My parents married in 1957 and I can remember my mother saying that she’d bought my father’s wedding ring from ‘Lowes’ of Rotherham. I’d never heard of this business myself, before, but a little bit of research unearthed an interesting family.
Francis Lowe, born circa 1826 in Foleshill, Warwickshire, married Eliza West from Exhall, Warwickshire in Saint Laurence’s Church, Foleshill in 1850. Together, they issued seven children, the first two being born in Warwickshire; the rest in Rawmarsh and Rotherham. The family moved to Rawmarsh at some point between 1853 and 1857, perhaps so that Francis could work in South Yorkshire’s relatively well paid heavy industries; he worked as a mechanic, miner, and as an ironworker.
By 1871, Francis and his family were living at 100 Eldon Road in Eastwood, Rotherham. This house would remain the family home for over thirty years. Also at this address were found Roman gold coins, by Francis, which I can’t help but think probably kick-started his son’s jewellery and watchmaking business in Rotherham town centre.
There was a tragedy in the family also, when Francis’s grandson, Vincent Lowe, was killed in World War I; Vincent is the son of Francis’s eldest son, Orson, and is remembered on the Ploegsteert Memorial in Belgium and on the Clifton Park Cenotaph in Rotherham.
Strangely, the incorrect death date for Francis is inscribed on his grave headstone. It states that he died on the 26th February 1908, when in actual fact, he’d passed away on the 19th of that month. I can only assume that the headstone was erected years after his death and the correct date had been forgotten.
Below are a number of articles pertaining to the Lowe family and their business which I hope you find as interesting to read as I did.
THE ADVERTISER, SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 1908.
LOWE. – February 19th, 100, Eldon road, Francis Lowe, aged 81 years.
THE ADVERTISER, SATURDAY, MARCH 7, 1908.
LOWE. – March 3rd, at 32, Oat street, Rotherham, Orson Lowe, aged 54 years.
THE ADVERTISER, SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 1908.
LOWE. – November 10th, at 100, Eldon road, Eliza, the beloved wife of the late Francis Lowe, in her 81st year.
THE YORKSHIRE ARCHAEOLOGICAL JOURNAL
In the last issue of Roman Yorkshire (Y.A.J., Vol. xxxvii, Pt. 148, pp. 527/(8) allusion was made to the discovery of a small hoard of Roman coins in the foundation of a house in Eldon Road, Rotherham, in the year 1875.
In the early part of 1950 Mr. Francis Lowe of Rotherham died at an advanced age and the very fragmentary remains of the hoard, comprising, when found, some thirty or forty coins, have now been handed to me by his son, Mr. Sidney Lowe.
The coins were found during the erection of four houses in Eldon Road for Mr. Francis Lowe, father of the deceased gentleman. These houses were built in 1869, and not, as supposed in 1875. The record in the old Building Book of the Borough Engineer’s Dept. gives the date for the passing of the plans for these four houses as 6 July, 1869 and they were completed on the 30 November of that year. The particular house in which the find was made is No. 100 which lies near the eastern end of the north side of Eldon Road, some 300 ft. east of the modern footpath which leads to the foot-bridge spanning the R. Don. Eldon Road runs parallel with the river and is on the former rich meadow land attached to the ancient manor of Eastwood, and is distant some 2 furlongs from the old Thistlebed Ford, which was the original way across the Don from Eastwood.
The coins, all that are left, are three in number and were submitted to Mr. J. Baggaley of Sheffield for classification. They were so battered that it proved impossible to identify them completely but Mr. Baggaley says they are all antoninianii of the 3rd century.
The coins are now in Rotherham Museum.
THE ADVERTISER, SATURDAY, JUNE 15, 1918.
Mrs. Lowe, of 25, Clifton Crescent South, Rotherham, would be grateful for any news of her husband, Private Vincent Lowe (27618 York and Lancaster Regt.), who is reported missing since April 12th last. Before joining the Army two years ago he was a branch manager for Mr. K. Fieldsend, pawnbroker, etc., of Rotherham.
THE ADVERTISER, SATURDAY, MARCH 23rd, 1946.
Death of Mrs. F. Lowe, Of Rotherham
The death occurred on Monday at her home, 24-26, Effingham Street, Rotherham, of Mrs. Martha Lowe, aged 84, wife of Mr. Francis Lowe, the well-known Rotherham jeweller, by whom and two sons and a daughter she is survived.
