For generations of violinists, cellists and double bass players, William Hofmann's violin shop on Dublin's Lincoln Place has been a central part of their music making.

Descended from a long line of musicians and instrument makers, the current proprietor, Willy Hofmann, will soon move from Lincoln Place, as the building which in which the shop is based is due for redevelopment.  

He took over the business from his father, Georg Wilhelm Hofmann, who was the son of Adolf Wilhelmj, who had come from Germany in 1898 to teach in the Royal Irish Academy of Music in nearby Westland Row. 

Adolf Wilhelmj was the son of August Wilhelmj - violinist, concertmaster, teacher, and friend of the great German composer Richard Wagner.

James Plunkett, himself a violinist, recalls being brought to the shop for the first time in 1928 by his father, and on a visit finds that not much had changed,

The smell of it, the colour of it, the whole atmosphere of it, remained I’m sure, just as it had been in the first decade of the century.

Dublin of 1910 and throughout the 1920s, depended almost exclusively on live music. Pit orchestras supplied music in the theatres and the cinemas, as this was the era of silent films.  Smaller groups entertained at social functions, and in the cafés, the sound of fiddle, piano and cello were heard amid the rattle of cups and saucers. 

The fiddle was king, and fiddle makers and repairers such as Hofmann were kept busy, 

So damaged instruments came in from professionals, amateur enthusiasts, schools of music, were carefully labelled and nursed back to health.

'The Shape Of Our Lives : William Hofmann’ was broadcast on 12 April 1973.  The presenter is James Plunkett.

Billed in the RTÉ Guide as "A seven part series in which emphasis is placed on the visual aspect of the world around us", ‘The Shape Of Our Lives’ was a once-off series which ran from April to May 1983.