cornhill" or "in Corn-hill, near the Royal Exchange"


Joseph Hare died in July 1733, and the first notice I (Kidson) can find of Simpson is the half erased imprint on a page in the first volume of "Thesaurus Musicus" (p. 65). Most of the pieces forming the contents of this have been single songs, issued by Simpson (and having his name at the foot ' ), before being collected into a volume The page in question is "A two part song, on the approaching nuptials Of the Prince of Orange and the Princess of Great Britain. This event occurred on the 14th of March 1734- so that it may be well assumed that the song was issued prior to this and the probability is that it was published by Simpson, like others, in the, volume It has the imprint "Printed for J. Simpson in Sweeting's Alley, Royal Exchange," which can still be easily read on most copies.


Another early notice engraved slip pasted over the imprint of a work issued by John Walsh about 1736, " Sold by John Simpson, at the Viol and Flute in Swithen's Alley, near the Royal Exchange London from the late Mrs. Hare's, in Cornhill." Mrs. Hare died in 1741, having been living at Islington (see John & Joseph Hare). Though Simpson always afterwards spelled the word Sweeting's yet a contemporary work "New Remarks of London," 1732, makes it evident that the Alley was then known indifferently as " "Swithen's," or as " Seething's Alley." It was adjoining Freeman's Yard and ran from the back of the Royal exchange.


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