|Burial register ID:||1549|
|Cause of death:||Unknown|
|Date of death:||21-Dec-1874|
|Date of burial:||24-Dec-1874|
IN MEMORY OF
On the right side of the monument:-
IN MEMORY OF
On the left side of the monument:-
IN MEMORY OF
Charles Begg (c1825-1874)
When an early Dunedin family gathered for a musical evening, the chances were it was around a piano from Charles Begg’s. This enterprising company played a major part in establishing European music in Otago by providing the settlers with access to a full range of high class concert instruments and sheet music.
Charles A Begg, the firm’s founder, was himself a music enthusiast and “a practical expert in every branch of the music trade.” He was born about 1825 in Aboyne, Scotland and at a young age was apprenticed to a firm of piano manufacturers in Aberdeen. In 1847 he opened his own business in that city and met with immediate success. “Begg’s Pianos” became the rage across northern Scotland and some even found their way to Otago as prize possessions of the pioneers.
In 1861 Charles Begg, his wife Jessie and their two daughters, sailed for Dunedin on the “Robert Henderson”. Within 24 hours of arrival Charles had set up a piano tuning and instrument repair service. The keenness of his ear was legendary and it was said that he could tune a piano to any of the pitches then in use without the aid of a tuning fork.
Before the end of 1861, Begg had opened a piano-selling business in Princes Street and was looking at ways of boosting his initial stock of four instruments. At first he experimented with building his own pianos out of local timbers and exhibited one such model with a rimu case at the New Zealand Exhibition held in Dunedin in 1865. The exercise won him a medal but the lack of necessary machinery and the unsuitability of available timber discouraged him from attempting a large scale manufacturing venture. Instead he turned his attention to importing musical instruments from Europe and to building up the retail side of his business. His shop became the musical centre of Dunedin and attracted music-lovers both by the quality of the goods for sale and the practice rooms available on the premises. Dunedin’s first Orchestra and first brass band were formed through Begg’s influence and held their rehearsals in his company’s facilities.
In 1867, a disastrous fire destroyed a complete block of Princes Street including the premises of Charles Begg & Co and all the company’s stock. It was a severe blow to the business but it recovered from this setback and regained its former position.
Charles Begg died in Dunedin in 1874.
Main ref: Dunedin, New Zealand’s first great city
Charles BeggSource: Alexander Turnbull Library Reference: BK-119-223 Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library New Zealand, Te Puna Matauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of image
|Surname||First names||Age||Date of death||Date of burial|
|BEGG||JESSIE M||81 Years||23-Jan-1914||25-Jan-1914|
|BEGG||MARGARET HUNTER||58 Years||28-Jun-1922||30-Jun-1922|
|BEGG||MARY JANE||79 Years||12-Apr-1945||13-Apr-1945|