Relative from Down Under hunts for clockmaker clues

Alan Bell, from Warragul, Australia - a descendant of Matthew Collingwood.
Alan Bell, from Warragul, Australia - a descendant of Matthew Collingwood.

More information has come to light about a 19th-century Alnwick clockmaker – from his descendant in Australia.

Inspired by a hunt for clocks made by Belford’s Thomas Tait, the Gazette reported recently on James Askew, who has a grandfather clock made by Matthew Collingwood.

Matthew George Collingwood, part of the second generation of Collingwood family clockmakers.

Matthew George Collingwood, part of the second generation of Collingwood family clockmakers.

The story sparked interest from several north Northumberland residents , who also have timepieces by the same maker.

But the Gazette was also contacted by Mr Collingwood’s great great grandson Alan Bell, who lives in Warragul in Victoria, Australia.

Mr Bell came across our story online while researching his ancestor and while he has gathered some information, he would appreciate any help in discovering more.

So far, he has found out some family background through census records and the like.

Matthew Collingwood was christened in Alnwick on April 10, 1796.

His parents were John Collingwood and Isabella Raphael. He was the oldest of six children born to John and Isabella between 1796 and 1806.

Matthew married Mary Cramer on November 28, 1819, in Alnwick and the couple had nine children, all born in Alnwick between 1821 and 1840.

Two of Matthew’s sons, John (b.1822) and Matthew George (b.1827) also became watchmakers and jewellers.

The watchmaking/jewellery link was also to extend to a third generation through his grandson, Horatio Nelson Collingwood.

In the 1841 census, the family is listed as living at Market Place. Matthew’s son John is listed as a watchmaker while Matthew George is listed as watchmaker’s apprentice.

Ten years later, records show that John and Matthew George are listed in the home and working as watchmakers. The record indicates Matthew senior is employing two men, presumably his sons.

Matthew died in Alnwick on December 12, 1858.

The Collingwood name became associated with the jewellery trade well into the 1960s with company names including Collingwood and Co. and Collingwood and Sons Ltd.

Matthew George Collingwood eventually established himself in Middlesbrough, where his shop was on the corner of Corporation and Linthorpe Roads.

Mr Bell believes the family also went on to have stores in Bond Street, Mayfair, and provided some jewellery and services to the Royal family.

Mr Bell plans to travel to England in April next year and hopes to research the Collingwood family further while here, as well as visiting the areas where they lived and worked.

He added that it would be ‘pretty cool’ to visit someone who owns a Collingwood clock and ‘and see a clock my great great grandfather had made’.

Contact ben.oconnell@jpress.co.uk if you have any information on the Collingwoods.