Clockmaker family "PITT" from Frome UK, info needed

Discussion in 'General Clock Discussions' started by P.Hageman, Mar 5, 2020.

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  1. P.Hageman

    P.Hageman Registered User

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    Just bought a nice clock ( with the much appriciated help of our fellow member Novicetimekeeper) made by a member of the Pitt family of clockmakers living in Frome UK. It seems there has been written some information about this family in the book "Somerset clockmakers" by Moore. As I don't have this book, perhaps someone here can provide some information.
    Thanks in advance.

    3056477e-a025-4522-a39f-ab6d00e0f4b2.jpg
     
  2. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    I have the other somerset book ( author begins with a B?) It was about 3 generations of the family, starting with brass dial longcase. Your clock is the last generation I think. I could never quite work out which pitt this was, as edward and thomas were supposed to be active till 1800, Caleb earlier. This looks about 1830 or so. I think you need somebody with access to trade directories.

    The style of signature on the dial copies the shading seen on block script engraved silvered dials, although we haven't seen the clock yet, the opinion is that the dial is in original condition. It is an excellent choice, and I was watching the auction to see if it went above your bid as I was determined one of us should own it. I think you did very well.

    Note, the odd looking case is because in that pic the side door is open
     
  3. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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  4. jmclaugh

    jmclaugh Registered User

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    A very nice dial clock. Frome is best known in recent times as where Jenson Button the 2009 F1 world champion hails from. Anyway Loomes in Frome has the following with the name Pitt, Caleb late 18th C, Edward G c 1790-1800 and Thomas late 18th C?
     
  5. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    Yup, but this isn't a clock from 1800. There must be more.

    In horology Frome is more famous for producing DeLaunce, and he was master to William Monk.
     
  6. Chris Radano

    Chris Radano Registered User

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    #7 Chris Radano, Mar 6, 2020
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2020
    That's a really attractive clock. The dial looks great, and has some wear. If the dial is original, that's fantastic. Regardless, it's a nice antique clock. Congratulations!
    It seems like Nick likes it, too.
     
  7. jmclaugh

    jmclaugh Registered User

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    Presumably there aren't any more in your copy of Clockmakers of Somerset by Bellchambers? That's the only one on Somerset makers I'm aware of.
     
  8. DeanT

    DeanT Registered User

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    Very nice looking clock. What size is it?
     
  9. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    It's a 12" dial.

    My Bellchambers has an absolutely minimal reference, less than in Loomes. I think Loomes got his from the Moore book which is scarce and expensive. I do not believe this is an 1800 clock. The bezel, hands, and the movement plate shape suggest something no earler than 1820-30. I do have a convex iron dial that is 1800, but that has a concave bezel, tapered plates, and verge escapement.
     
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  10. P.Hageman

    P.Hageman Registered User

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    Nick, quite a lot of information you added here, thanks a lot. I am really happy with this clock and also happy the way you assisted with your help! ( could not do without). I would date this clock not earlier than 1835, which is for me quite an early dial clock. Here are some extra pictures which I probably may use here.

    View attachment 574768 image1(2).jpeg image4(2).jpeg image5(3).jpeg image7(3).jpeg image9(3).jpeg
     
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  11. jmclaugh

    jmclaugh Registered User

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    Nice to see some more pictures, I'd be happy with it too, I'd say it looks early 1800s.
     
  12. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    I would agree with your likely date, we need to track down some more information. There was a census about 1840 that should help, because it should have a clockmaker probably in whittox lane. Whatever the date it is a cracking clock, I really like the condition and the style of dial decoration, and I have always liked moon hands.
     
  13. Les harland

    Les harland Registered User

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  14. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    Excellent resource, thanks. That has Edward Pitt in Cheap Street, Silversmith, in the 1841 Census.

    Perhaps the Pitt family moved from clockmaking to Jewellery as the production became more centralised. As Jewellers they would have been able to retail clocks with their signature on the dial. Dial clock movements were generally bought in even by experienced clockmakers.
     
