So...what do we know about LaFoley?

  1. YorkSteve
    Not a lot!

    From a variety of web pages, I have gathered the following -

    George La Foley had a workshop in London (Rathbone Place?), through the 1920s and 1930s, making guitars, ukuleles and mandolins. They were all made by the man himself. I have seen examples of sopranos, (standard & round body), a tenor, and seen a taropatch mentioned.

    Apparently George Formby used LaFoley sopranos as practice instruments.

    My own soprano is about 50cm long, scale length 33cm, and weighs 290g.

    Does anyone have any other examples they want to share?
  2. YorkSteve
    I had always assumed his name was George LaFoley, as in the French style. But I have seen one instrument with a label which clearly says "L.A.Foley". So were they the middle initials of plain Mr Foley?
  3. ukulelekarcsi
    La Foley or Foley has nothing to do with French origins or follies, but is of Irish origins, 'O'Foghladha' meaning 'of the plunderer'. It's a common surname in Ireland. An English branch in Worcestershire added a more noble 'La' prefix to the name, either separated by a hyphen or not at all.

    Our George had an shop at Rathbone Place in 1904 building mandolins, and was one of the first Europeans to build lap steel guitars in 1920. Typical are his light builds, very sparse use of decoration, almost exclusive use of birch and mahogany as tonewoods. And the rubber ink stamp on the inside.

    He could have been was bombed during the Blitz, or closed shop a decade earlier, but there is no proof of either. Jack Abbott senior, banjo builder on Charing Cross Road, certainly knew La Foley well. The 1881 census registered 17 different George Foleys in London, but not a single George La Foley. Most were too old, but one George Foley was born in 1872 and lived in Soho, which could be right.
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