Hodsdon, (Wilfred) Alec
- Howard Schott
- , revised by Michael Ackerman
(b Sidcup, Kent, England, Dec 27, 1900; d Lavenham, Suffolk, England, Dec 11, 1986). English instrument maker. Originally an analytical chemist, he married the harpsichordist Margaret Fletcher (niece of George Henry Benton Fletcher, 1866–1944, whose collection of early keyboard instruments is now at Fenton House, Hampstead), who encouraged him to become an instrument builder. Despite portraying himself as a lone craftsman, Hodsdon established a large and busy workshop at Lavenham, Suffolk, with Fred Sykes as foreman, for the restoration and production of early types of instruments, including stringed keyboards, lutes, cornetts, regals, and positive organs. Of an experimental turn of mind, Hodsdon produced a wide range of instruments of each type, including a number of highly complex harpsichords, among them instruments with pedalboards sounding their own sets of strings. Later, inspired by the Benton Fletcher collection, he often based his instruments on more historical lines. Except for his virginal design, his keyboard instruments have not endured because of fundamental structural flaws, but he is significant as one of the first 20th-century English builders to build English-inspired instruments. When he withdrew from the business (at some uncertain point, as he did not wish it known), Sykes carried on producing ‘Hodsdon’ instruments for a while and then built under his own name....