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Watchmaking in Coventry

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moriarty
allesley park coventry
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196 of 225  Wed 25th Nov 2020 3:16pm  
Member: Joined Oct 2017  Total posts:54

Hi Gumnut, Oh Dear, I'm rather in the firing line with something to come up with. Nice Australian wooden table by the way! I think we agreed that the casemaker was William Nock of St John Street, Coventry, with a caveat that William Ryley of St John Street took over the stamps issued by Birmingham Assay Office 1832 "ish", not William Naul. I suggested you could get a nice person to look up the 1841 census for St John Street to see what's going on - also the parish records (St Michael's)? to see if he kicked the bucket around then. I think there is a museum also at the B A O. What was it that was said about the watch in your group forum (you can ping me on that) that you were concerned about? The silver pair of cases are fine, Coventry, the photos are a little out of focus - that rivet near the hinge is a little odd, the movement must fit in the hinge snugly. The watch seems in excellent condition for over 200 years old and it's been halfway round the world. All the screws are perfect - it's either been really professionally restored or kept in a safe. As regards the movement, I don't think it is Coventry! I think if you could find out more on N Preston, London (they were working in a small area in London), so either the goldsmiths' hall or, again, a census, might be the key to proving it is the movement for the case, as there would have been more marriages of case to movement and they might have an example. You have the later style regulator on the balance which is kosher, but Coventry movements were very traditional so the engraving was old English, so the word FAST was spelt, FAFT. This went on right up to Alan Burdess watches, and the graduations were unique to each area. Coventry had a diamond shape in a cross. Those ones look like fleur de lis (there are books on this I think). I would lean towards the Liverpool area, what with the name Preston on it, and on the cock what looks like a Liver Bird! Could the building have been constructed then? It's only an idea, but they did honour events like coronations. The only other thing I would question, and it's probably because it's out of focus, is on the second photo that fuzee cone looks like it has teeth missing. All in all I think you did very well, I'm envious.
Industry, Business and Work - Watchmaking in Coventry
Annewiggy
Tamworth
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197 of 225  Wed 25th Nov 2020 7:27pm  
Member: Joined Jan 2013  Total posts:1840

William Nock is living in Cook Street in 1841 and that adress is given when he died 27th June 1844. The house in Cook Street is for sale in September 1944 and it is described as a newly erected dwelling so he could have recently moved there. William Ryley was living in Jordan Well in 1941. There is nobody called Nock or Ryley living in St John Street which seems to be occupied mostly by weavers. William Nock went to the Fleur de Lys public house in Smithford Street on the 27th June 1944, called for a glass of porter, before he could drink it he fell down dead!
Industry, Business and Work - Watchmaking in Coventry
Gumnut
Moruya NSW Australia
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198 of 225  Thu 26th Nov 2020 4:32am  
Member: Joined Jun 2014  Total posts:74

Thank you everyone for your responses and fantastic information. Earlsdon Kid, our watches are so very similar, the dial and hands are exact and the scrolling/engraving nearly match. Mine was serviced in Amargh, I have 4 or 5 service tokens but they are undated. I had to buy mine from the US, would have loved to have inherited it. Bill, I’m glad that you like the watch. It’s in great condition (far better than me), I think it was just very well cared for. I’ve had a closer look at the fusee cone (I’m learning the terminology now) and I think it was due to the poor photo as I have zoomed in and the teeth are all intact. I had never noticed the engraved bird before... well spotted, I agree there that it’s a Liver Bird. I have also read during my searches it mentioned about the fleur de lys being a noted sign of a Liverpool watch. We are slowly putting the puzzle together. Are Liverpool watches regarded highly or just run of the mill? I am still slightly confused on something, are these movements not anything like a Massey or English table roller? Anne, can I get you to do another search for me, for the year 1831. I really appreciate you helping me out, I'm quite clueless with that kind of thing. Thanks again everyone.
Industry, Business and Work - Watchmaking in Coventry
Gumnut
Moruya NSW Australia
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199 of 225  Thu 26th Nov 2020 4:45am  
Member: Joined Jun 2014  Total posts:74

Here is another photo which may also help. Does the serial number 2936 mean anything? Can this also be used to track down the maker etc?
Industry, Business and Work - Watchmaking in Coventry
Prof
Gloucester
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200 of 225  Thu 26th Nov 2020 9:10am  
Member: Joined Jul 2014  Total posts:1537

