A Dictionary of Music and Musicians/Brownsmith, John

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BROWNSMITH, John Leman, was born in Westminster in 1809, and received his musical education as a chorister of Westminster Abbey under George Ebenezer Williams and Thomas Greatorex. On quitting the choir he pursued the study of the organ, and in a short time became not only an excellent player but acquired so perfect a knowledge of the structure of the instrument as to be able to build a small chamber-organ for himself. In 1829, on the death of Benjamin Jacob, Brownsmith was appointed his successor as organist of St. John's church, Waterloo Road. In March 1838 he was appointed a lay vicar of Westminster Abbey. In October 1848 he succeeded William Miller as organist to the Sacred Harmonic Society, in which capacity he officiated at the Handel Festivals at the Crystal Palace in 1857, 1859, 1862, and 1865. In 1853 he resigned his appointment at St. John's on being chosen organist of the then newly-erected church of St. Gabriel, Pimlico. He died Sept. 14, 1866.

[ W. H. H. ]