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Brentford Families - Gaydon

Helen Hickman and Martin Hooper wrote during 2010 with some additional details of the Gaydon family, one branch of which were watchmakers at 102 High Street.

In 2011 Janet McNamara provided three newspaper cuttings which provide details about Edwin Gaydon's death and funeral, also an advert published shortly before he died in 1913.

In May 2012 Martin Hooper provided some further updates which are incorporated below.

Helen Hickman - May 2010

I read with interest your piece about No.102. I wanted to supplement and amend some of the information in your article regarding the Gaydons, since they are my ancestors and I have been researching them, although I am by no means an expert.

Some of the conclusions you draw may be slightly inaccurate particularly the question as to whether the brothers' claim that the business was "Established as a Watch Makersí over 300 Yearsí ". Edwin and Henry were descended from Alexander Gaydon (1795) and Susannah Sommerville. I have been told that there were 26 clock and watchmakers in the Gaydon family in and around Barnstaple over several generations, so the likelihood that the family, if not the specific business in Brentford, had been in the clock and watchmaking business for 300 years, was probably true.

Another connection of which you may not be aware is that the Gaydon partner of Birch and Gaydon Ltd, Goldsmiths, Silversmiths, etc. of Fenchurch St, London was Edwin and Henry's great nephew, Henry Martin Gaydon. He was distinguished as a Master of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers in 1925. He is related to Edwin and Henry through his grandfather Henry Gaydon (1798), who was Alexander's brother. Henry Martin Gaydon's father John Gaydon (1821) was also a clockmaker and was responsible for constructing many of the church clocks in North Devon. My interest is primarily Henry Martin Gaydon who was my great grandmother's (Helen Gaydon) brother.

One of my distant Australian cousins who is descended from Alexander Gaydon (1837), also Henry Gaydon's (1798) son (a definite shortage of names in this family!), is writing a book about the descendants of Henry Gaydon, so if you have additional information to share or would like to be updated on any pertinent information we find out, please let me know.


Martin Hooper - June 2010

I have read with interest your material on Brentford High Street and in particular that relating to Edwin Gaydon, jeweller and clockmaker at 102 High Street.

I am researching and writing on the 19th century Gaydon Clockmakers (in excess of 25 clock & watchmakers). Members of this Gaydon family were variously Clockmakers to the Queen, Watchmakers to the British Admiralty and Master of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers.

Regarding Established as a Watch Makersí over 300 Years: we think it more likely Edwin was claiming 300 years based on the business not the family. The claim may still be questionable: Henry Martin Gaydonís father, John Gaydon b 1820, was not a clockmaker. He was initially a butcher and then the relieving officer for the Barnstaple Union.

The John Gaydon b 1821, a well known clockmaker of 99 High St Barnstaple, was the elder brother of Henry b 1825 and Edwin b 1830 who had Brentford associations.

These two Johns (born 1820 and 1821) were first cousins. Alexander b 1837 (referred to in Helen's account) was a brother of John b 1820.

This all means that Henry Martin Gaydon of Birch and Gaydon was a first cousin once removed to Henry & Edwin Gaydon.


Edwin Gaydon of 102 High Street, Brentford

Martin Hooper provided the following details:

Edwin Gaydon was one of 5 brothers who became clockmakers. They served their apprenticeships in Barnstaple in the 1840s. One stayed on in Barnstaple and the other four moved to the London, Middlesex, Surrey area. The one in Barnstaple supplied quite a few Church clock and over 150 railway clocks in the later part of the 19th century.

Gaydon book

Martin Hooper added May 2012:

My book on the Gaydon Clockmakers was published in 2011. My research (and the contributions from many others) has generated some interesting insights into these 2 brothers, Henry and Edwin Gaydon. Their chapter is 22 pages. Their partnerships lasted from about mid 1850s to late 1880s.

Edwin stayed on at Brentford as you know (and Richmond and Hounslow) and Henry & sons were at Walthamstow. With the death of Edwin, the business adopted the name 'E & M Gaydon'. The M being daughter Maude. The business was closed in 1927 as the property was sold. There was an auction of stock on Friday 27 May 1927. This advertisement also claimed the business was established in 1656. Not just 300 years ago but an actual year date.

There are direct descendents of Edwin around (but no longer Gaydons)... One had a jewellery shop in Lee-on-Solent and one in Wellington New Zealand up until the late 20th century.

