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Tools and work samples of W.C. Freeth. During the second half of the 19th century, London retained its supremacy as a producer of high-quality goods for the luxury market both at home and abroad. Workers in the 'finishing trades' – jewellery, watchmaking, silver mounting – were regarded as a 'labour artistocracy', serving long apprentice-ships and developing highly specialised skills. William Charles Freeth was in business as a dressing case and smelling bottle mounter in precious metals in the period 1880-1919. The Museum In Docklands has acquired much of his equipment, especially that relating to his walking cane manufacture. In addition to numerous specialist hand tools and a small treadle lathe, this collection boasts a series of sample walking canes, presumably made by Freeth to show to prospective customers. The materials used range from precious metals through bone to brass. The donor is William Charles Freeth's great grand-daughter. W. C. Freeth lived from 1845 - 1919.
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