This is the story of the branch of the Skarratt family that left London and settled in Worcester City
In approx 1790, John S. Skarratt left London and moved to Worcester City. It would seem probable that John was a clockmaker from the Clerkenwell area of London. The couple had eight children all of whom were born in Worcester.
John married Margaret in 1794, so she may be from the Worcester area.
John set up business in Goose Lane, renamed St Swithins Street, Worcester in 1794 as jeweller and watchmaker.
By about 1814 John had moved to 2, Broad Street, later 3, Broad Street when the building was expanded. Both of these shops still exist although under different owners to this day. Records have John Martin Skarratt on a conveyance indenture dated 29 Sept 1877 from Mr Pike for No.7 St Swithin's Street.
A certain William Kilbourne Kay was listed in the 1881 census as living at 10 Park Street Worcester (digs or gentlemen's accommodation) and working as a jeweller's assistant. In 1883 he recorded his address as being 3 Broad Street (Skarratt's shop). Kay went on from being an apprentice to Skarratt, to become the founder of the well known and successful Kays of Worcester mail order catalogue company. Incidentally it emerges that Kilbourne was his family name, but at birth he was adopted by a Dr Kay.
In 1888 John Martin (Jnr) sold No.6 St Swithin's Street for £800 to a Mr Joseph Fisher. Was this a relation of his wife, Francis Alice Fisher? This building was originally No.5, then No.7 (see above) and finally No.6.
By 1896 Kays entered into discussions with John Martin Skarratt (Jnr) and the two businesses were amalgamated, but the Skarratt family took no further interest in the company. Kay bought the business for the sum of approx.£3788, this included the premises in Broad street, all creditors and debt, stock in hand and "other chattels" . John Martin (Jnr) retired to Cheltenham and died in 1908.
I have been shown early catalogues of Kays that advertise for sell Skarratt clocks and watches, in later catalogues the names were changed to Kays.
Below is a section from the booklet issued by Kay's Heritage Group showing the connection to Skarratt.
Present day members of the family that I have been in contact with are, Mary Jean Busby and family who lives
in USA, also Robert Keller who lives in Lancashire.
NAME GG REL born/bap(b) died/buried (b) MARRIED DATE MARRIED John Martin (Snr) N1 21/6/1795 b ?/6/1859 M (1) 21/2/1822 Mary James 1 M (2).22/10/1829 Caroline E. Pemberton 2 Mary James ? N1 22/5/1797 16/12/1822 b? 21/2/1822 John Martin Caroline E Pemberton N51 N1 1797? ?/12/1877 22/10/1829 John Martin Margaret N51 N1 5/3/1797 b 29/1/1822 b ? ? John N2 N1 1/9/1799 b ? ? ? William N3 N1 ?/1/1801 b 10/5/1801 n/a n/a Sarah O52 N1 14/4/1802 b ? ? ? Elizabeth O53 N1 4/12/1803 b ? ? ? Mary Ann O54 N1 3/11/1805 b 22/1/1808 n/a n/a Matilda O55 N1 23/8/1807 b ? ? ? John Martin (Jnr) P1 N1 14/8/1834 b 1908 ?/9/1869 Francis Alice Fisher Francis Alice Fisher P51 P1 1849 1822 ?/9/1869 John Martin Caroline Elizabeth P51 N1 1838 10/1/1913 unm Selina Carleton P51 N1 1835 ? 10/08/1870 Francis Henry Chaplin Frances Jemima P51 N1 1842b ? 9/12/1869 James Went Rosa P51 N1 c1840-3/7/1854b 1921 (age 80) unm n/a Francis William P51 N1 1842-3/7/1854b 1864b unm n/a
THE CROSS HOUSE, Powick, Worcester (Garden view) THE CROSS HOUSE. (Position on roundabout) John Martin (Jnr) lived in The Cross House from c1880 until February 1884, and then moved to Vernon Manor until March 1891 when it was sold to Mr C.J.Whitehead for £2300. VERNON MANOR, Lower Wick, Worcester I thank Mrs. Balen of Cross House and Bob & Mary Fleming of Veron Manor for permission to take these photos of their houses.
Apart from these addresses above and the shop in Goose Lane there are others addresses etc. that I have noted.
in 1794 John & Margaret at St Swithins St
in 1795-1807 St Swithins St
in 1814 No. 2 Broad St, shop
in 1822-25 Goose Lane
in 1829 John lived at St Swithins St (Goose lane)
in 1835-1850 Broad St, shop
in 1840 Claines
in 1834-1854. John Martin & Caroline were living in St Georges Square, Worcester.
1851 Census, #18. St Georges Sq #46. J.M.Skarratt, age 55, Born in St Swithins, Worcester.
Caroline, age 50, Born in Berks.
