Gaydon, Francis (1832 to 1916)

54 (now 58) Harold Road 1905-1911

Francis Gaydon was born in 1832 and trained as a watchmaker in Barnstaple.  He moved to Norwood aged 30 and began his Jewellery and Silversmith business which expanded to include numbers 16-20 Westow Street, its date of establishment ‘1862’ appearing on a large barrel clock protruding over his shop. Watches and Clocks were manufactured at the rear of the shop and the original shuttered workshop still exists today.  The barrel clock was moved circa 1930 to the opposite side of the road outside Foresters Hall. In the 1880’s Francis’ two sons joined him in the business with additional shops being opened over time in Reigate, Hull and Purley. According to a Croydon Advertiser article of 2011 the Norwood shop regularly received orders worth ‘the equivalent today of £3,500’.  Francis remained loyal to his Devonshire roots and was a leading member of the Barumites in London Society becoming its President in 1901. During their annual dinners held at the famous Holborn Restaurant (located opposite Holborn tube station) he was renowned for entertaining his fellow Barumites with stories and songs sung in North Devon dialect. In 1880 Francis with three of his brothers presented and erected a church clock in Swimbridge the village just outside Barnstaple from whence they had all originated.  The family’s jewellery business eventually closed down in 1925. Francis and his wife Mary lived at 54 Harold Road. They both died in 1916 and were buried in West Norwood Cemetery. Sometime after 1891 their brother in law Richard Collihole was living with his family in ‘neighbouring’ 14 Westow St. from where he operated a grocery and provisions store.

Source  A.Gaydon,

Gt.Gt Grandson of Francis Gaydon.. Norwood Review