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Jewellers Birmingham early 19th century apprenticeships


proper brummie kid

Could anyone tell me if they know if apprenticeships were served for the jewellery industry in early 19th century and if so where I would find them. My 3 x great grandfather Thomas Upton was a jeweller in Birmingham. Found him in the 1839 Robson's London and Birmingham - Part 2 in 3 Lower Hurst St, Birmingham and 1835 Pigot's Directory of Warwickshire in Park Street. Thomas was born about 1805/6 but in the 1841 census he was a NO for born in this county - he was living in Inge Street then with his wife and family. He died in 1850. Hoping some records of apprenticeship might reveal where he was born or the name of his father?

Many thanks.


Super Moderator
Staff member
It seems you may be out of luck. "Jewellery making in Birmingham 1750-1995" by Shena Mason states that apprenticeship records for the trade in Birmingham are meagre," and there must have been many more apprentices in the town than they suggest".Apprentices were taken on for 7 years to learn " the Art . Business or Mystery of a Jeweller". There then follows a very short list of known apprentices . Thomas Upton is not among them. O course other records may yet emerge at some time.


New Member
Would the salesmen who worked with a jewellery business have to have had special training, perhaps not like that of a craftsman or artist, but who were competent to display and sell gems? My person of question is identified in the 1911 census as a "Commercial Traveller Precious stones" living at 25 High Brow, Harborne. He traveled, then moved to Ontario, Canada to sell their gems. It would seem that his employers would have to have vetted him and possibly educated him about gems and jewellery. That was no small responsibility he was given. His sister, my grandmother, worked for the Clewley Jewellers in Birmingham as well.
Thank you very much for your thoughts.