About Us

The Eshelby Family History since 1865

Edwin Eshelby was born in Upton St. Leonards, in Gloucester, England on the 13th of February 1852 and died in 1912. He started his apprenticeship with HALE and CO in 1865 as a 13 year-old. Five years later, aged eighteen, he travelled to New York in America. On his second day there, he applied for a job as a piano tuner at the firm Steinway and Sons, and was fortunate enough to be accepted the next day. Edwin was very well liked and stayed with Steinway until 1877. After 12 years in America, he returned to London, aged 30, to work with Steinway in London for 10 years. He was then appointed as manager of Steinway and Sons in London at Lower Seymour Street West. 

His son, George Washington Eshelby, was born in New York on the 9th of October 1877 and died on the 1st of June 1922 in London. George Washington followed his father’s example,   working firstly as a travelling representative for Steinway and Sons and after his father’s death, as the manager of Steinway and Sons for Great Britain and her colonies. 

His son, Edwin Aslett Eshelby, was born on the 2nd of June 1908 in St. Marylebone in London and died in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1993. Edwin Aslett (known as Ted) also became a travelling representative for Steinway and Sons in London. Later he was based at Steinway and Sons factory in Hamburg, Germany. In 1939, Ted immigrated to South Africa with his German wife Rosina Schuster- Schneider, who was born on the 3rd of March 1913 in Altenmarkt/ near Munich in Germany. She died in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1997. 

Ted was appointed the concert tuner for POLLIACKS, and several years later, he founded ESHELBY PIANOS at his home and workshop in African Street/ Orchard, Johannesburg. Ted’s work area included areas from Witbank to Komatipoort to Mozambique. On these excursions to visit his customers, he often took his two sons, William (Billy) and James (Jimmy), with him. These times are still fondly remembered with great affection by both sons. 

Ted changed the name from Eshelby Pianos to Eshelby and Son when his son William (Billy) aged 16, joined his father’s business in 1954, and to Eshelby and Sons two years later in 1956, when his son James (Jimmy) became 16 years of age and followed Billy to work in the family business. The business was moved from African Street to 6, Murray Street, in Waverley, also in Johannesburg. Finally, the business was permanently moved to Louis Botha Avenue in Orange Grove, Johannesburg and established with a workshop and showroom. It was here that the Eshelby and Sons name and business gained recognition for ‘service of excellence’, a reputation which exists to this day. It was also at Orange Grove that Jimmy (James George) started the piano hire business.

William Alois Eshelby was born in July 1938 in Hamburg, Germany.

In the early 1960’s Billy went to work for Smith and Hall Pianos in Salisbury, Rhodesia.

Whilst there, he had a very serious motorbike accident and his brother Jimmy -born on the 21st October 1940 in Johannesburg.- replaced him while he returned to Johannesburg to recover in the care of his family. From then on Billy remained with his father’s business in Orange Grove. 

James George (Jimmy) remained working at Smith and Hall in Salisbury for several years. In 1964/65 Jimmy travelled to England, then America, and lastly to Frobisher Bay in Baffin Island in Canada’s North West Territory. In 1966, he returned to South Africa to re-join the family piano business. Sailing from Trieste, Italy, on the Europa, which was on her last voyage through the Suez Canal, he met his wife-to-be, Helga Stross, who was born on the 15th of August 1941 in Munich, Germany, who had boarded the Europa in Venice.

Helga Ruth Elmire Aline Eshelby-Stross is the daughter of Wilhelm Stross and Ruth Hasse-Stross. Her father was a well-known and popular German musician, details of whom can be found at the following URLs: Her Mother was the daughter of Karl Hasse - German composer and organist. 

1.               (https://www.google.co.za/#q=Wilhelm+Stross+german+musician 

2.               https://www.google.co.za/#q=Karl+Hasse+German+composer+and+organist 

In late 1971 Jimmy, Helga, and son Ray- born on the 5th of February 1969 in Johannesburg - moved to then Salisbury in Rhodesia, where Jimmy re-joined Smith and Hall Pianos. It was here that their second son Déon was born on the 16th of January 1974. Due to the ill health of Jimmy’s father Ted, the family moved back to Johannesburg, where Jimmy again joined Eshelby and Sons in Orange Grove, and started the Piano Hire business.

Eshelby Pianos in Orange Grove, Johannesburg

The current location of Eshelby Hire Pianos is in Winsome Valley. see the photo on the Home page.

Eshelby Pianos in Lanseria, Gauteng