A small group of us is focused now on the wider history of the Gaydon family.

Martin added that his Gaydon book has sold all 70 copies and kindly provided the following extracts:


"19th Century Gaydon Clock & Watch Makers" by Martin A. Hooper - extracts

Download Front and back covers including image a Barnstaple Gaydon clock (PDF).

In 1879, the firm of H & E Gaydon, Brentford, submitted the successful tender for the supply of a tower clock to the Central London District School at Hanwell, Middlesex, now the Borough of Ealing, London. Download more details, including images of the turret clock as a Word document.

Gaydon E & M Gaydon, Successor to Edwin Gaydon

With the death of Edwin in 1913, his businesses at 102 High St Brentford and 46 High St Hounslow, continued to operate and adopted the business name of E & M Gaydon. The first of these advertisements below carried a crown and claimed to be patronised by Royalty.

Advert for E & M Gaydon, 102 High Street Brentford

It seems highly likely that Maude and Elsie Gaydon continued to operate this business until its demise in 1927. It was Maude and Elsie who were living and working with Edwin at 102 High Street, Brentford at the time of the 1901 census and 1911 census. They were named also as the executors of Edwinís will.

102 High Street, Brentford passes out of Gaydon hands

An advertisement concerning E & M Gaydon appeared in a Brentford regional newspaper in 1927. The business of Messrs E & M Gaydon, Jewellers & Silversmiths, High St, Brentford, was closing. Surplus stock was being sold by Auction on the premises on Friday 20th May 1927. The advertisement told of the last days of Gaydons at 102 High Street Brentford after more than 70 years.

A transcription of that advertisement from an old newspaper clipping is given below. The clipping does not carry a year date or newspaper name. From the date Friday 20 May, the year can be calculated and is 1927. It also claimed the business was established in 1656, almost 300 years earlier.


102 High Street, Brentford
Est. 1656 Phone: P.O. 247 Ealing
Frank Matthews in conjunction with Herbert Platt F.A.L.P.A.
has received instructions to sell the surplus stock by Auction on the premises as above on FRIDAY, MAY 20th 1927 and following days at 11a.m. and 3 and 5 p.m. the whole of the surplus stock at the above Premises consisting of High-class DIAMOND and other gem-set Jewellery. Ladiesí and gentlemenís rings, set with Diamonds, Sapphires, Rubies, Emeralds, Pearls, etc,. Diamond and other Gem-set Pendants, Brooches, and Ear-rings, Gold Bracelets, Bangles, Guards, Necklets, etc. Gentlemenís Single-stone Diamond Rings, Signet Rings, &15 and 19ct. Gold Single and Double Alberts, Seals, Pendants, and Medals, Scarf Pins, Studs, Links, etc.
Gold and Silver Pocket, Expanding Bracelet and Wristlet Watches
Bracket, striking and other clocks
A Splendid Stock of Solid Silver and Electro-Plate Comprising Tea and Coffee Services, Afternoon Tea Sets, Tea Tray Salvers, Cake Baskets, Entre Dishes, Breakfast Dishes, Teapots, Biscuit Barrels, Jam Dishes, Toast Racks, Day Frames, Cruets, Butter Dishes, Cases of Fish and Dessert Knives and Forks, Fish and Meat Carvers, Table and Dessert Knives, Forks and Spoons, Tea Spoons, etc.
View Thursday, May 19th, between 10 and 1 and mornings of sale
also the fixtures and fittings,
Owing to Short Notice No Catalogues.
Further particulars may be obtained on the premises or from The Auctioneers 15, Pathfield-road, Streatham Common, S.W. 16 Telephone Streatham 4050

Neither Maude nor Elsie married. Elsie, eldest child of Ernest Edwin Gaydon, was born 1885 and died in 1931. Maude, youngest child of Edwin Gaydon, was born in 1867 and she died in 1942.

