Slightly late in the schedule of topics from #52Ancestors, I wanted to write a word about an ancestor who was a carriage builder in 19th-century England and Wales. These conveyances, accompanied by stables full of spirited horses, were the equivalent of our modern-day Cadillacs and Toyotas, I suppose.
John Williams, born about 1810 in Wales, had a shop in Liverpool. His son John, and grandson John Devereux Williams (my great-grandfather) were also coach builders. We know from British newspaper articles that the elder John’s business wasn’t going well by about 1870, and he considered retiring. Here’s a transcript of a notice he placed in the Liverpool Daily Post in May 1871:
“Public Notice: John Williams, Coachbuilder, 202 London-road, is offering his stock of Vehicles at a reduced price, to make room for alterations. New Carriages, finished, Siamese Phaeton, Albert Phaeton, four-wheeled Drag, round-backed Whitechapel, and gentleman’s Market Cart, also new Brougham Park Phaetons, Drags, Gigs, &c., can be finished to choice of trimming and painting. also, a number of Second-hand Vehicles, including Coach-Brougham, Phaetons, Whitechapels, &c. “
In October of 1871, John Williams posted a retirement notice in the same newspaper. He didn’t turn over his business to his son John, because the notice he posted said:
“Mr John Williams, 202 London-road, begs to inform the Nobility, Gentry, and Public of Liverpool and its vicinity, that he has RETIRED from BUSINESS, and takes the great pleasure of respectfully thanking them for the kind patronage and support he has received for the last 33 years, and hopes the same will be continued to his successor, W. A. Hutchings, who, from his long experience in the business, he can confidently reccommend.”
John Williams died a couple of years later at age 65.