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TITLE
John Fraser, Inverness silversmith (9 of 39)
EXTERNAL ID
GB1796_SINCLAIR_SILVERSMITH_09
PLACENAME
Inverness
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
INVERNESS: Inverness and Bona
PERIOD
1970s
CREATOR
John Fraser
SOURCE
Inverness Museum and Art Gallery
ASSET ID
2227
KEYWORDS
jewellery
jewelry
craftsman
craftsmen
metalwork
silversmiths
audio

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John Fraser, an Inverness silversmith, served his apprenticeship in the 1930s with Medlock and Craik, watchmakers and jewellers at 6 Bridge Street, Inverness. The firm later had premises in Exchange Place, and Queensgate.

In this audio extract from the 1970s, Mr Fraser talks about the discerning customer of years gone by. The photograph, courtesy of Inverness Museum & Art Gallery (IMAG), is of one of John Fraser's pieces - a Cairngorm brooch.

'The customer, believe it or not, in the thirties, could be an old woman, a young person, or a middle-aged person, but they had an education of a standard where they could differentiate between quality and trash. And if they came into Medlock and Craik's to buy a kilt pin, a simple kilt pin, or anything at all - they perhaps could just make it, from the money point of view because money, you know, these people didn't have money, the average person in those days, their wage was something in the region of £2 10s or £3 a week and a family of six perhaps - well, at Christmas time, when they would come in, they would handle it and you knew that they were looking at it and they were giving it the once over, but they were really looking at the object. It had to be heavy enough, good strong pin, good strong joint, good strong catch. Any weakness at all and they'd spot it and ask you about it, in apprehension that they might take it out and it might break and what would you do if they had to take it back? They had to be assured that you would honour the agreement and you would - If it, it was our own stock, we would repair it, there'd be no, 'If there was anything happens to it you take it back, don't be worried'. You had all these little things that counted so much whereas today the person has money to buy it and he just looks at it and he says 'I'll take that'. But he could be in a chip shop, buying a fish supper. Because nothing's registering, he just fancies it, you know? And he has the money, you see, he's got the money to buy it. So he doesn't see any beauty in it because if he did, he would say 'It's a rather nice design that, Mr Fraser' or 'Did you make it yourself? I wondered, you know. I was just thinking that. It's very like the sort of work you do'. You see, in the days when I served my apprenticeship, you could go up the street and you could get, in one street alone, you could get five or six traders who could tell you Craik's work. If you took a thing in and put in on the counter as I used to do as a boy and say 'Well, what do you think of that? Did it myself.' 'No you didn't. That's the old man's work'. And you were caught, every time. They just looked at it. Now, you couldn't do that today'

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John Fraser, Inverness silversmith (9 of 39)

INVERNESS: Inverness and Bona

1970s

jewellery; jewelry; craftsman; craftsmen; metalwork; silversmiths; audio

Inverness Museum and Art Gallery

Bill Sinclair Audio: John Fraser, Silversmith

John Fraser, an Inverness silversmith, served his apprenticeship in the 1930s with Medlock and Craik, watchmakers and jewellers at 6 Bridge Street, Inverness. The firm later had premises in Exchange Place, and Queensgate. <br /> <br /> In this audio extract from the 1970s, Mr Fraser talks about the discerning customer of years gone by. The photograph, courtesy of Inverness Museum & Art Gallery (IMAG), is of one of John Fraser's pieces - a Cairngorm brooch.<br /> <br /> 'The customer, believe it or not, in the thirties, could be an old woman, a young person, or a middle-aged person, but they had an education of a standard where they could differentiate between quality and trash. And if they came into Medlock and Craik's to buy a kilt pin, a simple kilt pin, or anything at all - they perhaps could just make it, from the money point of view because money, you know, these people didn't have money, the average person in those days, their wage was something in the region of £2 10s or £3 a week and a family of six perhaps - well, at Christmas time, when they would come in, they would handle it and you knew that they were looking at it and they were giving it the once over, but they were really looking at the object. It had to be heavy enough, good strong pin, good strong joint, good strong catch. Any weakness at all and they'd spot it and ask you about it, in apprehension that they might take it out and it might break and what would you do if they had to take it back? They had to be assured that you would honour the agreement and you would - If it, it was our own stock, we would repair it, there'd be no, 'If there was anything happens to it you take it back, don't be worried'. You had all these little things that counted so much whereas today the person has money to buy it and he just looks at it and he says 'I'll take that'. But he could be in a chip shop, buying a fish supper. Because nothing's registering, he just fancies it, you know? And he has the money, you see, he's got the money to buy it. So he doesn't see any beauty in it because if he did, he would say 'It's a rather nice design that, Mr Fraser' or 'Did you make it yourself? I wondered, you know. I was just thinking that. It's very like the sort of work you do'. You see, in the days when I served my apprenticeship, you could go up the street and you could get, in one street alone, you could get five or six traders who could tell you Craik's work. If you took a thing in and put in on the counter as I used to do as a boy and say 'Well, what do you think of that? Did it myself.' 'No you didn't. That's the old man's work'. And you were caught, every time. They just looked at it. Now, you couldn't do that today'