My Atkins ancestors were in the watchmaking trade, and came originally from Clerkenwell, though there is evidence they were in Coventry before that. Edward Atkins was baptised in Holy Trinity, Coventry 1791. Apprenticed 3 Feb 1807 to William Hale, Watchmaker, Coventry. Edward = Mary Clemson Holy Trinity, 7 Mar 1821. Died by 1851 Census, or estranged from wife living in Coulston household, lodging house, Gosford Street. 5 children, 3 born in Clerkenwell but baptised Coventry, St John. In the book 'The mystery of the Coventry Cappers' It states that the Watchmaking trade suffered a depression in the 17th century until 'about 1750 when the first of the Rotherhams John Bottrill began to develop the craft again.' Edited by member, 26th Nov 2020 9:16 am
Industry, Business and Work - Watchmaking in Coventry
moriarty
allesley park coventry
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201 of 225  Thu 26th Nov 2020 3:22pm  
Member: Joined Oct 2017  Total posts:54

I think I had better repeat the data I gave to you, Gumnut, so everyone can see the info. The book, Watch Case Makers of England: A History and Register of Gold & Silver Watch Case Makers of England: 1720 - 1920 (NAWCC Bulletin Supplement 20, Spring 1994), Philip T Priestley. Page 173 - maker’s mark and address WR, William Ryley, St John Street, Coventry, 1790. Now I assume this info has been obtained from the Birmingham assay records. Page 173 - maker’s mark WN 3rd Nov 1830, William Nock (late Wm Ryley ) case and pendant maker, St John Street, Coventry. Now I assume someone died and William Riley took over the stamps! So Gumnut’s watch case could have been made by Ryley. Anne said he was in Jordan Well later, 1841? It’s near, it could also be his son. It took me forever to find this info again (you can see the stamp WN on Gumnut’s last photo). I'm not a watch expert, unfortunately and really I was just relaying the info that you had perhaps picked the wrong casemaker. Table roller and the other one you said, these are just escape mechanisms, you probably would not see the difference between a lever movement and them,unless you recognised the maker and slight variations, but of course yours is verge, it mostly predates them. Carousel or tourbillon, now they are the ones worth a king’s ransom. All these cities had special makers, desirable watches but as I said the plates were stamped out in Prescot area, shipped to Coventry, built up and the best taken to London, stripped, refined, hallmarked London and sold. Those without the London stamp were classed country watches, that's why later Rotherham’s had an office in London to obtain the London hallmark. Of course all makers sold generally. Hope this helps. Oh, I put Alan Burdess in post 196, it should have been Adam. Sorry.
Industry, Business and Work - Watchmaking in Coventry
Annewiggy
Tamworth
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202 of 225  Thu 26th Nov 2020 5:32pm  
Member: Joined Jan 2013  Total posts:1840

Sorry Gumnut, the 1841 census is the first detailed census available
Industry, Business and Work - Watchmaking in Coventry
Gumnut
Moruya NSW Australia
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203 of 225  Fri 27th Nov 2020 6:39am  
Member: Joined Jun 2014  Total posts:74

Thanks everyone. Great info Bill, extremely helpful Kevin.
Industry, Business and Work - Watchmaking in Coventry
moriarty
allesley park coventry
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204 of 225  Mon 30th Nov 2020 1:09pm  
Member: Joined Oct 2017  Total posts:54

