Margaret Debenham

Margaret Debenham


B.A. Hons. (First Class), The Open University, 1990
Ph.D. Institute of Educational Technology, The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK, 2001

Member of The Royal Historical Society (elected 2016)

Member of The Royal Musical Association, The Galpin Society, The British Harpsichord Society, The American Musical Instrument Society (AMIS) and The Furniture History Society

Contact e-mail: mdcontact 'at'

Margaret Debenham’s professional background is in the field of educational technology. Her doctoral studies concerned an exploration of certain applications of computer mediated conferencing to support the studies of disabled distance learners in tertiary education. Further information on her personal experience in this field is available on her Biographical Background page.

The full text of her doctoral thesis (2001) in PDF format is available for download via the Open University Open Research Online website

Now retired, as an independent scholar she continues to maintain an interest in exploring innovative uses of Computer Mediated Communication (CMC), with a particular focus on the use of internet based resources as a research tool to locate and obtain historical primary source materials in the Arts and Humanities field.

Her present research interests concern an exploration of the personal and business histories of a number of 18th - early 19th century keyboard makers. Her publications to date in this field include articles featuring the life and work of William Southwell; of Roger Plenius, Frederick Neubauer and H B Viator (co-authored with Michael Cole); and of Joseph Merlin. See her Historical Musicology pages for more information and her Publications page for full references. 

In addition, her website devoted to a biographical account of William Southwell (1736/7-1825), Anglo-Irish Musical Instrument Inventor and Maker, is now publicly available on-line.

Concurrently Debenham also maintains an active interest in the history of the illustrious Victorian portrait photographers, ‘Southwell Brothers, Photographers Royal’, direct descendants of William Southwell.

As of 1 July 2019, Taylor and Francis are kindly continuing to offer free on-line access to a number of the 'most read' papers in their series of music journals for a limited period of time, and this includes Debenham's two publications listed below. To take advantage of this offer, click on the DOI links given in the following citations. In each case, this will take you directly to the article on the Journal website.

Margaret Debenham and Michael Cole, 2013: ‘Pioneer Piano Makers in London, 1737–1774: newly discovered documentary sources’ in The Royal Musical Association Research Chronicle Vol. 44 Issue 1, Abingdon: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group, 55-86. [Abstract available on my Publications page.]


Margaret Debenham, 2014. 'Joseph Merlin in London, 1760–1803: the Man behind the Mask. New Documentary Sources' in The Royal Musical Association Research Chronicle,
Vol. 45 Issue 1, Abingdon: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group, 130-163. [Abstract available on my Publications page.]


Additonally, the following article (co-authored with Michael Cole) has now been published in Vol 43 (2018) of The London Journal.

Margaret Debenham and Michael Cole. 'Marquetry Cabinets containing Newly Fashionable Pianofortes made in Eighteenth–Century London: the cabinet maker’s pianoforte – or the pianoforte maker’s cabinet?' in The London Journal  Vol.43, Issue 3, 2018: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group, 289-311. Abstract


[Author's note, 1 July 2019. We are pleased to be able to offer a limited number of complimentary e-prints of this article to readers with an interest in the fields of musical instrument and furniture history who are not able to access it via their academic institutions. This offer is limited to one copy per person, for the purpose of personal private research only. To view, follow this link

My latest article entitled Thomas Chippendale (1718 - 1779): Musical Instrument Connections and New Insights is now available (August, 2018). See Article 7 on the New Resources page of my website for the Abstract and link to the pdf. copy of the full paper - one copy may be downloaded for the purpose of personal private research only.

This is one of my suite of websites, selected for archiving by the British Library.

Page last updated 1 July 2019

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