Selina, age 16, Caroline, age 12. Rosa, age 10. Frances, age 8. Francis, age 6.
(Francis and Rosa are supposed to be twins!)
in 1871 Harold lived in Broad St
in 1877 No.7 St Swithins St, shop
in 1877 Caroline died and lived in Albany Terrace,Claines
in 1881-1884 JM Skarratt (Jnr) living in the Cross House, Powick
1881 Census. John Skarrett, age 32,Born Claines, Worcester.
Francis, age 42.
Carloine, age 35.(Sister)
Charles, (Carleton "Charles" Fisher), age 9. R.E. (Rose Eveleen) age 7.
in 1884-1891 JM Skarratt (Jnr) living in Vernon Manor, Lower Wick
in 1888 No.6 St Swithins St, shop (Ex No.5, Ex No.7)
in 1913 Caroline E Skarratt is living in Sansome Walk?
in 190? JM Skarratt (Jnr) living in Cheltenham.
Caroline Pemberton married John Martin on 22 Oct 1859 in Warndon. His 2nd wife. In the possession of a branch of the family there is a bible with the names of Caroline and her sister Elizabeth inscribed. This bible is said to have been handed down from a daughter of Bishop Carleton of Chichester, probably Bishop George (1559-1628). The Hereford cousins of the Worcester Skarratts have several members named using Carleton - see Kington Skarratts
Elizabeth (1797-1877) and Caroline Pemberton (?-1836) would appear to be well educated from their writing and lived in the Worcester area. I have tried to trace them back to their family but without much success. In 1681 the bible also contains the names of John and Anne Harrison and Sarah Currier. So there seems to be a connection there from Skarratt to Pemberton and Harrisons.
I have studied "The Carleton Collection" by Lorna Carleton and in the 1600's I have noted that Bishop George knew and probably officiated at weddings in Oxford involving the Harrison, Croft and Carleton families. Also in c1750 Robert Skarratt of London married Sarah Carleton. So it would seem there could be a connection but so far my research has not nailed it all together. I need more info on the Pemberton family perhaps from somebody who knows more about them or has studied them.
My latest info from 1881 census for Worcester has , a Jeweller and his wife Elizabeth, living in Kings Norton at the back of Clevendon Street. What is interesting is that among their children are the names Selina and Rose. The names used by Caroline Skarratt (nee Pemberton) for two of her children! Coincidence it maybe, a jeweller as well.
CLOCK & WATCH MAKERS ....................................................................................................................................
I have culled from various sources a list of the clock & watchmakers in the Worcester branch of the Skarratt family.Many of the books on this subject of clock & watchmakers, do not research the backgrounds of these people and therefore give a misleading picture of the actual numbers involved. I have tried to sort the facts given into a more accurate list, with my knowledge of the Skarratts in particular.
Name Lived Date working Area John Carleton Skarratt (ditto.) 1760 - c1777-1794 London/Worcester apprentice to TB 5/3/1777. CC Charles Carleton Skarratt (ditto) 1761- 1793 Worcester c1792 bankrupt.1793 John Skarratt 1761 - 1829 1794 London/Worcester CC. John Martin Skarratt 1795 - 1859 1828 - 1860 Worcester John Martin Skarratt (son of JMS) 1834 - 1908 1851-1896 Worcester apprenticed to his father J.M.Skarratt & Co n/a 1872-1876 Worcester See Kay's note below
Brian Loomes Watchmakers and Clockmakers of the World. Volo.2
G.H.Baillie, Watchmakers and Clockmakers of the World 2nd edition
Cecil Clutton, G.H.B. Btitten's Old Clocks and watches and their makers, 9th Edition.
Iorweth Peale, Clock and Watch Makers in Wales
Brittons Old clocks & Watches & their makers
(CC) Belonged to Clockmakers Company
F Freedom of the Company (i.e. Thomas Skarratt 4 Nov 1782)
TB Thomas Banfield, St John St, Clerkenwell, London
(a)Confusion between the two John Skarratts has both working at Goose Lane, but it would appear that it was John Skarratt (1761-1829) who actually worked there.
I have searched the archives for ownership or rental of premises in High St and Goose Lane, but nothing found clarifies the situation.
There are however records for John Martin Skarratt Snr and Jnr for Goose lane/St Swithin St.
The two families are related by common grandparents.
An entry on page 94 of "Clockmakers & Watchmakers Of Central England", adds to the confusion. In the 1792 edition of "The Royal Worcester Directory" Charles Carleton Skarratt (1761-1838) is listed as a watchmaker operating from a warehouse at 63 High St. But the assumption that he founded the Skarratt watchmaking firm in Worcester and his son John continued the business does not appear correct. I have not been able to trace Charles after he went bankrupt in 1793 or a son John.
