J Birdsall, Skipton. Part one?

PHOTOS REQUIRED - marks + item
Essexboy Fisher
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J Birdsall, Skipton. Part one?

Postby Essexboy Fisher » Fri Feb 01, 2019 4:24 pm

Hello, this post is a bit like an auction mixed lot and I was not sure about where to post it. Sorry you got the short straw. It was to be a post concerning a jeweller based in the North of England with the name “J.Birdsall”. His jeweller’s shop was in the market town of Skipton in North West Yorkshire but confusingly web searches often threw up “S.Birdsall” watchmaker, Skipton. They could be relatives, but in some of England’s northern counties “Birdsall” is up to 5% of the surnames, and unsurprisingly in North Yorkshire there is a place with that name.
From the 1881 census “Samuel Birdsall”, watchmaker, was living with has parents at Skipton in Bold Venture Cottages, Keighley Road. At that dwelling along with sisters were a younger male sibling James and 2 much younger siblings John William, and Harry. Some images follow of items carrying the “S.Birdsall” name.

Image
Image

Obviously there is some information to be taken from these images. The pocket watch has the “S Birdsall” signature on the movement and the set of “Chester” hallmarks on the case give a date. The date letter “G” should be for the year 1890 and the “RJP” mark belongs to the Coventry based case maker Robert John Pike. The mark “RJP” shown is a poor example but one of the other parts of the watchcase had a far better punching of the makers mark. “silvermakersmarks.co.uk” shows “Pike” had work assayed at Chester 1889-1908. Additionally the case and the watch movement have a number on, 13366. Can this number be referenced in time?
The image of the watch key gives 2 pieces of information. We have an address for Samuel Birdsall’s place of work, 5 Central Buildings Skipton, and there is still a 5 Central Buildings shop, incidentally on “Keighley Road” but it is a milkshake bar. There is a Google Maps picture and the building does not appear as a recent build. The second bit of information from the key is that there is an “and son” in the now “Watch Maker and Jewellery” business. Does anybody have a subscription to “Findmypast” to find out the sons name? I have only weak evidence that it might be a “James Ernest”.
The next composite image possibly shows the “Samuel Birdsall’s” diversification from just watchmaker as the name is on a set of tongs.

Image

The watches in the picture have “Samuel Birdsall Skipton” on the dial and were described as having Chester assayed cases dating 1896 and 1898 (I could easily recognise the Chester mark on one of the photos of the watches). These dials were in contrast to the earlier 1890 watch that did not have a named dial.
The “Birdsall” story is started but I think I am forced to stop now and hope I can get some help from the forum so I know which “J.Birdsall” I am looking for.
Fishless

Essexboy Fisher
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Re: J Birdsall, Skipton. Part one?

Postby Essexboy Fisher » Sun Mar 17, 2019 2:25 pm

Follow on.
Hello again, I had to join the Library to glean some of the information I believe I was missing. I found on the 1891 census that Samuel Birdsall was married with a 7 year old son “James Ernest Birdsall”. In 1901 James was still at the same home address as his father and although difficult to read I believe James’s occupation was as a “refractionist” (see postscript). In 1911 when aged 28 we find James listed as an optician.
I have a further fragment of information taken from some corporate information relating to a much more recently formed Skipton Dispensing Opticians business.
“This traditional independent optician has been practising in Skipton since the early 1900s. The more senior local residents will remember the business trading as "Birdsall Opticians" and later "Birdsall & Wilson" at the bottom of the High Street in Central Buildings.”
If you have read the first instalment of this post you will recognise “Central Buildings” as a base of “Samuel Birdsall & Son”.
I do not think I have found the “J.Birdsall” I was originally looking for here but I have information for a further post in another section.

1911 census note.
"Samuel Birdsall" was no longer described as a watchmaker but as a jeweller gold and silversmith.

Postscript
Taken from "Review of Optometry" published July 21, 2016.
An optometrist in 1891 likely spent his days doing refraction—and little else. Such was the primacy of vision assessment to the profession in its earliest incarnation. As optometry splintered off from opticianry in the late 19th century, it elevated the correction of refractive error to an art form.

Fishless

dognose
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Re: J Birdsall, Skipton. Part one?

Postby dognose » Wed Mar 20, 2019 8:27 am

Hi Fishless,

A few snippets that may help with your quest:

Samuel Ernest Birdsall was born on 14 February 1908 in Skipton, Yorkshire, the only son of James Ernest, an optician, and his wife, Eva. He attended Skipton Grammar School winning an open exhibition to Christ's College, Cambridge.

Source: Lives of the Fellows of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, 1983-1990 - Royal College of Surgeons of England - 1995


John Birdsall, whose neat little optical shop and jewelry store stands in Sheep Street, Skipton......

