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Watchmakers in the Douglas Family

 

Staffurth  Clarke and the Oundle Businesses

Staffurth Clarke

Staffurth was born in Warboys, Huntingdonshire in 1827, son of Staffurth Clarke, a farmer, publican and tollgate keeper at different times, and Jane Bull from Godmanchester.

Four of Staffurth senior’s sons became watchmakers, as well as Staffurth there were William, Charles, and John Clarke.

Staffurth was living in Oundle by 1849, and he married Sophia Wyman in December 1850 in Oundle

Brian Loomes, Watchmakers and Clockmakers of the world Vol 2.  gives Staffurth’s working dates as 1864-1877.

A watch was sold as follows:-

  • A silver pair case verge pocket Watch inscribed S. Clarke, 87205, Oundle

1871 Census gives Staffurth at Market Place. However 1881 Census shows him at West Street. Various censuses and other sources gave addresses in Market Place, New Street, and West Street. Staffurth died Sept qtr 1887 in Oundle.  See his family here.

 

The Oundle Watchmaker’s Business  1840-ca 1955

According to Staffurth’s Business card the business was founded in 1840. Clearly Staffurth did not found the business when he was 13.

The first reference to a Clarke watchmakers in Oundle found was William Clarke, Staffurth’s brother as Watch and Clock Maker, Market Place Oundle, in a 1847 directory, another of the same year gives him as gunsmith, watchmaker and bird stuffer. However, the 1851 Census shows William in Willingham, Cambridgeshire, and Staffurth and his wife were shown at Oundle but living in St Osyth’s Lane. Apparently the Clarke’s took over an existing business run by the Beale family.

See here for Oundle pictures, including the last site of the watchmaker’s business.

George Wyman Clarke

After Staffurth’s death in 1887, the business is run by his son, George Wyman Clarke, 1853-1930. George did not marry.

A clock was sold as follows: -

Clock sold in 2014 See Here

 

Charles James Douglas

At some point, not known, his sister Clara Maria’s brother-in-law, Charles James Douglas, 1885-1964 came into the business, which eventually became known as Clarke and Douglas, at least by 1926. After George’s death in 1930, his sister Louisa Agnes Clarke became the main owner, though Charles was the main watchmaker. Louisa died in approx 1955, the shop and another property were left to Charles.

 

It is not clear how long the business was still in business, but Charles would have been 70 at this time.

The building last used by the business is still standing and is presently a fish and chip shop. See picture here. It seems that it occupied at least one other location, business card give address of New Street, and address was given as West Street on one Census. A local clock repair company report occasionally seeing timepieces from the family, and a George Wyman Clarke clock was for sale when I visited.

 

 

 

 

 

 

An OAK Cased 19th Century GRANDFATHER CLOCK

having MAHOGANY veneered edge and framing to the hood

which has an arched pillar dial with a date ring,

30hr movement - CLARKE, OUNDLE.

Swan neck pediment, c2m high

Louisa Agnes Clarke

Sophia Clarke née Wyman

Charles J Douglas

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James Douglas

b 1806

James Douglass

b 1765

James Douglass

b circa 1740

Staffurth Clarke &

the Oundle business

Other Clarkes

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