  15. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    Armed with this and searching for Edward the Jeweller

    Somerset County Gazette, Directory for Frome, 1840



    PITT(S), Edward Gollidge
    Silversmith & Jeweller
    Cheap St



    PITT, Thomas
    Silversmith & Jeweller; Agent to the United Mercantile Travellers Association
    Bath St
     
  16. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    Robsons 1839 trade directory

    PITT, E. G.
    Watch and Clock Maker and Silversmith
    Cheap St

    PITT, Thomas
    Watch and Clock Maker and Silversmith
    Bath St

    and Pigots 1842


    PITT, Thomas
    Watch and Clock Maker and Silversmith
    Bath St
     
  17. jmclaugh

    jmclaugh Registered User

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    #18 jmclaugh, Mar 6, 2020
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2020
    Good sleuthing Les and Nick and those dates show two out of three Pitts were working a bit later than Loomes' dates.
     
  18. P.Hageman

    P.Hageman Registered User

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    That information supplied by Nick and Les does match with the dat I thought this clock was made. I think its nearly impossible to say for sure which member of the Pitt family made this particulair clock? Perhaps one member made the clocks and supplied them to the other as well, thats why the dial is signed "Pitt" instead of "E.G.Pitt" or so?
     
  19. Les harland

    Les harland Registered User

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    Going slightl off topic
    If you look at Google maps and Street View both Cheap Street and Bath Street mentioned in post No17 still exist
    It might be possible to find the buildings the Pitt family used
    Cheap St certainly looks as if it dates back to the 19th century, Bath St probably does as well
     
  20. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    All the streets involved in the Pitt family records still exist, there must be house numbers on record somewhere.
     
  21. Les harland

    Les harland Registered User

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    When I said the streets date back to the 19th century I meant the buildings themselves look that as if they from that time or earlier
     
  22. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    Y

    Yes, Frome is pretty good, It wasn't bombed, and it doesn't appear to have suffered too much from local authority planning. I'm sure there is a good chance all the buildings the family used are still there, we just need the house numbers. (Though they may have changed over the years we are at least in with a chance)
     
  23. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    I thought after I said that I should check. Yeovil/yeovilton were heavily bombed but I can't see signs that Frome was.

    There was this, but the story seems to be that somebody buried it after the war.

    Unexploded WWII bomb found in Frome
     
  24. P.Hageman

    P.Hageman Registered User

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    It gets more and more interesting :)
     
  25. P.Hageman

    P.Hageman Registered User

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    I found this information on Cheapstreet: Cheap Street, located off the Market Place, is one of Frome’s prettiest streets. The street has retained its historic medieval character, with a leat running down the street, carrying water from the stream beneath St John’s Church. So it seems this street has probably still all the old buildings in place. Its a pity Google earth cannot be used to visit this street. Perhaps there are other sources where you can see all the houses??
    Perhaps the building which houses Charles Hart Jeweller. Seems this jeweller has been established in 1820!
     
  26. P.Hageman

    P.Hageman Registered User

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    Still more to come:

    John Webb was born in Frome, Somerset as the only son of Joseph Singer by his second wife. Joseph was an architect and builder, though he was listed as a mason at his son's birth, living in the Butts, and as a carpenter on a daughter's birth in 1820.[3] John Webb was named after his uncle, a farmer at Roddenberry near Longleat, who had been murdered six years before.[4] His father died when he was 3, leaving his widow destitute with six children. His family were not well off, as he received his education from the Frome Blue Coat Charity School,[5] as a ‘hat boy’, meaning he was of charity status, educated at the expense of the trustees. Opposite his family home in the Butts, Frome was a foundry for casting bells. He made an unsuccessful attempt to cast a toy cannon in iron, but failing that made it of lead. In 1834 he was apprenticed for five years to a local watchmaker, Thomas Pitt.[6] He managed his employer's business in Eagle Lane, just off Bath Street, and took it over in his own right as a watchmaker, clockmaker and jeweller in 1848.

    So the shop of Thomas Pitt was in Eagle Lane, just off Bath Street. I do not know what that means "just off" ?
     
  27. P.Hageman

    P.Hageman Registered User

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    Could this be the house in which the clockmaker/jeweller Pitt was living. It still is a jeweller shop, corner Eagle Lane an Bath Street.

    Picture.jpg
     
  28. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    Just off suggests it was a lane leading off from Bath Street and that the premises were near the junction of the two streets.
     
