The Batemans of Great Tower Street

The Batemans
Moses Bateman[1] was married Elizabeth Howse. Moses was a grazier, farming animals, in Culworth, in Northamptonshire, doing quite well for himself. He went on to have four sons with Elizabeth: Andrew, Charles, John and Samuel, all of whom he setup well in life making sure that they had good paths to follow.

Andrew Bateman starts his Apprenticeship

Moses’ first son was Andrew Bateman[2] (b: 1758) who at the age of 28 (in October 1776)[3] was apprenticed to his Mose’s brother-in-law and older brother of Elizabeth, Charles Howse, a Freeman Clockmaker living and working in London. As this was a family arrangement, there was no apprentice fee paid. In signing up, Andrew was being setup to become a freeman of the City of London. There was a downside though, since for the seven years he would be allowed no fornication nor marriage. Also banned were the playing of cards and gambling, ass were any games which may bring some sort of loss or shame on his master. Also out would be spending time at the local Tavern or at a Playhouse. These standard rules were strict to ensure that the apprentice took full advantage of the situation they had been presented with.

Only 25 years’ earlier, Charles Howse had himself been apprenticed[4], and 12 years’ earlier[5] had received fees to take on his own apprentice, so he would have just seen it as a continuation of a cycle.

5 Great Tower Street

Situated in a main thoroughfare leading away from the Tower of London, 5 Great Tower Street lay just north of the parish church of St Dunstan’s in the East, and just to the west of the junction with St Dunstan’s Hill.

Map of Tower Street Ward

View up Great Tower Street with 5 Great Tower Street on the right
In the above watercolour from about 1834, 5 Great Tower Street lies on the right hand side, being the the fifth building along from the painter’s viewpoint.

Charles becomes Master of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers

Andrew stayed with Charles, and learned his craft. His apprenticeship would have ended in October 1784, at a time when Charles was at the peak of his craft with respect from his peers. As just three years later in 1787 Charles was elected Master of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers, a very powerful guild within the City of London, which provided quality control and welfare for its members, with the power. Charles held the position for one year, during which he would have presided over the organisation which had the power to have bad workmanship or fakes destroyed, in order to protect the reputation of all London clock-makers. Through this he did his part in making London the undisputed centre of clock and watchmaking throughout the 18th and 19th centuries.

Charles was still alive in 1791 with his property insured with the Royal and Sun Alliance. He seems to be doing well for himself since it appears he owns at least two other properties in London.

Charles Howse died in early 1802, and was buried in the parish church of St Dunstan in the East, in “the vault under the vestry” suggesting again that he was doing well for himself with money to spare.

Andrew Bateman takes over at 5 Great Tower Street

By 1804 Andrew is shown as the tenant of 5 Great Tower Street, London, and listed in directories at the address working as a Watchmaker. His landlord remains a Howse, perhaps Charles’ younger brother Edward. He works from this location as a watchmaker and clockmaker and in 1812 he is made Liveryman of the Clockmakers Company[6].

for the next 12 years, until his death in 1816.

Here’s a very fine long case clock made made Andrew, showing his name upon the dial.

Andrew Bateman clockAndrew Bateman Clock

Andrew Bateman clockAndrew Bateman clock

The 8 day duration 5 pillar movement striking the hours on a bell and with a painted round 12″ dial with Roman numerals, seconds, matching blued steel hands and the makers name and place of work to the centre of the dial. The movement also with original brass cased weights and an engraved rating nut to the pendulum bob. The well proportioned mahogany case with typical long trunk door veneered with highly figured flame mahogany veneer and a raised panelled base with double plinth. The trunk also with reeded quarter pillars inlaid with brass and capped with brass Doric capitals. The hood with brass inlaid reeded canted corners and a brass concave bezel with a convex glass. The sides of the hood with rectangular inspection windows.


Teresa takes over at 5 Great Tower Street

At this point Teresa, Andrew’s wife, seems to take over the business, becoming one of about 20 female clock-makers in business that decade[7]. She lives and works at this address for the next 25 years, and appears in the directories in the section for watch and clockmakers throughout this time. I don’t know whether she uses her late husband’s or her own name on the clocks and watches made.
Teresa is still living at the same address, as head of the household, when the 1841 census is taken. Her landlord remains a Howse throughout this time.

The clockmaker business passed on again

Just a few years after her husband died, Teresa approved the marriage of her daughter Lydia Bateman to William George Thompson, in 1819. Lydia was only 18 and described as a minor, so she needed her mother’s approval and guarantee, or bond. Which she gave to the sum of Two Hundred Pounds[8], insuring the reverend undertaking the marriage against any future litigation resulting from this marriage.

After his marriage, William Thompson moved into 5 Great Tower Street with his new wife, and Teresa his mother in law. At this time he was a Customs House Agent, presumably working at the Customs House which was situated just down the hill alongside the Thames.

By the birth of his second child Jemima, in 1834, William Thompson is starting being listed as a watchmaker and clockmaker. He is still likely living in the 5 Great Tower Street but has apparently been learning from his mother-in-law Teresa, and started taking the business over from her.
It is not long however before William sadly loses his wife, likely during or soon after the birth of this son Albert. By 1841 he is listed as a widower, and while still at 5 Great Tower Street has a servant in the household, perhaps to look after the 1 year old baby or his 75 year old mother-in-law.
William soon leaves 5 Great Tower Street, for Camberwell in South London, where he seems to have met his second wife, Sarah.
They eventually return to east London, moving to Hackney where William spends the rest of his days as a grocer, at 2 Cambridge Place, Hackney.

5 Great Tower Street after the Thompsons

By 1851 there is a young, 22 year old, Alfred Leach listed at the address as a Watch and Clockmaker. He is still there with his family working as a watch and clockmaker in 1861. However by 1871 the address has become purely residential.

  1. my 4th great grandfather on my mother’s side  ↩
  2. my 3rd great grandfather on my mother’s side  ↩
  3. age 28 was quite late to start an apprenticeship, as most were started when 14 so that the apprentice completed their work as they reached their majority  ↩
  4. Various modern adverts for Charles Howse clocks state his apprenticeship year as 1750  ↩
  5. in 1764 at the age of 34  ↩
  6. a Liveryman is a full member of the Company, becoming so as a result of a vote within the company. When a Freeman becomes a Liveryman the candidate is said to be ‘enclothed’, indeed a ‘Livery Gown’ is placed on them at the Court and they are seen at the next formal or social occasion wearing it  ↩
  7. based on the list of female clockmakers at  ↩
  8. equivalent to £150 000 in terms of the value of work needed to raise a corresponding sum today  ↩