What I did find was John Skarratt born c1776, arriving from London and setting up shop in Goose lane in 1794. Charles would be 33 at this time when John was 18 (so the son theory is killed off). His father was actually Richard Skarratt John Skarratt (1760-1860?) joined his brother Charles Carleton skarratt (1761-1838) in Worcester at the High St shop. Charles does appear in London under a slightly altered name or so iit appears, See London site for more ifno on this.
From 1794 the line continued through the sons, both named John Martin Skarratt until the 1880,s when Kilburn Kay Bought out the company.
There is an advert on the same page 94 of the above book for 1868 for John Martin Skarratt, Watch & Clock Manufacturer at 2 Broad Street. It also lists Silversmith & Jeweller and agents for spectacles and Life Assurance.
THE ORIGINAL PREMISES IN GOOSE LANE.
(Now St Swithin's Street)
John S. Skarratt moved from London and set up shop here in 1794.
KAY'S of Worcester by Skarratts!I have been informed by Bernard Mills of Kays Heritage, that Kay's of Worcester bought out a Skarratt clockmaker, at one time they had a heading "late of Skarratt" on their notepaper. Their early catalogues still had the name J.M.Skarratt on the title page. Kilburn Kay the founder of the Kay's mail order company, initially Kay worked for Skarratt's. He is noted in the 1881 census as a "jeweller's assistant" living over the shop at 3 Broad St. It would appear that by 1891, Kay had either bought out Skarratt or John Martin Skarratt had retired, he would be aged 57. Watches exist with the name "Kay, Jones & Co., Worcester" from the 1880's, so was Kay in direct competition, if it was Kilburn Kay.
In the Kay's early catalogues there are clocks and watches with Kays name on that are identical those made by Skarratt, even to the marquetry on wall clocks.
Skarratt made station clocks for the G.W.R. and it is suggested that Kay's bought Skarratt out to get the lucrative contract with the G.W.R. When the firm became Skarratt & Co., in 1871 they were awarded the contract to supply the GWR network and also maintain all the clocks on free of charge. But they had overstretched themselves and in 1880 became jewellers, goldsmiths and Opticians.Note from other sources.
Clockmakers & Watchmakers of Worcester & Central England
In 1792 'The Worcester Royal Directory' has Charles Carleton Skarratt (1761-?) watchmaker ......63 High St. From these unlikely beginnings the firm he founded lasted for 108 years.....The real dynamo was his son, John Skarratt....Goose Lane....two years later (1794).
my comments: John Skarratt born in 1761 was the son of Richard of London and John's son John Martin born 1795 carried on the business. Charles went bankrupt in 1793 and I have no more information on his future movements.
Peplows of Worcester, history.
William (Peplow) junior was succeeded by his son, William, who was born in 1864, and began learning the skill of watch-making from the age of 10. He became best-known by his middle name of Henry and was sent to Worcester, in his youth, to gain experience with the then well-known gold and silversmiths, JM Skarratt of Broad Street. It was a firm nationally-known for making railway clocks.
From this is Worcester News.
Has anybody out there any Skarratt timepieces or knows the location of them? I would like to know about them please.
One longcase recently on sale had the initials A.M. Skarratt, of Worcester on the face. I can find no trace of any A.M.Skarratt, and it is almost certainly J.M.Skarratt. Obviously the person who restored it was not familiar with the Skarratts, and it begs the question, 'How does it effect the price'?
Another watch I was informed off recently was a puzzle to me. It was engraved 'Skarratt & Co, Worcester, but made in Soluere, Switzerland. (see below picture). It appears this is an early example of badge engineering, the watch is Swiss made c1900 and marked in a similar way to Kay's marked up Skarratt watched etc.
I recently received an email which shows a watch with "Swiss made", on the face & similar design to the Soluere watch, probably another outsource by Kays.
email@example.com SCARROTT Glyn Hatherall www.kaysheritage.org.uk Kay & Co Ltd, origin form Skarratt Bernard Mills
...................... ....... ..
s = SLATERs
p = PIGOT & DEAN DIRECTORY
b = BENTLEYS
k = Kellys
Skarratt John Martin Watch & Clockmaker 3 Broad Street, Worcester 1835 p " " " 1850 s " Watchmaker 2/3 Broad Street, Worcester 1872 k Skarratt John China painter Worcester 1840 b
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The following people have contributed to this site:
Mary Jane Thomas Stokes
Bernard Mills of the Kays heritage Group for his Worcester based info on Kays.
Colin Pike (Skarratt)
Email : colin.skarratt at virgin.net (note: insert @ for at in email address, this is to avoid spammers picking up my email address)