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Alfred Curston (1857-1937)    Thomas Curston (1891-1963) 

Alfred Curston was a wheelwright and carpenter. For a short time around 1891 he combined these trades with keeping a pub – the Butcher’s Arms in Hockering, a short distance from where he had been born in East Tuddenham and where he later lived in Low Street, North Tuddenham.

He was married to Charlotte and they had eleven children Their eighth child, Thomas James Curston, never married and lived in the carpenter’s shop on Low Street, in North Tuddenham. He had followed in his father’s footsteps and was the village wheelwright and carpenter. Thomas also became a dulcimer player, even though he was stone deaf.

Michael Lumb, Alfred’s great grandson, now owns the dulcimer and he believes the line of succession was: the dulcimer was passed to Alfred’s son Thomas Curston in 1937, then to Michael’s uncle Harry Osborne in 1963, then onto his mother Barbara Lumb in 1998 and finally to him, The last time the dulcimer was played was by Thomas Curston, around 1960.

One of Alfred’s grandaughters, Joan Goreham, recalled ‘At the end of the day, my grandfather would sweep up the wood shavings, put away his precious tools and go indoors to his dulcimer. In winter, he would stay behind closed doors but on a summer evening the lovely sound would carry far and grandfather’s friends would sit quietly beside him listening to all the tunes they loved so well. He always ended each little recital with ‘The Sailor's Hornpipe’.


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Photo descriptions & sources

a. Alfred Curston's dulcimer front (Michael Lumb)

b. Alfred Curston's dulcimer edge (M L)

c. Alfred Curston's dulcimer decoration (M L)

c. Alfred Curston's beater (M L)


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