yeovil people

Frederick Dobell

Watch and Clockmaker of Hendford


Frederick Dobell was born in Yeovil in 1843, the son of Watch & Clock Maker Robert Dobel and his second wife Mary Ann née Hardy, but by the time of the 1851 census Mary had died and Robert was listed as a widower. He was living in Hendford (see Gallery below), with children John and Ellen from his first marriage, together with Frederick and a domestic servant. Robert gave his occupation as a Silversmith and both John and Ellen were listed as his Assistants.

In the 1861 census 53-year old Robert and 19-year old Frederick, together with a domestic servant, were listed at Hendford (actually at No 1 Hendford) and both father and son gave their occupations as Jewellers.

Robert Dobel died in the spring of 1868 aged 61 and the business was carried on by Frederick.

On 26 December 1868 Frederick married Charlotte Cook (1843-1920) at Holy Trinity church, Yeovil. They were to have four children; Robert (1870-1955), Frederick William (1871-1952), Frances (b1874) and Herbert (b1877). In the 1871 census Frederick and Charlotte, together with 11-month old son Robert and a domestic servant were listed at 1 Hendford, originally his father's home but now Frederick's home, workshop and shop premises. Frederick listed his occupation as Jeweller.

The situation was little changed by the time of the 1881 census except that all four children were now present, as well as Charlotte's sister Darkess Cook. Frederick gave his occupation as "Jeweller employing 1 man".

Frederick was listed in Whitby's 1882 Yeovil Almanack Advertiser as a "Watch & Clock Maker & Jeweller of 1 Hendford".

In August 1889 Frederick retired and, together with Charlotte, Frances and Herbert, moved to Torquay, Devon. Charlotte died in Torquay in the spring of 1920 aged 77 and Frederick died there in the summer of 1931, aged 88.




The notice of the marriage of Frederick and Charlotte in the 6 January 1869 edition of the Taunton Courier.


An advertisement (one of many) placed in the 22 January 1869 edition of the Western Gazette announcing Frederick's takeover of his late father Robert's business.


This photograph, one half of a stereoscopic pair, was taken around 1870 and looks down Hendford with High Street and the shop of Lindsay Denner at extreme left. Next to Denner's was the home of clock maker Robert Dobel but by the time of this photograph the home, workshop and shop premises of his son Frederick Dobel. The imposing building at right is Stuckey's Bank.


An advertisement placed in the 16 July 1869 edition of the Western Gazette by Frederick Dobell. It is most interesting that the first line of the advertisement says "Established nearly a Century" which, since his father Robert was not in Yeovil until around 1830, implies the family business was started by Thomas Dobel (perhaps Frederick's grandfather or great-uncle) or the mysterious E Dobel - both of whom are known to have been in Yeovil in the 1770s.


A joined oak longcase clock, the enamelled dial signed "Dobel, Yeovil" with a subsidiary seconds dial and date aperture. The hood has a swan-neck pediment and central eagle and ball finial. It is a thirty hour movement striking on a bell and overall stands 81" (206cm) high. It is most likely that this clock was made by Frederick Dobel since his father's work was usually signed with his full name "Robert Dobel, Yeovil".


An incredibly verbose advertisement by Frederick Dobell from the 29 December 1871 edition of the Western Gazette.


By the time of the advertisement from Whitby's Yeovil Almanack Advertiser of 1882, Frederick was claiming the business had been "Established Upwards Two Centuries" - unlikely?


Frederick Dobell's final clearance sale (with a discount of 8s in the pound) of his stock advertised in the 5 July 1889 edition of the Western Gazette. The following month he retired and moved his family to live in Torquay.