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Cocks, William Alfred (1892–1971), clockmaker and bagpipe scholar, was born on 8 October 1892 at St Mary's Terrace, Ryton, co. Durham, the son of John Cocks, banker's clerk, and his wife, Elizabeth Cummings, née Dunlop. As a small boy he conceived what proved to be a lifelong interest in the pipes after being given a toy set as a present. He worked as a master watch- and clockmaker but in his leisure became an expert craftsman and skilled player of the bagpipes. Over the years he made many fine sets of Northumbrian small pipes, taking pride in doing everything himself, down to sewing the bags and bellows. From the time of the First World War onwards, he travelled the country in search of instruments made by others. The important collection which he gradually acquired is now held at the ...

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Mell, Davis (1604–1662), violinist and clockmaker, was born on 15 November 1604 at Wilton near Salisbury, where his father, Leonard Mell (d. 1641), was in the employ of William Herbert, third earl of Pembroke. Although not appointed to a place in the court musical establishment until late in 1626, ...

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John Joseph Merlin (1735–1803) by Thomas Gainsborough, 1782 ? English Heritage Photo Library / The Bridgeman Art Library

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Merlin, John Joseph (1735–1803), inventor, was born or baptized, or possibly both born and baptized, on 17 September 1735 at Huy, Southern Netherlands, into a family who were probably inventors. He was the third child of Maximilien Joseph Merlin (born at Cambrai, 8 January 1710) and ...