Biography:Joshua Campbell

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JOSHUA CAMPBELL. Joshua Campbell, musician in Glasgow, who published three collections, two of which are of dance music, is brought into notice through his advertisement in 1762, which is as follows:--“Joshua Campbell Musician proposes to teach the guitar having been at some expense at Edinburgh in perfecting himself with the best masters there. Ladies and gentlemen that want to be taught the above instrument shall be carefully attended by the above person who will be found in the third close above Bell’s Wynd Glasgow.” Probably Daniel Dow was one of Campbell’s teachers, although none of Dow’s advertisements have been found so early as 1762. The next notice observed of Campbell is an announcement of a concert of music, on Friday, 29th January 1779, in the Assembly Hall, after which there was to be a ball; tickets 2.6 each, and the advertisement concludes thus:--“Just Published by the said Joshua Campbell a large collection of Scots Tunes with new variations never before in print adapted for the Violin and German Flute with a bass for the Violincello and a Thorough bass for the Harpsichord. Likewise a collection of new reels composed by himself, a number of which he has conferred on the new raised Regiments in Scotland.—Price of the first Collection 5s and the Reels 5s 6d both of which may be had of any of the Music Shops in Glasgow or of the Publisher at his house first close above the Blackfriar’s Wynd High Street Glasgow.”

In 1788, James Aird, Junior, Glasgow, advertises—“Just now published Joshua Campbell’s Collection of the Newest Scots Reels &c price 5s.” This book is probably the one republished, with additions, in 1798 by Urbani and Liston, Edinburgh.

What are Campbell’s own compositions can only be surmised from their titles, or from the fact of their having first appeared in his collection, as he never put his name to any of them.

In the first Glasgow Directory, published in 1783, is found the entry, Joshua Campbell “teacher of music” High Street, and in Jones’s Glasgow Directory for 1787, he is styled “ringer of the Music Bells and teacher of Instrumental Music.” The first mention of his receiving salary in the capacity of Bell-ringer is November 1786, when he revived a year’s pay, £20. In the year previous no name is given in the Chamberlain’s books the entry standing to “the ringer of the M Bells.” He continued to receive his salary regularly till November 1800, and in February 1801 is found the following curious entry—“A quarter’s salary paid to the late Joshua”—most likely to his representatives. His successor was John Weir. No record of his death can be found, although it is known that he died between November 1800 and February 1801.

Senex in his Reminiscences (p. 145) says, “They (the bells) consisted originally of twenty-eight in number, and in my younger days were played upon by old Joshua Campbell.” The information about Joshua’s salary was kindly afforded the Editor by Mr. Nicol, the City Chamberlin of Glasgow.