Rob Forsyth

This clock hung on the wall of the former Royal British Legion Club on the High Street for as long as anyone could remember. When the club closed in November 2017 I decided to discover when and by whom it was made. The name F.T. Reid Deddington on the face was obviously a clue. Some work on the internet, followed by an enquiry to Brian Loomes, a professional clock researcher and archivist, and then talking to Don Walker and Joyce Minnear - who both remember the Reids personally -  resulted in the information in this article. I am most grateful to them.

The conclusion of my search is that the clock could well have been installed at the Club when it opened in 1925. It has now been cleaned and repaired  by Mr Anthony Parkes of Whitnash, Leamington.He says that the case and face  is mid 19C but had a new mechanism later than that. The face was repainted at the same time. So it looks as if Fred Reid used an existing clock body with a new mechanism (1 week pendulum) to create a new clock and also painted his name on the face. One can surmise that this was done to provide a suitable clock to grace the wall of the new British Legion clubhouse in 1925.

The clock was presented to the Friends of Deddington Library on 30 September 2017. 


Records derived from the internet

April 1862 Born in London. Baptised 11 June in Westminster

13th, 20th and 27 April 1884 at St. Philip & St. James, Oxford, banns of marriage for F T Reid , bachelor of this parish, and Faith Searle Honey, spinster, of Holy Trinity, Exeter. (She was born in South Moulton in 1858 and she died at Exeter 18 May 1889 aged 31 still unmarried!)

14 September 1884 at Deddington Frederick Treeby Reid of Oxford of full age bachelor, watchmaker,(son of George Calender Reid, deceased, naval engineer)  was married to Flora Gertrude Paul*, spinster of full age, of Deddington, daughter of Richard Paul, college servant. By Licence. Witnesses: Frederick Daman his cross and Alice Ames(? illegible) Paul.

*Flora was born in 1863 in Clutton in Somerset.


1891 Census Living in St David, Devon, with his wife and four children - Florence (14), William (5), Celia (4) and Minnie (1) . A son, George (known as 'Treebes') , was born c.1896 and another son Edwin was born in 1900 but who died aged only two.

Before he became a clock-maker he designed electric cars and patented a spark plug for petrol engines. A fire in his workshop destroyed the car and possibly led to a change of career direction to clckmaking! More about his car can be read in this internet article.


1911 Census Living at Sidwell Street, Exeter, with his wife Flora and daughter Minnie Alice May aged 21 and son, George, aged 15 apprentice toolmaker. Now described as a clock manufacturer and jewellery seller.  He clearly had inherited his father's engineering talent; this  describes his contribution to early motoring!

1920s At some stage prior to 1927 the family moved to Deddington in what is now Wakehurst in Castle Street (colloquially referred to as Castle End because of its proximity to the Rev Loveday's house of that name). Fred's workshop was in the garden. Joyce Minnear recalls that he built an early crystal radio set and put a wire through the wall to her parents semi-detached house next door so they could listen to the radio.

1939 Kelly's Trade Directory listed as a watchmaker at Castle End, Deddington

1939 Register (entry no. 108)
Castle End
Frederick T born 2 May (changed to 13 July) 1862 watch repairer
Wife Flora G(Gertrude), born 20 July 1862 unpaid domestic duties.1930-45 In his memories of 'Businesses, Shops and Trades' in Deddington in WWII, recorded on p.18 of The Supplement to A Parish at War,  Don Walker also recalls Fred's workshop at Wakehurst.


12 July 1948 Died at Deddington, Oxfordshire, buried 14th July aged 86


22 January 1949 his will was proved at Oxford  by Flora, value of his effects £486. 1s. 9d.