A native of Norwich, she came to Rotherham about 60 years ago, and was a keen golfer when in her prime, being a member of the Sitwell Park Club. She was a member of the Masbro’ Independent Chapel over 50 years.
The mourners included Mr. F. Lowe (widower), Mr. F. S. Lowe and Mr. and Mrs. H. E. Lowe (sons and daughter-in-law), Mrs. E. Henderson (daughter); Mr. H. England (nephew), Mr. R. D. Lowe and Miss J. A. Lowe (grandchildren); Miss E. Twigg, Mr. J. Cole, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Nicholson; Mr. R. Edghill (representing the Sitwell Park Golf Club ladies); Mr. E. C. Whiting, Mrs. Wilson, Mrs. L. Ball (representing Francis Lowe and Sons).
The exors of Oscar Bywater, Providence Street, Masbro’, carried out the funeral arrangements.
THE ADVERTISER, SATURDAY, AUGUST 26th, 1950
MR. FRANCIS LOWE’S SUDDEN DEATH
Mr. Francis Lowe, who more than 60 years ago started a watch repairer’s business in a small shop in Frederick Street, Rotherham – a business which was to develop into the firm of Messrs. Francis Lowe and Sons, Ltd., watchmakers and jewellers, with large premises in Effingham Street – died suddenly at his Effingham Street home yesterday. He was nearly 90.
A native of Parkgate, Mr. Lowe served his apprenticeship in Rotherham and in Sheffield. He was an enthusiastic sportsman and won an open competition at Sitwell Park Gold Club when he had passed the age of 70. He was one of the original members of that club and was made a Life member last year. He played cricket for the Rotherham Thursday Club until he was 50 years of age.
He leaves two sons (Mr. F. S. Lowe and Mr. H. E. Lowe) and one daughter.
The funeral will be at Moorgate Cemetery at 12.30 to-morrow (Sunday).
THE ADVERTISER, SAT., SEPT. 2nd, 1950
THE LATE MR. F. LOWE
The funeral of Mr. Francis Lowe, the well-known Rotherham jeweller, who died yesterday week at his home, Effingham Street, Rotherham, took place on Sunday in the Moorgate Cemetery. The Rev. S. B. King officiated.
Among the family mourners and friends were Mr. and Mrs. F. S. Lowe and Mr. H. E. Lowe (sons and daughter-in-law); Mr. Geoffrey W. Lowe and Mr. R. D. Lowe (grandsons); Mrs. Haywood (granddaughter); Mrs. E. Twigg, Mr. S. Lord, Mr. J. W. Waller and Mr. A. A. Davis (representing Sitwell Park Gold Club), Mr. E. C. Whiting and Mr. G. Whiting (representing the staff of Messrs. Francis Lowe and Sons Ltd.), Mr. G. Spearing, Mr. and Mrs. H. Page and Mr. T. Littlewood.
The funeral arrangements were carried out by Alan Bywater, College Road and Wickersley Road, Rotherham.
THE ADVERTISER, SAT., APRIL 25th, 1953
These Tradesmen Have Cause For Pride In Their Service
The business of F. Lowe and Sons, established in 1881 by Francis Lowe, at 16, Frederick Street, has acquired an enviable reputation. The founder’s skill as a watchmaker and jeweller led to a steady growth of the business, which is now controlled by his two sons, Messrs. F. S. and H. E. Lowe, at their fine display showroom in Effingham Street.
THE ADVERTISER, FRI., JAN. 29th, 1971
Death of Mr. Harold E. Lowe
Mr. Harold Ernest Lowe, O.B.E., joint managing director of Francis Lowe and Sons, Ltd., jewellers, of Effingham Street, Rotherham, and a former commanding officer of the 61st (West Riding) Home Guard Battalion, died on Wednesday at the age of 76.
Mr. Lowe, who lived at 3, Holling Moor Lane, Wickersley, had been ill since just before Christmas. He leaves a widow, one son and two daughters.
Cremation will be at Rotherham Crematorium on Monday, at 11.30 a.m.
He was the younger son of the founder of the business, Mr. Francis Lowe, and had been joint managing director along with his brother, Mr. Sidney Lowe. The business was founded in Frederick Street in 1887, but moved to the present premises in 1932 and the lay-out of the shop, designed by Mr. Harold Lowe, proved to be many years in advance of its origin.