  29. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    so yes, that could be it. Contact the existing business and ask.
     
  30. P.Hageman

    P.Hageman Registered User

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    Nick, thanks. I will contact them!
     
  31. jmclaugh

    jmclaugh Registered User

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    Surprising what you can come up with with enough interest to look and lovely to know a clock from there is alive and well and ticking after all this time. I've been to Frome it was a nice place.
     
  32. Les harland

    Les harland Registered User

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    I find rooting out information about clock and watchmakers an interesting part part of our interest
     
  33. P.Hageman

    P.Hageman Registered User

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    Me too, I remember the first longcase clock I bought (more then 40 years ago) was made by Samuel Churchill from Dorchester. When I visited England in 1979 I traveled to Dorchester as well to find out that in the same building where Samuel had his clockbusiness there still was a jewellersshop!
     
  34. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    just down the road from me, and not that far from Frome.
     
  35. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    Picked this up for Peter today. It has a printed label inside from a restoration I think by a company no longer trading. However it has a London phone number with the code 081 which only existed from 1990-1995
     
  36. jmclaugh

    jmclaugh Registered User

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    Crikey, when I lived in London the code was 01. I hope in many years time someone is still interested enough in the clock they read the label.
     
  37. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    When I first lived in London the code from within London was the first three letters of the area code. My Nana's was Kelvin so KEL. You only dialled the 01 if you lived outside London.
     
  38. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    those little paper adhesive labels are fun. I was admiring an 8" convex dial clock that went way out of my reach at the time. When I opened the side door I found one of those labels. It turned out that the case was restored by the cabinet maker I use, the dial by the dial restorer , and the movement by the clock repairer. No wonder I thought it was a good job.
     
  39. daveR

    daveR Registered User
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    Very nice cl9ck, the features are all "right" and the dial,is very clean and sharp. For what it is worth, I got into market st using google streetview from google maps (not google earth) Itlooks very small and quiet!
    David
     
  40. Les harland

    Les harland Registered User

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    It has changed three times since then
    01 became 071 and 081 inner and outer London 6th may 1990
    071 and 081 became 0171 and 0181 16th April 1995
    Both became 020 22 April 2000
     
  41. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    Inner and outer are still different, 0207 and 0208. Now there is 0203 as well. They just keep running out of numbers. It used to be fun working out where an exchange was from the numbers, the remnants are still there. I'm 01202 for Bournemouth, Axminster is 01297, and Carlisle is 01228 based on the old alpha numeric system. There is more than one type of alphanumeric system but ours was based on this where the letters start on the 2 https://courses.cs.washington.edu/courses/cse374/14wi/homework/T9files/t9_keypad.jpg
     
  42. Les harland

    Les harland Registered User

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    Thanks Novice timekeeper
    That will teach me to blindly copy from Wikipedia
    I was working for BT (the phone company) in North London when all the changes happened
    Knowing when the changes happened will give a rough idea when a sticker in a clock was printed
     
  43. P.Hageman

    P.Hageman Registered User

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    Is this a forum on clocks ? :) :) :)
     
  44. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    Your clock has come to a halt until somebody takes it apart (that might happen)

    Have you heard anything back from the shop? I see that Delaunce was based in Cheap St too, perhaps the early Pitt was somehow connected to the premises?
     
  45. gleber

    gleber Registered User

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    Reading about all these places started to sound familiar. I then realized that I was there last May! I even had an enjoyable lunch with Nick a few towns over. I stayed at Archangel on King Street and Bath, one street over from Cheap St. I wish this thread came up before I was there - I certainly would have investigated further. I'll have to relive it vicariously through my photos and Google Maps... Here is my view down Cheap St towards Bath.

    cheap_street.jpg

    Thanks for the walk down memory lane. :)
    Tom
     
  46. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    Yes we were very close, which is why I nearly bought this myself as I regard Frome as local, and my interest in Delaunce.
     
  47. P.Hageman

    P.Hageman Registered User

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    #48 P.Hageman, Mar 16, 2020
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2020
    Tom, thats a real coincidence :) It seems to be the streets are not much altered since the early 19th century. My wife and I decided to visited Frome on our next travel to England. nick, no I did not hear anything yet. Perhaps they started an investigation?? (hope so)
     

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