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SteveHorsfall

C. 1800 verge and fusee watch by John Grant of London.

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I agree with JoT on your watch - very nice. I have found some tentative/basic information about the two John Grants, father and son, relating to your pocket watch, dear @SteveHorsfall. The source I used (onlinegalleries.com/artists/d/john-grant-of-fleet-street-london/8106) contained certain anomalies with regards to dates, and I have tried to "tidy" the information up a bit before posting it here to give members some historical context for your John Grant pocket watch.

There were two watchmakers in London named John Grant, father and son. John Grant senior was apprenticed to his uncle, Alex Cumming, gaining honorary freedom in 1781. He became a warden of the watchmakers' company in 1810. In the early 1790s the firm traded for a while as Cummings & Grant before John Grant was working on his own behalf at 75 Fleet Street, taking a Henty Baker as an apprentice. He advertised in a local trade directory as a watchmaker at 75 Fleet Street in 1794. John Grant senior was involved in the early development and use of the lever escapement and in November1809, he took his son, John Grant junior, as an apprentice. John senior died in 1810, before he could form a partnership with his son.

John Grant junior, born in 1796, gained his freedom in 1817 and in that year joined the Livery through the Worshipful Company, also subsequently becoming Master in 1838, 1839, 1846, 1858 and 1868. John Grant junior was living in Fleet Street with Anabella Grant (50) and Mary Grant (45) and continued to work at his father's old address of 75 Fleet Street as a watch and clock maker through to about 1851/52. In 1852, John Grant junior inherited a pawnbroking business, and it seems that about this time, he was succeeded at 75 Fleet Street by Henry Bannister. Meanwhile, John had actually moved to Cookham, Berkshire, where he remained for the rest of his life. he had evidently decided to retire as a watchmaker and instead carried on business as a pawnbroker - in 1861 he is listed as employing 3 men and 1 boy, and having a wife named Eleanor, plus a cook and a housemaid. He apparently relinquished membership of the Worshipful Company in about 1862, though he was still made Master as late as 1868 [?].

By the 1871 census, John Grant had become a widower, but even in his mid-seventies he was still working as a pawnbroker, living with his niece Fanny Troughton at The Ferns, Cookham, Berkshire. He died in 1882, at the age of 85.

 

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