Source: The Saturday Evening Post - 1949


November examination in connection with the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers:

J. E. Birdsall, Skipton, Leeds, has passed the modified, but has still to pass the full examination.


Source: The Photographic Dealer - December 1900


When I met James Birdsall, he was sporting a black eye. ... It is likely that their collecting mania was inherited from their grandfather, Ernest Birdsall, a Skipton optician, Freeman of the City of London, formidable authority on Dickens......

Source: The Dalesman - 1988


The Spectacle Makers' Examination Results—The following are the names of those who were successful at the May examination of the Spectacle Makers Company, entitling them to the diploma—Passed full examination—Messrs. J. E. Birdsall, Skipton

Source: British Journal of Photography - 21st June 1901


I'll keep searching.

Trev.

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Re: J Birdsall, Skipton. Part one?

Postby dognose » Wed Mar 20, 2019 11:38 am

SAMUEL BIRDSALL Limited.
The Companies Act, 1948.

At an Extraordinary General Meeting of the Members of the above-named Company, duly convened and held at Rose Cottage, Threshfield, near
Skipton, in the county of York, on the 26th day of July, 1954, the following Special Resolution was duly passed: —
" That the Company be wound up voluntarily, and that Mr. Francis Harold Topham of 63, High Street, Skipton, Incorporated Accountant, be and he is hereby appointed Liquidator of the Company for the purposes of such winding-up."
J. ERNEST BIRDSALL, Chairman.


Source: The London Gazette - 6th August 1954


In the Matter of SAMUEL BIRDSALL Limited (in Voluntary Liquidation).

Notice is hereby given, in pursuance of section 290 of the Companies Act, 1948, that a General Meeting of the Members of the above-named Company will be held at 63, High Street, Skipton, on Wednesday, the 16th day of March, 1955, at 2 o'clock in the afternoon precisely, for the purpose of having an account laid before them, and to receive the Liquidator's report, showing how the winding-up of the Company has been conducted and the property of the Company disposed of, and of hearing any explanation that may be given by the Liquidator; and also of determining by Extraordinary Resolution, the manner in which the books, accounts, papers, and documents of the Company, and of the Liquidator thereof, shall be disposed of. Any Member entitled to attend and vote is entitled to appoint a proxy to attend and vote instead of him, and such proxy need not also be a member.—
Dated this 11th day of February, 1955.
RONALD PUGH, Liquidator


Source: The London Gazette - 18th February 1955

Trev.

dognose
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Re: J Birdsall, Skipton. Part one?

Postby dognose » Wed Mar 20, 2019 11:52 am

WILLIAM PARKER, Deceased.
Pursuant to the Statute 22nd and 23rd Vic., cap. 35, intituled "An Act to further amend the Law of Property, and to relieve Trustees."

Notice is hereby given, that all creditors and other persons having any claims or demands against the estate of William Parker, late of Commercial-street, Skipton, in the county of York, Gentleman, deceased (who died on the 21st day of May, 1886, and whose will was proved in the Wakefield District Registry of the Probate Division of Her Majesty's High Court of Justice, on the 25th day of August, 1886, by Sarah Parker, Widow, the relict of the said deceased, and William Oldfield, the executors therein named, and both since deceased), are hereby required to send the particulars, in writing; of their claims or demands to either of us, the undersigned, on or before the 24th day of August next; after which date Jacob Birdsall, of Skipton aforesaid, Insurance Agent, and James Joyce, of Leeds, in the said county, Gas Inspector, the present trustees of the said will, duly appointed, will proceed to distribute the assets of the said deceased amongst the persons entitled thereto, having regard only to the claims or demands of which they shall then have had notice; and they will not be liable for the assets of the said deceased, or any part thereof, so distributed, to any person or persons of whose claims or demands they shall not then have had notice.
Dated this 24th day of July, 1893.
GRANGER and ASKREN. 7, Bank-street, Leeds;
WILLIAM THOMPSON. 53, High-street. Skipton;
Solicitors for Jacob Birdsall and James Joyce.


Source: The London Gazette - 1st August 1893

Trev.

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Re: J Birdsall, Skipton. Part one?

Postby dognose » Wed Mar 20, 2019 1:22 pm

OLD BOY NOTES

L.E. Birdsall (Skipton) has been successful in passing the finial examination of the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers. He is to be made a Freeman of the City of London and a Fellow of the Institute of Ophthalmic Opticians.


Source: The Chronicles of Ermysted (Ermysted's Grammar School, Skipton)- Midsummer 1925

Trev.

Essexboy Fisher
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Re: J Birdsall, Skipton. Part one?

Postby Essexboy Fisher » Wed Mar 20, 2019 4:55 pm

Thank you Trev for filling in with more information. While I was doing the research I wondered about this tranformation of watchmakers and jewellers into opticians. Was it that the the formers metal skills were already being used to repair and make specticle frames, meaning testing eyes was the obvious next stage?
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Re: J Birdsall, Skipton. Part one?

Postby dognose » Mon Apr 01, 2019 5:29 pm

Hi Fishless,

My apologies, I forgot to come back to you.

Yes, indeed, I believe that to be the case.

Trev.


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