In 1879, the firm of H & E Gaydon, Brentford, submitted the successful tender for the supply of a tower clock to the Central London District School at Hanwell, Middlesex, now the Borough of Ealing, London. Top

Contents Page from "19th Century Gaydon Clock & Watch Makers" by Martin A. Hooper

  • Foreword
  • Acknowledgements
  • Contents Page
  1. Introducing Gaydon Clock- and Watchmakers
  2. The Evolution of the Clockmaker
  3. John Gaydon b 1821 at 99 High Street, Barnstaple
  4. Henry Martin Gaydon of Birch & Gaydon, Watchmakers to the Admiralty
  5. Frederick Gaydon & Sons, Kingston on Thames, Clockmakers to the Queen
  6. Henry & Edwin Gaydon, Brentford & Richmond
  7. Francis Gaydon & Sons, Upper Norwood, Purley & Reigate, Winsor Bishop, Grantham, Norwich
  8. Thomas William Gaydon & Charles Francis Gaydon, Balham & Swansea
  9. The Bird Brothers, Barnstaple, Grantham & Reigate
  10. Concluding Remarks & Epilogue
  • Text Box: What makes a clock a clock?
  • Table: 19th Century Gaydon Clock and Watch Makers
  • Map: North Devon, Towns & Villages associated with the Clockmakers
  • Map: London, Middlesex and Surrey, Clockmaker Locations


Newspaper cuttings

Thanks to Janet McNamara who provided three cuttings from 1913. The articles are text only and have been OCR'ed, I have retained the format as far as I can.

Gaydon advert published 29 January 1913

Advert for Gaydon's Jewellery Stores

Death of Edwin Gaydon, reported in Middlesex Independent 1 February 1913


In his eighty third year, the death occurred
Thursday of Mr. Edwin Gaydon, watchmaker
and jeweller, of 102 High-street. Brentford.
Mr. Gaydon claimed to be, and there seems
every justification for it, the oldest tradesman
in the town.
The deceased gentleman had not been in the
best of health for some time past. He was
forced to call in medical assistance on New
Year,s day, but despite unremitting attention
and careful nursing he gradually sank and
peacefully died early on Thursday morning.
He was a native of Swimbridge, near Barn
staple, in North Devon. Fifty seven years ago
or thereabouts he commenced his business here
and continued to conduct it with efficiency and
success to the end. He was an overseer for
many years during his earlier connection with
the town, and was at one time a churchwarden
at St. Lawrence's, resigning the latter office
something like twenty years ago.
Two sons and two daughters are left to mourn
his loss. 'The funeral will take place, at:
Monday, in the Kensington Cemetery at Han-
well, where his first wife is buried. The first
part of the service will be held at St. Law
rence's Church at 2.30.


Funeral, reported in Middlesex Independent 8 February 1913

The funeral took place on Monday last of the
late Mr. E. Gaydon, of High street, Brentford,
whose death we have reported in a previous
issue. The first part of the funeral services
was conducted in St Lawrence's Church where
the deceased was at one time a warden. The
Rev A E Edwards (Vicar) officiating. The
principal mourners present were Mr F (or E?) S Gay
don (eldest son), Mr E Gaydon (grandson), Mr
F B Gaydon (nephew), Mr B Gaydon (nephew),
Mr Mills, the Brentford and Hounslow staff,
and Mr J Quinion. The ladies of the family
were present at the Church only. These were
Mrs Bird and Miss Gaydon (daughters), Miss
Elsie Gaydon (granddaughter), Mrs Ellen, Miss
Bird (nieces), Mrs Gaydon (daughter-in-law)
and Miss Bandery.
There were a large number of beautiful
floral tributes sent bearing cards as follows -
With sincere sympathy, from Mr and Mrs F
B Gaydon and family (Boscombe) ; In loving
remembrance and with deepest sympathy from
Frank, Mary and Ethel (Norwood) ; In loving
remembrance of dear Father, from Fred,
Rosalie, Ernest and Maude ; with deep sym-
pathy from F E B ; In loving remembrance,
from Elsie, Edwin and Nellie ; With sincere
and affectionate memory of an old friend, from
W H Harrison Lynton, Woodford ; With deep-
est sympathy, from Mr and Mrs W H Mills ;
With deepest sympathy from Frank and Alfred
Gaydon (Kingston-on-Thames); With deepest
sympathy from the Staff of Brentford and
Hounslow ; With deepest sympathy from Mr
and Mrs Gentle ; In affectionate remembrance
from Grandchildren John, Eddie and Janet ; In
loving memory from his grandchildren at
Hounslow ; In memory of an old friend, Mr
Jesse Quinion.


Page published July 2010; last updated June 2012