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of 5 Charing Cross, London
c1747 Firm founded by Francis Watkins, Senior (1723-1791)
1758-61 Agreement with John Dollond (1706–1761)
1758 Patent. 'A new invented Refracting Telescope, by which Objects are seen much clearer and distincter than by any before made, the Object Glass being made of Mediums of different refractive Qualities are so adapted as to correct the Errors arising from the different Refrangibility of Light, as well as to those which proceed from the spherical Surfaces of the Glasses. These Telescopes, will therefore be found of infinite Advantage to the Publick in general, but more particularly to the Navy, where good refracting Telescopes are of the utmost Importance. To be had of Mr. Francis Watkins, Optician, at Charing Cross and of Mr. John Dollond, in Denmark Court in the Strand. Mr. Watkins has also Reflecting Telescopes of all Sizes, finished to the greatest Perfection.'
1808 Listed as 'J. Watkins, optician, 5 Charing Cross.'
1810 William Hill ( -1847), an employee, ran the business
1857 Company taken over by Elliott Brothers
1858 The premises at 5 Charing Cross are put up to lease by Elliot Brothers as the business is moving to new premises in the Strand. '...No. 5, Charing cross, consisting of a handsome double fronted shop with counting house and workshops in the rear, with back entrance, and three floors over; also, of the three floors of chambers or offices, with separate entrance in Charing cross. The premises are of the estimated value of £400 per annulas, and are held at the yearly rent of £215 for a term of 21 years from Christmas day, 1852...'