About us

The Bristol Violin Shop was established in 1986 by Neil Hansford and Nicholas Woodward.

The Bristol Violin Shop was originally in a premises on Cheltenham Road, in the late 1990s however, due to the success of the business and the demand for more space, the shop was relocated to the current premises at 12 Upper Maudlin Street.

Both Nick and Neil are experienced and well-respected instrument makers and restorers.

Neil Hansford studied Piano at the Royal Academy of Music and at Dartington College of Arts. He played professionally for the Royal Court Theatre, the National Theatre and provided the music for Stephen Berkofs play “East” and the London Theatre Group. He is still actively involved in local music making. Neil started making stringed instruments in 1973 and was a founder member of the Early Music Centre under the direction of Anthony Rooley of the Consort of Music. He specialised in making historical copies of members of the gamba family with commissions from local musicians as well as from abroad. He has instruments in The Petite Band, The Landini Consort, and other professional ensembles.

Neil works in the shop talking to customers and spends most of his workshop time on varnishing..

Nick Woodward studied for three years at the Newark School of Violin Making in the early 1970’s before relocating to Bristol. He set up and ran an evening course in Violin Making which lasted for ten years and taught part time at the Welsh School of Violin Making. He has made a variety of instruments from the bowed string family including violins, violas, cellos, arpeggione and viols. Nick has made instruments for players in The Academy of Ancient Music, The Parley of Instruments and The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

Nick now spends much of his time with customers in the shop discussing tonal requirements, adjusting soundposts and doing string trials. He also talks at Summer Schools, Festivals and In-service Training days on aspects of violin making, repair and set-up.

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