Thomas Russell & The Early English Watchmaking Marketplace

Thomas Russell ‘s title is synonymous with the Lancashire watch creating sector and he is an icon for enjoy purists and fans all-around the planet. But how he came to grow to be a watchmaker and why Lancashire performed these an vital position in the watchmaking field is a intriguing story.

In the 17th century farmers and agricultural workers who desired to dietary supplement their revenue in the course of the wintertime months undertook significantly of the do the job of watchmaking. In and all-around Lancashire this was notably critical and the proximity of metalworking, the availability of good steel tools and the port of Liverpool aided the advancement of the marketplace. By the 18th century view sections ended up remaining sub-contracted to small farms and cottages throughout the region.

Yet another issue in the progress of this cottage field ended up the important lower overheads that the farmers enjoyed as aspect-time personnel in their have homes. Somewhere else wages ended up the most significant contributor to the whole price tag of watch production with the value of raw products, aside from gold and silver made use of in the creating of high priced instances, somewhat small.

One commentator notes that, “From Prescott to Liverpool, 8 miles as the crow flies, the countryside was dotted with the cottages of spring makers, wheel cutters, chain makers, circumstance makers, dial makers – every single speciality that went into the earning of a watch.” By the end of the 18th century amongst 150,000 and 200,000 watches a calendar year had been becoming created by this system, fulfilling the nationwide have to have for exact timekeeping as the industrial revolution took maintain.

The Lancashire sub-contracting program allowed the manufacturing of watch actions at these low selling prices that by the close of the 18th century, the Lancashire producers have been giving most of the terrific enjoy firms in London, Coventry and Liverpool. All that these firms wanted to do was to make or supply their own circumstance and dial, and then assemble the look at.

Thomas Russell joined this hive of action in 1848 when he moved his business as a watch maker to Slater Road in Liverpool. The town was a key seafaring port and the manufacture of ships’ clocks and chronometers grew to become an significant revenue stream for the enterprise.

Thomas Russell’s father, also named Thomas Russell (1780-1830), the founder of this watchmaking dynasty, was born in Eskdale a modest village in Cumberland. He served his time in watchmaking in New St. Broughton-in-Furness Lancashire underneath William Bellman, he then served his journeyman time with William Wakefield in Current market St Lancaster where he afterwards started a enterprise of his very own in the similar avenue.

He had two sons one particular named Thomas was married to Mary in 1831. They also had two sons, Thomas Robert (1833-1894) born in Lancaster and Alfred Holgate Russell (1840-1893). In about 1840 the family moved to Halifax setting up a watchmaking small business in Lord St. It was listed here that Alfred was born.

By 1848 the family members had moved the moment far more and documents exhibit that Thomas Russell was a observe company with premises at 20 or 22 Slater Avenue, Liverpool and afterwards at quantity 32 in the similar street. It was here that Thomas Russell became arguably Liverpool ‘s best watchmaker and the business enterprise made good quality watches and clocks, including the celebrated Russell Hunter pocket enjoy. Thomas Senior and his oldest son Thomas Robert have been granted a Royal Warrant by Queen Victoria indicating their speedy progress in check out producing.

All around 1859, Thomas handed in excess of control of the enterprise to his sons Thomas Robert and Alfred Holgate and the business altered its name to Thomas Russell & Son. Following Thomas Russell’s dying in 1867 the organization was divided into two the trade facet ongoing beneath the identical name and was run by Alfred and Thomas ran Russells Minimal. The retail company grew to become importers of Swiss watches and songs bins.

By 1877 the company experienced moved the enterprise when a lot more, this time to Cathedral Operates, 12 Church Avenue, Liverpool, with added offices at Piccadilly in London and Toronto, Canada. It was now acknowledged as the Russell View and Chronometer Manufactory and was stated in 1880 as “look at and chronometer manufacturers and machine designed keyless lever and jewelry retailers” and moreover, “by Appointment to Her Majesty the Queen and HRM the Duke of Edinburgh and the Admiralty”.

Just after Queen Victoria’s dying, Thomas Russell still signed their watches “Makers to Queen Victoria” even although officially the warrant experienced ceased with the Queens dying. This was tolerated for a time prior to they eliminated this from their watches.

Next the fatalities of Thomas Robert and Alfred Holgate, Alfred’s son Bernard Holgate Russell and his cousin Thos Townsend Russell took in excess of the enterprise and the name of the small business was adjusted in 1894 to Russells Confined. From this date it appears that they ongoing as retail jewellers with quite a few branches in Liverpool and, by the early 1900’s, Manchester and Llandudno as perfectly.

Bernard married and had a son Thomas Graham (1906-1999). In 1915 Bernard and Thos Townsend Russell invited Joseph Wright to become a fellow director of Thos Russell & Son. Joseph had intensive trade know-how, travelled extensively and had small business contacts in Switzerland and functioning knowledge with the renowned American Illinois Enjoy Scenario Co.

The sons of these directors all appeared to have worked in and run the company in later a long time. All through WW2 Joseph Wright held the agency going irrespective of wartime shortages of supplies and males right up until the sons returned from the war. In about 1994 the two the retail Liverpool Russells Ltd and the workshops and offices at 12 Church Street closed their doorways for the final time.

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