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Watts Plate

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Hello, it is the Covid Christmas Eve ( looking to God and Science for it to be "THE" and not just "A" Covid Christmas Eve). There is nothing on TV that I feel is remotely entertaining, so I thought I will have a look at the on line catalogues for a few upcoming auctions, with the desire for interesting spoons! Do you think that was sad? Have a look at the picture below. 


Some kind of medicine spoon, 9 inches long and look, "Made in Sheffield" and in "Watts Plate". Never heard of "Watts Plate, research? For me anyway and there could be something for the "spoonophobes" later. Assuming that the company that made this innovative spoon was called in some way "Watts", a search on line  threw up the name "John Watts" but a name more particularly in association with pen knives.



I Looked at the Sheffield Indexers trade directories for some possible clarification

1905   Watts, John (, manuftr. Of pen & pocket knives, razors combs etc.).
                                                       Address: Lambert Street h.138 Burngreave Road, in 1905.
                                       Recorded in: Whites Directory of Sheffield & Rotherham.
1911   Watts, John (, cutlery manufacturer).
                                                         Address: 43 Lambert Street; h. 138 Burgreave Road, in 1911.
                                           Recorded in: Whites Directory of Sheffield & Rotherham - 1911.
1925   WATTS, John (~, Cutlery manufacturer).
                                                             Address: 43 Lambert Street & Burnt Tree Lane;
                                                                       h. Oakbourne, 8 Oakholme Road, ~ in 1925.
                                              Recorded in: Sheffield & Rotherham Kelly?s Directory.

So  in  1911 the company of "John Watts" of Sheffield was making cutlery and could be the maker of that specialist medicine spoon that I saved the image of. Here is another image of "Watts Plate" cutlery.


 These are from a dessert set and were associated with a datable registered British pattern number RD 717918. The numerical form of Pattern Registration was the second development, the first being the complicated , but more informative "Diamond" based code that ended 1883 ( I will try to find an example to show later). The registered patterns  000001 onwards thus started in 1884 and the number 717918 was used in 1925 to register the cutlery pattern. It does not mean the spoon and fork were made in 1925, but they could not have been made before 1925. I would have expected the cutlery to have made not long after the pattern date as we were going into the Art Deco period and it would have appeared old fashioned cutlery in the 1930's.

I thought I would check our own "Forum" for "John Watts", There are many references but just a few I think relating to the  "John Watts" I am interested in. 
 Sheffield History Chat  gives,  relating to the Lambert St works, the topics 
                                          A request for the dog-walkers
                                           Osborn House Burngreave Road
                                            Paradise Square    
 Made in Sheffield  has 
                                      John Watts - Penknife                                                                                                             
                                       John Watt Sheffield Horseman's Knife?
This second topic is hopefully is on the reference shown below. I have stolen the next image from it.



The blade in this image has history. Note "Est 176?". There is a great chunk of time between 1905 and 176? How many more "Johns" were there in the firm? Was the firm elsewhere before Lambert Street?
There were some more "John Watts"  on Indexers but with the ubiquitous "Shops" and no product or occupation. They are below. I ignored "John Watts", Shambles/South Street as they were probably all associated with a butcher.

        WATTS, John (Qualifying property, House & shops, 105 West Bar).
                                                            Address: West Bar, Sheffield in 1864-65.
                                                             Recorded in: Sheffield Burgess Rolls.
        WATTS, John (Qualifying property, Shops Westbar).
                                                                  Address: ~, St Philips in 1875-1876.
                                                                  Recorded in: Sheffield Burgess Rolls.

John Watts of Westbar, on line, gave real knowledge.

This company was originally founded in West Bar Green by Michael Shaw in 1765, who manufactured clog clasps and dog collars. Here we have 176? on the Horseman's Knife Blade.  After 1833 a Brian Bates (relative of Shaw) ran the firm and a John Watts became partner in the 1850's. Bates left the partnership 1862 and Watts continued the business with his son John Watts and expanded the product range. These next 3 Trade Directory entries seem before the range expansion and the developments at Lambert Street.
      Watts John, clasp mfr; 
                                             h 105 Westbar
                                            White's 1857 Directory of Derbyshire
     Watts, John (~, Clasp Mnfr.).
                                               Address: 175 Burngreave Road (Occupation Road), in 1871.
                                               Recorded in: Whites Sheffield & District Directory - 1871.
Lambert Street was in fact associated with the firm as early as 1837

            Bates, Brian (, clog and shoe clasp maker).
                                                 Address: 48 Lambert Street, in 1837.
                                                  Recorded in: Whites Directory of Sheffield & Rotherham - 1837.

 The company John Watts Sheffield & London Ltd was incorporated 21 November 1929 and the following entry courtesy of our Forum tells a John Watts was still there at least till 1939.

On  5th April 1939 Mr & Mrs Ronald Lobb attended the funeral of John Robert Watts, governing director of John Watts cutlery manufacturers, at Fulwood church. They were listed as family mourners, John Watts died aged 80 at 8 Oakholme Road. 



Charts explaining the number and lettering codes can be found all over the internet. This could be one place.


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John Watts building is still there, now it’s offices and maybe flats, can’t be sure about the latter, inside was once a collection of 18th / 19th century workshops which in turn had been encompassed into the larger building.



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Richard Ineson

I wouldn't dismiss/ignore "John Watts", Shambles/South Street' as it would be very likely that there would be shops/workshops selling/supplying knives and other implements associated with the meat trade, near to the Shambles. There were still two such shops within the Sheffield Abattoir wholesale meat market until its closure in 1981.

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Thank you "Tozzin" for the additional image and "Richard" for your observation. What you have suggested Richard, does make sense, as being close to potential buyers should be good for business. I have checked again the trade entries and the John Watts (and a Jonathon Watts) at The Shambles and South Street who I felt were "butchery" associated were mostly dated prior to 1850, before "cutlery" John Watts came to the "clasp & dog collar" concern. The review did however bring another form of manufacturing to the early concern's range, button making.
1871 Watts, John (~, button mkr).
                                           Address: 105 Westbar, Sheffield in 1871.
                                           Recorded in: Whites Sheffield & District Directory 

Can anybody place this "John Watts"?
1864-65 WATTS, John (Qualifying property, House & shop, 26 Trippet Lane).
                                                  Address: Trippet Lane, Sheffield in 1864-65.
                                                   Recorded in: Sheffield Burgess Rolls.


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John Watts also made trouser and tie presses.  In 1911 my Great Grandfather William Ryalls (of 55 Lambert street) and two of his daughters worked at Watts making trouser presses.  As soon as she left school my grandmother (age 5 in 1911) went to work there - she's 4th from the left in the front row in this photo, with stacks of materials in the background.



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Nice added photos Tozzin and Edmund. You must be just me, snapping or saving images that you think may have a use later.


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