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William Webster Movement?

Ryall

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Oct 9, 2021
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Hello,

I am very new to collecting and I cam across this clock at a sale recently.

It was a bracket clock that was heavily damaged by a fire, but I thought it was a cool example.

The dial is marked "William Webster" and either "Exchange Alley" or "Change Alley". The plate on the back is also marked "Webster" and "London".

The case and movement were both damaged by fire, but I couldn't resist.

Anyone have any insights on this movement? I've found some good info on the Webster family online, but would welcome any other ideas about this clock's age, operation, etc.

Thanks!

IMG_0908.JPG IMG_0909.JPG IMG_0910.JPG IMG_0912.JPG
 

novicetimekeeper

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The case would be oak and then veneered or possibly gessoed and lacquered, you should be able to tell. It is a belltop design case. The handle looks fractured, if so that is obtainable, the bell too. A replacement spandrel may be more of a problem, but you could get one cast from one of the others. A new case from scratch here would be about £1000
 
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Ryall

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Thanks! I'm going to try and take some better references pictures.
 

JTD

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The dial is marked "William Webster" and either "Exchange Alley" or "Change Alley". The plate on the back is also marked "Webster" and "London".
This would seem to be William Webster Jnr, listed by Baillie as working in London (Change Alley) apprenticed 1727, working until 1776. His father, William Snr. had been apprenticed to Thos. Tompion, so quite a horological history!

Well done for saving it.

JTD
 
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DeanT

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Here's a few pieces of information...LOL

I think there most of the first 3 William Webster's starting from the one who was apprenticed to Tompion, his advert after Tompions death. Most of the birth, apprenticeship, marriage, burial notices and wills for all three are here.

I've probably got more stuff....

Cheers
Dean


AN00283772_001_l.jpg webster.png WebsterAd.jpg WebsterWiiliamIIIApp.jpg WebsterWiiliamIMarriage.jpg WebsterWilliamIApp.jpg WebsterWilliamIBirth.jpg WebsterWilliamIDeath.jpg WebsterWilliamIIApp.jpg WebsterWilliamIIBirth.jpg WebsterWilliamIIDeath.jpg WebsterWilliamIIDeath2.jpg WebsterWilliamIIIBirth.jpg WebsterWilliamIIIDeath.jpg WebsterWilliamIIMarriage.jpg WilliamWebsterIIBirth.jpg WilliamWebsterIIIDeath.jpg WilliamWebsterIIIDeath2.jpg
 

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jmclaugh

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Jun 1, 2006
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Hopefully you can bring it back to life. There is also a listing for William Webster & Son 1770-1800 Change Alley, the son may have been Richard who is listed on his own at Change Alley 1811.
 

DeanT

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Hopefully you can bring it back to life. There is also a listing for William Webster & Son 1770-1800 Change Alley, the son may have been Richard who is listed on his own at Change Alley 1811.
This is from Jeff Formby clocks. Most of the documents relating to the these makers are in my previous post.


The Webster family clockmaking business in London


The Webster family clockmaking business was founded by William Webster (i) in 1711 and passed from father to son for almost 200 years.
William Webster (i) was apprenticed to John Barnet in March 1701 and transferred to Thomas Tompion where he completed his apprenticeship and worked as a journeyman.
Webster became a freeman of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers in 1710 and started his own business at Exchange Alley, London in 1711. 4 days after Tompion's death on 20 November 1713 Webster placed a newspaper advertisement stating that he had worked for Tompion and was now working on his own at the Dial and Three Crowns in Exchange Alley.
William Webster (i) was elected to the position of Junior Warden in the Clockmakers Company in 1734 but died during his year in office on 13 August 1735.
The business passed to from William (i) to his son William Webster (ii). William Webster (ii) was apprenticed to his father on 15 January 1727 and became a freeman of the Clockmakers Company in 1734. He married a relation, Sarah Webster in 1739 and was Master of the Clockmakers Company in 1755.
William Webster (ii) died in 1770. William Webster (ii) had two sons William (iii) and Richard (i). William (iii) died soon after his father and the business passed to his brother Richard (i).
There is no record of Richard's apprenticeship but he became free of the Clockmakers Company in 1779. Richard was not a good businessman and ran up gambling debts which were paid by selling his London home and the stock.
Richard (i) died in 1807 but before then, in 1802, the business passed to his son Richard (ii) who was only seventeen at the time. Richard (ii) was apprenticed to Joseph Jolly in April 1800 and became a freeman of the Clockmakers Company in 1807. Although he inherited the business when only an apprentice he was able to build up the business again and in about 1813 moved the business from Exchange Alley to Cornhill.
The business eventually passed to his son, Richard (iii) in 1849 when Richard (ii) died. Richard (iii) was apprenticed to his father in 1834 and became a freeman of the Clockmakers Company in 1844.
Richard moved the business from Cornhill to Queen Victoria Street in 1872 and traded there for 10 years, prior to his death in 1882. The business then passed to Richard (iii)'s son Richard Godfrey Webster, who remained at Queen Victoria Street until he moved to Gracechurch Street in 1902.
Richard Godfrey Webster was not very successful and the business passed out of his control to Richard Webster Ltd around 1904. By 1914 the firm had ceased trading.
The first 5 generations (William i & ii, Richard i, ii & iii) of the Webster family were all accomplished horologists, best known for their clocks and watches. The three Richards are also known for a small number of marine chronometers.​
 
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DeanT

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The attached document references the attached documents

Plus i've added their children and William's wife death notice.


Sarah Webster Death.jpg WebsterAlphonsusBirth.jpg WebsterDanielIBirth.jpg WebsterDanielIIBirth.jpg WebsterGodfreyIBirth.jpg WebsterGodfreyIIBirth.jpg WebsterGodfreyIIDeath.jpg WebsterRichardIBirth.jpg WebsterRichardIIBirth.jpg
 

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novicetimekeeper

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Part of the alley was involved in a major fire in the mid 18th century that started in a wig makers. Quite a few buildings were lost including some of the coffee houses. Websters don't appear to have moved at that time so presumably their part of the alley was unaffected.

I've never been able to ascertain whether it was named after the Royal exchange which was built in the 16th century, records of the area usually say change alley existed before the exchange was built but don't say if it had a different name. I've looked it up in various sources over the years and not been able to resolve that in my mind. The area chosen to build the exchange was already a meeting place for merchants, perhaps it was the Royal bit that was new.
 

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