Amy Ryder

Watch maker/ jewllery

5 posts in this topic

Does anyone remember the Jewlers/ watchmaker at the bottom of EcclesallRoad. Name was Osbert Skinner.  Used o have a large clock. As a sign post

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Osbert was my great great uncle, though I never met him, but passed the shop on hundreds of occasions without knowing he was a relative.

Osbert Skinner was born on 19th August 1885, and baptised 7th October at Highfield, the 5th and youngest son of Charles Skinner.  In 1891 Osbert was living with his parents at 24 South Street Moor. He was a watchmaker by 1901, at South Street working for Charles. 

His older brother Arthur was a keen cyclist (he was financial secretary of the Upperthorpe Cycling Club in 1892) and passed on his enthusiasm to Osbert.  In July 1893 the Independent published an advert selling a cycle:

"Referee, Clincher pneumatic, splendid condition, balls throughout including head, very little used. Skinner, Jeweller, Sheffield moor"

and in 1895:

"Before buying machine call and see '95 pattern new patent detachable Brake: best value in Sheffield Skinner Jewellers, Sheffield moor".

In 1907 Osbert rode an unpaced race from Sheffield to Bridlington gaining a gold medal in a time of 5h 16min. The book of 1908 says this was his first appearance in the medals. He also won a gold standard medal for 50 miles on the road in 2h 52min 12 secs. in 1907. In 1908 he set a district record of 189 3/4 miles for a 12 hour time trial, and a district record of 2h 35 for 50 miles. This would appear to make him the 1st winner of the "Sharrow 50". As well as these 2 gold medals he also won a gold watch for the best performance of the year and a gold chain for the 25 mile club handicap. The 25 mile handicap may still have been a track race at Bramhall Lane as mass start road racing was strictly taboo with the police at this time.

In 1911 Osbert was an own account Watchmaker living at 54 St Marys Road with parents Charles and Ada. On Sunday 4th June 1911 Osbert lost control of his bicycle coming down Baslow Hill and stayed at the Wheat Sheaf Inn recovering for three days (see newspaper cutting. Whites Directory of 1911 shows him at 112 Ecclesall Road.

Osbert married Antonie Ferdinandine Friedrichsen on 12th September 1912 at St Augustines.  Antonie was born in German South America in 1888, the daughter of a widowed German Sausage Skin Dealer Ernst Friedrichsen, in 1911 living at 61 Ranby Road, Endcliffe, but at 20 Cowlishaw Road at the time of the marriage.  Their son Ernest Osbert was born on 3rd February 1915, and he died aged 88 on 6th May 2003 at 23 Hoober Avenue (a jeweller).

Osbert enlisted in the Royal Flying Corps on 9th February 1917. He was an Instrument Repairer and Wireless Mechanic with 101 Squadron, serving in France from January 1918. No 101 Squadron formed at Farnborough as part of the Royal Flying Corps on 12 July 1917 and was deployed to the Western Front in August as a night bombing unit equipped with F.E.2b aircraft. Its main task was to carry out night attacks on German railheads and airfields. The Squadron flew during the battles of 3rd Ypres in 1917, and throughout the 1918 German Spring offensives on the Somme before supporting the final allied attacks on the Hindenburg Line. Before his transfer to the R.A.F. from the R.F.C. his rank was A. Mech. 2, Trade:- Instr. Repairer, and once in the RAF Air Mechanic 3rd Class (Inst Repairer), His pay was 2s. 0d. Terms of Enlistment:- Duration of War .  In March 1919 the squadron returned to the UK and it was disbanded on 31 December 1919.

The last known entry in the telephone book for Osberts Watchmaking business was 1978 - he was aged 93. His wife Antonie died on 8th February 1978 and Osbert died 3 weeks later on 5th March 1978, leaving £55,463 to his son Ernest, who was living at 112 Ecclesall Road.  Ernest was still running the business in 1982 where he was photographed by Sheffield Newspapers, possibly on his retirement.

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According to Sharrow Cycling Club records Osbert Skinner's address in 1910 was "24 The Moor". Whilst Osbert beat J.G. Shaw's first 100 Sharrow record by 8 minutes a week after Shaw had set it up the future would be Shaw's. Perhaps it was his 1911 accident on Baslow hill that ended his cycling career? From 1911 racing success was in the hands of J.G. Shaw, J. Crookes and A.C. Baynes (Stainless Stephen). Shaw was to be hailed as "Sheffield's Greatest Long Distance Cyclist" by The Sheffield Telegraph. Shaw's 24 hour record would stand into the 1940's.

 In the Sharrow 1914 - 18 Roll of honour there may be a misprint because it records "G. Skinner Royal Flying Corps" From the above I assume it should be O. Skinner.

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