J.Birdsall Skipton (Part 2).
I recently came across a hallmarked silver spoon with an interesting marking relating to a likely retailer.
The set of hallmarks indicate this spoon was made in Sheffield by “John Round & Son Ltd”. “silvermakersmarks.co.uk” further tells us this particular “JR” mark was used 1878-1906 and that the assay date letter “k” was for 1902.
Now I am hoping a few other members of the forum will think the extra mark is worth research. It is a starting point for uncovering a bit more about the Skipton , North Yorkshire business of “J.Birdsall & Sons” whoever they might have been.
A little trawl on the inter net threw up a couple of informative images with Skipton addresses for the “J Birdsall” name and confusingly another “Birdsall” name. This the watchmaker, “Samuel Birdsall”. For more on him please see:https://www.925-1000.com/forum/viewtopi ... 76#p165384
The first helpful image is a pocket watch key and from it we get a shop address of “39 High Street Skipton”.
This address generated a London Gazzett Notice from July 1903 just a year after the spoon’s assay date.
NOTICE is hereby given, that the Partnership heretofore subsisting between us the undersigned, John William Birdsall and Harry Birdsall, carrying on business as Jewellers and Opticians, at High-street, Skipton, under the style or firm of "J. BIRDSALL AND SONS," has been dissolved by mutual consent as and from the twentieth day of June 1903. All debts owing bv the said late firm will be paid by the said John William Birdsall.—Dated 1st day of July, 1903. JOHN WILLIAM BIRDSALL. HARRY BIRDSALL
The second image that I found is of the below named presentation case. Here we find another address, this time “32 Sheep Street Skipton”.
One could think this was an address that the business moved on to after 1903 but that has yet to be evidenced. That 32 Sheep Street, Skipton address is now an Estate Agents shop but, photographed there, has been one of those “ghost” doorways, where “J.Birdsall&Sons is still marked in the pavement in front of the door.
Have we found the “J Birdsall” we are (ah maybe that’s I am) looking for? I am actually thinking not. I know from previous work on “Samuel Birdsall” that although John William and Harry are brothers, and brothers to Samuel, they were much younger brothers. On the 1881 census these 3 boys were living in Skipton with their “warehouse man” father Jacob and his wife Hannah, another brother James and several sisters. John William was aged 11 and Harry was aged 6.
There was extra evidence in the 1891 census when John William and Harry were still with their family and the 2 had identical occupations. They were both described as “watchmaker” and possibly “jobber”. It seems a “jobber” could have done watch cleaning, repairing and adjusting. There was however a change to Jacob’s occupation. He was described also as a watchmaker together with being an insurance agent, but how can a warehouse man become a watchmaker? Could "Samuel Birdsall", an established watchmaker, have set his father up in an easier job for a 60 year old Victorian man? If you check the Samuel Birdsall reference I gave earlier, you will find they were not in fact to be in exactly competing businesses.
What I take from this information, but do not know the mechanics of it, is that Jacob Birdsall is the “J.Birdsall” with Sons that retailed that 1902 John Round spoon.
Jacob died in 1905 and in the 1911 census John William Birdsall with a family of his own, including a son aged 7, were living at 2 Bright Street Skipton and his occupation was given as dealer, watchmaker, jeweller and optician. It may be worth having a very careful look at the presentation case again now. Harry left the business in 1903 so it could be just Jacob and John together, however if the case is post the death of Jacob, the “J Birdsall” could at this time refer to John William.
If there are any Yorkshire “Birdsalls” on the forum do please correct me and put us right.