End of an era as jeweller Bert dies aged 90

Bert Humberstone
Bert Humberstone

The area has lost one of its last self-made post-war businessmen with the death of jeweller Mr Herbert Arthur “Bert” Humberstone at the age of 90.

Mr Humberstone started his business repairing watches and clocks in Leeds Road, Nelson, in the late 1940s after serving in the Royal Navy.

Son Rex said: “In the post-war years, no-one could afford new watches so my father set up his first shop repairing them.

He worked hard from 8am to 8pm every day and built up the business until there were five shops.”

One of the shops was in the new showpiece Arndale Centre at Nelson in the late 1960s, and others were at Burnley, Blackburn, Accrington and Keighley.

The firm is still a family business, run by sons Colin and Mark, with a Humberstones showroom in Gisburn Road, Barrowford, and Pandora franchises in seven other towns.

Mr Humberstone, who lived at Ing Dene, Colne, retired from the business at 65 and continued repairing timepieces for friends and family as a hobby.

He was a long-serving official of Nelson Rotary Club, in charge of finances and active in raising money for Rotary charities, and was still serving as secretary when the club, latterly amalgamated with Brierfield and Reedley, folded in 2013 due to falling membership.

Married twice, to Connie and Vera, Mr Humberstone had spent his latter years caring for companion Dorothy Brooks.

He had been in good health, but died at Airedale Hospital after a heart attack.

Mr Humberstone leaves sons Rex, Colin and Mark and daughter Shelley.

The funeral was held on Monday at Skipton Crematorium, and the family requested donations instead of flowers for Pendleside Hospice, c/o L. Champ Funeral Service, Bank House, Whalley Rd, Clayton-le-Moors, BB5 5DY.