We receive a lot of queries about all aspects of local history and clock and watchmaking in the area, so have produced a list of our most frequently asked questions – just click on the question to find the answer!
If you can’t find the information you need from the options below, please contact us and we will get back to you as soon as we can. Please note, it can take up to two weeks for you to receive a response as we are a small team working across three venues.
The LWCo records are owned by National Museums Liverpool and the originals are held in their collection, but we have access to a digital copy.
Contact us and we can cross-reference the number that is engraved on the movement of the watch to give you some specific information about your watch. Feel free to include any other information about the watch, such as what is marked on the dial and case, but you must include the movement number – this is the only way we can identify your watch in the ledgers.
Please note, the levels of detail recorded in the ledgers vary throughout.
The watch movement may have a person’s name marked on it, but this person would not have made the watch from start to finish. It will be the name of the watch finisher or retailer.
The watch face and/or movement may have a company name on it, but this is often the retailer rather than the actual maker.
The regulator on the movement (a small pointer) where it may say “Advance” and “Retard” or “A” and “R”, referring to the setting to adjust the timekeeping of the movement, some say “Fast” and “Slow” or “F” and “S”.
There may be hallmarks and maker’s marks on the inside of the case which will refer to the metal and maker of the watch case, and this will give a date to the case – this does not necessarily mean that the watch is the same age as the case.
Sometimes cases are replaced if damaged, people sold the cases for scrap and in better times replaced them, good quality ones which had been sold were re-used to house a new movement, and sometimes movements went unsold for many years and were put into a case later.
Neatly engraved or embossed sets of numbers marked on the watch case may be serial numbers; if they are looser or more “scratchy”, they may be marks from when it has been serviced/repaired/cleaned.
Some gold-looking cases, such as those made by Dennison are marked with names like “Star” and guarantees to wear for a number of years, and the gold carat number. They are not solid gold, and so are not hallmarked – they are gold-filled – made of a sandwich of metals rather than just being plated, and the thicker the outer pieces of gold, the longer it was guaranteed to last.
Sadly, it is highly unlikely that you would be able to find a watch that would be signed by your relative, as there were so many skilled people involved in the manufacture of watches.
There were over 106 different processes involved in producing a watch, and each component would have been made by a different person. The pieces would be assembled by a watch finisher, who would sometimes sign the movement, but usually the marks on a watch tend to be those of the person/company who sold the watch rather than the person who made it.
They may be listed in Dennis Moore’s records of makers in Merseyside involved in the scientific instrument and horology trades. He compiled information from census records 1841 – 1891, parish registers, court and probate records, apprentice records and street and trade directories.
It has now been published as a searchable database on National Museums Liverpool’s website.
WWI medals have the recipient’s details engraved around the edge or on the back of them. WWII medals were not engraved with this information, although some people did have them custom engraved, so it is much harder to identify (in many cases impossible) who the original recipient was.
By typing in the soldier’s name on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s website you can find out who their family was and their address (at the time), plus their unit and date of death which would give a starting point.
However, as so much time has passed, there may be many branches to the family so it would be difficult to establish who would be the “rightful” recipient. They may not have any surviving direct family, or they may no longer live in the same area (or even this country).
It may be better to offer them to a regimental museum or similar, and then if the family are interested in their ancestor, they may happen across them as part of their research. National Museums Liverpool would be appropriate for items relating to the Kings’ Regiment, Fulwood Barracks for East and South Lancs Regiments.
Once a year, Officers of the Court Leet would give back all the pennies collected in fines to the poor of the town, in a strange local custom called perrying.
The pennies would be heated on a shovel and then scattered down from the Town Hall to the street below. (The old Town Hall, located on Market Place, was knocked down in the 1960s having fallen into dereliction. A three-storey building, the Town Hall occupied the upper floors, and shops were on street level.)
The need for the Court Leet ended in 1926 when all copyhold tenures were converted to freehold and so they were no longer required to collect the fees. The Court Leet continued for another 10 years as a matter of tradition, so the photograph in the Museum’s collection must be one of the last instances of perrying.
All of the photographs on display in Prescot Museum are on our list of most popular images.
Contact us and let us know which image you would like, including the name/number given to the picture on the list (there are multiple images of some streets), the size and finish of photo you would like (A4 or A3, gloss or matte), and whether you would like to collect the finished photo from Prescot Museum or have it posted out to you.