The business is now carried on by the two grandsons of the founder, Messrs. R. D. and F. D. Lowe.
A native of Rotherham, Mr. Harold Lowe was educated at Rotherham Grammar School and went immediately into his father’s business. In World War One he served in the King’s Own Scottish Borderers and later in the Royal Tank Corps, reaching the rank of captain.
When the Local Defence Volunteers were formed in 1940, Mr. Lowe immediately joined them and later he took up Home Guard service with similar enthusiasm. by the time the Home Guard were “stood down,” he was Lieutenant Colonel commanding the 61st Battalion. He was awarded the O.B.E. for his services.
His sporting interests included hockey, golf, fly fishing and shooting. He played hockey at school, for the Wickersley club and for Yorkshire. He had also been an active member of the Sitwell Park Golf Club.
LOWE. – Harold Ernest, beloved husband of Eileen, of 3, Holling Moor Lane, Wickersley, on January 27th. Service at Rotherham Crematorium, 11:30 a.m., Monday, February 1st.
THE ADVERTISER, FRI., FEB. 5th, 1971
Funeral of Mr. H. E. Lowe
Cremation of Mr. Harold Ernest Lowe, O.B.E., joint managing director of Francis Lowe and Sons Ltd., jewellers, of Effingham Street, Rotherham, took place at Rotherham on Monday.
Mr. Lowe, aged 76, was a former commanding officer of the 61st (West Riding) Home Guard Battalion, He lived at 3, Holling Moor Lane, Wickersley.
Canon G. K. Dixon, of Thrybergh, officiated.
The family mourners were: Mrs. H. E. Lowe (widow), Mr. and Mrs. R. D. Lowe (son and daughter-in-law), Mrs. J. A. Haywood, Mr. and Mrs. P. Hodge (son-in-law and daughters), Mr. and Mrs. F. D. Lowe (nephew and niece, also representing Mr. and Mrs. F. S. Lowe, brother and sister-in-law), Mr. and Mrs. G. W. Lowe, (nephew and niece), Mr. and Mrs. H. P. Hume, Mrs. B. C. Bishop, Mrs. G. T. Spearing (brother-in-law and sisters-in-law), Mr. P. W. Sparrow.
Members of staff present were: Miss E. S. Crabtree, Mrs. B. McCormick, Mrs. M. Shelton, Mrs. J. Mullett, Mrs. C. Crossland, Miss S. Burtoft, Mrs. J. Markham, Mr. G. W. Whiting, Mr. T. Kimber, Mr. G. Asbridge, Mr. M. Ross.
Representatives were: Mr. J. H. Dickinson, J.P. (also representing Henry Garnett and Co., Ltd., and the former 58th Battalion, West Riding Home Guard), Mr. J. K. C. Cox (representing Cox, Dewar and Beaton and also Mr. R. W. Rusum), Mr. and Mrs. C. P. Sutton (representing Lindrick Golf Club), Mr. T. D. Collier (president of Rotherham Grammar School Old Boy’s Association), Mr. and Mrs. C. Vickers (representing Wickersley Hockey Club), Mr. E. G. Morgan (manager of Williams and Glyn’s Bank Ltd., Rotherham).
Other mourners were: Mr. H. England, Mrs. I. Clay (also representing Mr. P. S. Montgomery and Mr. E. D. Montgomery), Mr. J. A. Dent (also representing Mr. J. E. Dent and Miss M. E. Dent), Mrs. W. J. Elmhirst (also representing Mr. W. J. Elmhirst), Mrs. B. Bradford (also representing Mr. and Mrs. G. W. Micklethwait), Mr. J. E. A. Winterbourne, Mrs. B. R. Cottam (also representing Mr. B. R. Cottam), Mrs. R. L. France, Mrs. F. Ramsden, Dr. and Mrs. F. W. Daly, Mrs. E. W. Barron (also representing Mr. E. W. Barron), Mr. R. C. Dickinson, Mrs. G. Hayes, Mr. T. A. Tulett, Mr. and Mrs. G. Foser.
THE ADVERTISER, FRI., OCT. 1st, 1971
Death of jeweller
Mr. Francis Sydney Lowe, joint managing director of Francis Lowe and Sons, Ltd., jewellers, of Effingham Street, Rotherham, died yesterday at his home, 30, Wood Lane, Wickersley,
Mr. Lowe, who was 80, had been ill for a number of years. He leaves a widow, two sons and five grandchildren.