On 26th Nov 2020 9:10am, Prof said: My Atkins ancestors were in the watchmaking trade, and came originally from Clerkenwell, though there is evidence they were in Coventry before that. Edward Atkins was baptised in Holy Trinity, Coventry 1791. Apprenticed 3 Feb 1807 to William Hale, Watchmaker, Coventry. Edward = Mary Clemson Holy Trinity, 7 Mar 1821. Died by 1851 Census, or estranged from wife living in Coulston household, lodging house, Gosford Street. 5 children, 3 born in Clerkenwell but baptised Coventry, St John. In the book 'The mystery of the Coventry Cappers' It states that the Watchmaking trade suffered a depression in the 17th century until 'about 1750 when the first of the Rotherhams John Bottrill began to develop the craft again.'
Prof, I read the above with interest, but the bit about Rotherham and Bottrill, I think there's something wrong with the timeline there? Rotherham, of course, did a lot for the Coventry trade, but he would have been in nappies in the 1750's. Now this is from memory so feel free to fault it. He was born 1754ish, had a watch shop in Cross Cheaping around 1780's, before he joined Vale’s, maybe 1790's. Old John Bottrill, he seems more of a clockmaker, maintaining the Holy Trinity clock and chimes, 1710ish, so was more ropes, wooden wheels and pulleys. He had a shop next to the White Lion, Smithford Street. Later he did write "watchmaker" in deeds. I read it was John Bottrill and others who revived the trade. Now this might have been Gabriel Holland, watchmaker, who had a shop in Broadgate, 1735. Samuel Vale, watchmaker, didn't finish his apprenticeship until 1750 so it wasn't him.There was Bradshaw and Ryley (beautiful watches). A librarian (Birmingham library) wrote a book saying Bradshaw was an apprentice of John Bottrill. Unfortunately nobody bothers to list where they get the info from. There's no doubt John was influential in reviving the trade so if you come across anything relating to him let me know. He had a son, Ebenezer, who was a watchmaker, 1750's, and there was Richard Holland, watchmaker, with a shop in Earl Street, but he was around Samuel Vale’s age.
Industry, Business and Work - Watchmaking in Coventry
Roger T
Torksey
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205 of 225  Mon 30th Nov 2020 9:48pm  
Member: Joined Jul 2019  Total posts:543

Reference Rotherhams I noticed when flicking through Midland Red`s photographs one of a blue plaque announcing that Rotherhams were founded in 1850 by Samuel Vale. The only other information I have about them is my grandmother Annie Bryan worked there, her husband William H Turner was from a watchmaking family, along with his brothers, George and Alec.
Industry, Business and Work - Watchmaking in Coventry
moriarty
allesley park coventry
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206 of 225  Tue 1st Dec 2020 11:37am  
Member: Joined Oct 2017  Total posts:54

Hi Roger, MR has so many posts and you didn't give a reference number, so I couldn't find it. I would think that should be 1750 not 1850. We were taught the mayors of Coventry at school. Samuel Vale (watchmaker) 1777, he died in 1786. The founding day of Rotherham's changes depending what book you pick up, could be 1747/1749/1750. No research is done, it's just passed book to book. This intrigued me, so I got out my bucket and spade and went digging down the archive. What I found was quite unexpected and rewrites local history if true. Samuel Vale did not start Rotherham's. He purchased an established watch manufactory in 1752, this had been going since at least 1747 (hence the discrepancy in dates). So who owned the manufactory and where was it? Richard Holland (watchmaker)! and it wasn't in Spon Street, it was on the corner of Bayley Lane in Earl Street. Vale stayed there for 20 years with his partner George Howlette. You would have to look up Richard's family history to establish when he started, but 1747 for now!
Industry, Business and Work - Watchmaking in Coventry
Wearethemods
Aberdeenshire
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207 of 225  Tue 1st Dec 2020 12:12pm  
Member: Joined Jun 2013  Total posts:477

Interesting to me the name Bottrill, as it was the name in a branch of our family which I had long forgotten about. I thought it an unusual surname, but maybe it was common in Coventry in previous centuries. If not, then part of our family maybe descendants of John. I remember visiting an elderly 'aunt' who was bedridden in the 1950's and lived in Sovereign Road, Earlsdon or a road nearby. Unfortunately any members of the family I could ask have all passed. Maybe someone on the forum might clarify.
Industry, Business and Work - Watchmaking in Coventry
Mick Strong
Coventry
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208 of 225  Tue 1st Dec 2020 12:17pm  
Member: Joined Oct 2020  Total posts:381

There was a Jeff Bottrill in my year at Woodlands School (1961). Do not know where he lived.
Mick Strong

Industry, Business and Work - Watchmaking in Coventry
Annewiggy
Tamworth
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209 of 225  Tue 1st Dec 2020 12:27pm  
Member: Joined Jan 2013  Total posts:1840

In "Moments in time" - The History of the Coventry watch industry volume 1, it says "in 1747 the firm of VALE was established, Samuel Vale serving as Mayor on 4 separate occasions. The firm subsequently became Vale & Howlette, then Vale, Howlette, Carr and Rotherham. Richard Kevitt Rotherham was a former apprentice of the firm which eventually became Rotherham and Sons. Rotherham went on to become the major employer and manufacturer and came to enjoy an international reputation. By 1899 they employed 400-500 people plus about 200 outworkers and produced 100 watches a day".
Industry, Business and Work - Watchmaking in Coventry
Heathite
210 of 225  Tue 1st Dec 2020 12:48pm  
Off-topic / chat  


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