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Is the next musicseller and dealer in musical instruments in Ediburgh, regarding whom there is any information.
The earliest notice observed of him, is in an advertisement, dated 14th November 1759, his place of business being then in the Exchange, as appears by an advertisement in February 1765, his shop then bearing the sign of the Violin and Guitar. In July 1770, we find “Neil Stewart junior at his shop within the entry leading to Miln’s Square facing the Tron Church Edinburgh,” but whether this was the same individual using junior to distinguish him from another of the same name in Miln’s Square, or a son and successor of the Neil Stewart of 1759, is not certain.
There is no reference to a “senior” carrying on in the music line either immediately before or after 1770, nor so far as known has “junior” been appended to any music published by Neil Stewart. The conjecture therefore is that they may be either one and the same person, or, what is more likely, father and son. In May 1773, “Neil Stewart” removes to the Parliament Close, as the following announcement intimates:--“This is to inform the public that Neil Stewart has removed from his shop from Miln’s Square to the Parliament Close,” &c.: and from what follows it is apparent he was a teacher of dancing, “N.B. Neil Stewart who taught dancing in Newcastle upon Tyne for eight years &c has now opened school in partnership with Mr. M’Lean,” &c.
The partnership was dissolved in May 1775 having lasted two years only. In another advertisement, November 1787, the business is announced as being carried on under the style of Neil Stewart & Company, and it is stated that one of the partners has lately been in London, selecting the “best and newest of every article in the music and musical instrument line.” In the following year, the firm open new premises at No. 40 South Bridge Street in conjunction with those in Parliament Square, and from both of these shops they remove at Whitsunday 1792 to No. 37 South Bridge, Street, being the first south of the Cowgate Arch, east side,” where they remained until 1802, when they left if for a commodious warehouse on the flat immediately above entering by No. 39. These premises they vacated in 1804, when they opened at No. 69 Adam Square, “next door to Mr. Spottiswood’s Carron Warehouse.”
In June of the following year, was advertised a sale of their whole stock, consisting of plates for printing music, &c., but it was postponed. The sale took place in December 1805, when the whole stock of “N. Stewart & Co. Music Sellers No. 88 West side South Bridge” was sold off on the 9th and following days by R. Smith, auctioneer. From 1787 onwards, the firm was styled at one time “N. & M. Stewart;” at another, “N. Stewart & Co.” Whether its collapse was due to financial difficulties or to a natural termination, has not been ascertained. The Stewarts carried on an important publishing trade, and many works on Scots music come from their establishment, including besides his own “collection of the newest and best reels or country dances,” those of Daniel Dow, Alexander M’Glashan, and the early publications of Marshall and Gow.
Neil Stewart, musicseller, married Catherine Butter on 18th October, 1772. The marriage of Malcolm Stewart, musicseller to Dorothy Walker, was proclaimed on 25th November 1805—fourteen days before the sale of the stock in the South Bridge.