He was the son of the founder of the business, Mr. Francis Lowe, and was joint managing director for many years with his late brother, Mr. Harold Ernest Lowe, who died in January.
The business was founded in Frederick Street in 1887, but moved to the present premises in 1932.
Mr. Lowe and his brother retired in 1960 and the shop is now carried on by his son, Mr. Donald Lowe, and his nephew, Mr. Rex Lowe.
Born in Rotherham, Mr. F. S. Lowe was educated at Rotherham Grammar School and entered the business after completing his education.
A past president of the Rotherham Chamber of Trade, he was a founder member of the Wickersley Hockey Club. In his younger days, his sporting interests included hockey, swimming, golf and shooting.
Cremation takes place at Rotherham next Monday at 3 p.m.
THE ADVERTISER, FRI., OCT. 8th, 1971
The late Mr. Francis S. Lowe
Cremation took place on Monday of Mr. Francis Sydney Lowe, the jeweller, of 30, Wood Lane, Wickersley, whose death was reported in “The Advertiser” last week. The Rev. J. Metcalfe officiated.
Family mourners were Mrs. D. Lowe (widow), Mr. and Mrs. G. Lowe, Mr. and Mrs. D. Lowe (sons and daughters-in-law), Mr. P. Lowe, Mr. S. Lowe, Mr. D. Lowe (grandchildren), Mr. P. Lowe and Mrs. J. A. Haywood (nephew and niece, also representing Mrs. H. Lowe and Mr. and Mrs. R. Lowe).
Other mourners were Mr. P. R. M. Selby (also representing W. G. Moreton and Co., Ltd.), and Mrs. Selby, Mr. D. R. Branson (also representing Mrs. Branson), the Rev. and Mrs. W. A. Clynes, Mr. G. Astbridge, Mr. M. Ross, Mrs. M. Watford, Mr. and Mrs. P. C. Lodge, Mr. B. Wainwright.
Mrs. F. Grafton, Mrs. G. A. Hibberd (also representing Mr. Hibberd), Mr. Philip E. Russum (also representing Mr. D. Davy), Mrs. C. C. Crossland (also representing Miss E. S. Crabtree), Mrs. B. McCormick (also representing the female staff of Francis Lowe and Sons, Ltd.), Mr. B. A. Coldwell, Mr. C. Vickers (representing Wickersley Hockey Club), Mr. E. G. Morgan, Mrs. I. Clay (also representing Mr. P. S. Montgomery and Mr. E. D. Montgomery), Mr. P. Moxon (representing Mr. J. H. Dickinson, J.P.).
THE ADVERTISER, FRI, SEPT. 16th, 1983
Time runs out for jewellers
Time is running out for customers who have repairs at one of Rotherham’s best known jewellers and watch repairers.
For Francis Lowe and Sons are winding up after nearly 100 years trading and will be forced to sell any items left unclaimed.
“We have to remind people to collect jobs from us by the end of September, otherwise we will be forced to sell them to defray expenses,” said Mr Francis Donald Lowe, who is co-director with his cousin, Mr Rex Desmond Lowe.
Probably the oldest family jewellers in town, Lowe’s were established in 1886 in Frederick Street with a Post Office as part of the business. In 1932 they moved to their present premises in Effingham Street.
Although both Mr Donald and Mr Rex started in the business before World War Two, their manageress and buyer, Miss Ethel Crabtree, started in the trade before them in 1935.
“We have decided to close down because we are both coming up to retirement age; but when you have been in the trade all your working life it’s a bit of a wrench,” said 58-years-old Mr Donald Lowe.
“We will be able to do the things that work interferes with, before we are too old to enjoy it,” added Mr Rex Lowe, a 63-years-old Fellow of the Gemological Association.
His son, Patrick (35), who has worked with them for about 15 years, has decided that the business is too large for him to take over.
Above the shop premises is the firm’s workshops where watches and clocks are repaired along with items of small jewellery.
To help speed stock clearance – the firm want to close in the middle of October – they are holding their first sale in 97 years trading. Although items are being offered 30 per cent below the normal prices, nothing is being sold on tick!
“We would like to thank our customers for their loyal support over the years,” added Mr Donald Lowe.