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Jeweller and Watchmaker 1880s

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Jeweller and Watchmaker 1880s

Postby janex » Tue Jan 31, 2017 6:36 pm

My grandfather must have trained to be jeweller and watchmaker as he had set himself up in business in Kent by 1881. How would he have trained? As an apprentice? Could he have trained locally or is it likely he would have had to go to London? Any information around this subject gratefully received. Thanks.
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Re: Jeweller and Watchmaker 1880s

Postby AdrianB38 » Tue Jan 31, 2017 10:33 pm

I don't have any specialised knowledge of watchmakers, etc, but I have seen one sort-of relative training as exactly that in the local small town where he lived.

Bear in mind that the difference between someone being trained and someone being apprenticed is fairly small at this time, I guess really referring to just how long and how extensive the training was. If they called him an apprentice, then that's what he was!

I'm sure that more specialised courses of training were available in London with major silversmiths, etc, but that doesn't sound like what we're talking about.
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Re: Jeweller and Watchmaker 1880s

Postby beacon » Wed Feb 01, 2017 10:32 am

My great-great grandfather was a watchmaker. In an account of his early life, written a couple of years before his death, he describes his apprenticeship in Northallerton:

"I continued my attendance at the school until I was five months off my sixteenth birthday when I entered on my five years apprenticeship. My daily toils were prolonged (from six o’clock in the morning until eight o’clock at night) without the intermission of meal hours – only time to eat and then back to work – and this for five years, and my trials severe – my master was a very selfish and bad-tempered man. My apprenticeship was a real and grinding servitude, but the abiding conviction that bore me up under the crushing pressure was that if I succeeded in acquiring a good practical knowledge of my delicate craft, I could go into the world with a power to choose not only whom I would serve, but should also secure to myself the experience and means of finally entering into business for myself. This sustained me from 1820 to 1825 and my present position in 1874 verifies the healthiness of all my forethoughts for the future.

The person to whom I was bound had not long been in business when I went to him and I was his first apprentice. He was a little man, rancorous and covetous, soulless and also unsympathetic. He never seemed to think that those he had under him could ever be sensible of hardship. For fourteen long hours per diem did I work as I have stated, day after day, to the end of my term, in an old thatched workshop down the yard with nothing before me outside but a blank wall and a dark roof to relieve the monotony of my drudgery.

Before six months had passed away, I began to count the years and months of my unexpired time and this sighing practice continued, often with a most despairing heart, until at last it came to days, and finally to hours, and when the last came, at twelve o’clock on the 15th May 1825, I was free. I walked over the eight miles to Bedale, through the district where I was born and grew up, to get my indentures from the attorney who had filled them in and where, by mutual consent, they had lain since I signed them, with the compliments that he had much pleasure in handing them to me."

By 1831, he had achieved his ambition and had his own watch and clockmaking business in Chesterfield.

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Re: Jeweller and Watchmaker 1880s

Postby paulr1949 » Tue Feb 07, 2017 3:13 pm

My wife's great grandfather was also a jeweller and watchmaker, first in Kensington (1881), then Bournemouth (1891) and finally Lowestoft (1901, 1911), where his son also was a watchmaker. In 1891 he had one apprentice.
There is a site which lists numerous watchmakers, my wife's greatgrandfather is listed, but you have to subscribe (£2.50 for one day) to look at details.
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