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TITLE
John Fraser, Inverness silversmith (37 of 39)
EXTERNAL ID
GB1796_SINCLAIR_SILVERSMITH_37
PLACENAME
Inverness
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
INVERNESS: Inverness and Bona
PERIOD
1970s
CREATOR
John Fraser
SOURCE
Inverness Museum and Art Gallery
ASSET ID
2267
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 reflects on the effects of the Second World War on the jewellery trade. The photograph, courtesy of Inverness Museum & Art Gallery (IMAG), is of one of John Fraser's pieces - a silver paperknife.

'I think the biggest break that took place was when the war started. You see, a big lot of the skilled men and the trades and that, went into foundries. For instance, the watchmaker that worked in Medlock and Craik's went into Rose Street Foundry. The jeweller was doing part-time work and then eventually he left and went into something which was an industry at the time. A lot of employees in the workshops in the south, you see, they went into munitions.

After the war, instead of these people coming back, they just seemed to disappear into industry, you know, and they died off in those jobs, they never came back into the job that they'd served their time at at all. What you found then was that a lot of the people that came into our trade were dental mechanics, were engineering students, good at fabrication, good at designing on a small scale, and were partial to working in something finer than just base metals. And so they took an aptitude up for working in silver and gold and they used their technical knowledge in engineering to fabricate in a different way from a man making up with hammers, you know, and engraving with gravers and that. They were able to make dies they were able to design dies. And what they did was, they would go out and they would get people in various mechanical processings to alter something in the machinery that they had so that they could use it in a different field altogether'

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John Fraser, Inverness silversmith (37 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 reflects on the effects of the Second World War on the jewellery trade. The photograph, courtesy of Inverness Museum & Art Gallery (IMAG), is of one of John Fraser's pieces - a silver paperknife.<br /> <br /> 'I think the biggest break that took place was when the war started. You see, a big lot of the skilled men and the trades and that, went into foundries. For instance, the watchmaker that worked in Medlock and Craik's went into Rose Street Foundry. The jeweller was doing part-time work and then eventually he left and went into something which was an industry at the time. A lot of employees in the workshops in the south, you see, they went into munitions. <br /> <br /> After the war, instead of these people coming back, they just seemed to disappear into industry, you know, and they died off in those jobs, they never came back into the job that they'd served their time at at all. What you found then was that a lot of the people that came into our trade were dental mechanics, were engineering students, good at fabrication, good at designing on a small scale, and were partial to working in something finer than just base metals. And so they took an aptitude up for working in silver and gold and they used their technical knowledge in engineering to fabricate in a different way from a man making up with hammers, you know, and engraving with gravers and that. They were able to make dies they were able to design dies. And what they did was, they would go out and they would get people in various mechanical processings to alter something in the machinery that they had so that they could use it in a different field altogether'