With this maker – as with Ralph Gout, about whom I wrote in Antiquarian Horology, June 2016 – the son lacked the father’s craft skills as well as business acumen. As a result it was under the father’s name that the business was carried on after his death. This assured a maintenance of reputation for a while and demonstrates that the concept of a trusted, quality ‘Brand’ was as commercially important in Victorian times as it is today.
My new subject managed to get through a seven figure (in current value terms) legacy in just 11 years. There are indications that this came about through overtrading with a reliance on high sales volumes with small profit margins, the carrying of excessive amounts of stock and a move to high-overheads premises. There is however also a strand which is all too typical of late Victorian urban society – chronic ill health brought about by environmental factors. The son contracted TB and was forced to relocate to the coast, where he nevertheless died decades short of his three-score-and-ten and no longer a well-known watchmaker/retailer and jeweller, but a humble boarding house keeper.
I am aiming to publish a substantial article on this watchmaking family in the autumn/winter.