My 2x Great Grandfather was Robert H Mason, born in 1858 in Romsey, Hampshire to Robert Mason & Ann Pearce. He came from a reasonably poor family where the majority of his siblings and cousins either followed in the footsteps of their parents as Agricultural Labourers or moved to London and mostly became Cab/Coachmen. Robert however, at 22 years old in the 1881 Census was working as a "Philosophical Instrument Maker" in Lambeth, England. He is listed on my great grandmothers birth certificate as "Scientific Instrument Maker" as well as in a probate record for him. Maybe he showed some sort of aptitude for this sort of thing in his early years and was inducted into an apprenticeship?
He married Milly Bungay in 1883 and had two children, Elinor Kate (1884) and Madeline Annie (1886). He died in 1890 aged 32 of "Phthisis" or more likely T.B contracted in London.
I've contacted Lambeth Archives but never received a reply. I'll try again after writing this.
Perhaps there are apprenticeship records or similar guild records?
My question is: Where can I look for records relating to this profession and this man?/Can you find any other records of him relating to his time in work? And what kind of work would he have been likely to be doing at this time?
EDIT: I know he might have been a malnourished child and would probably have not fully matured so might not have been a very useful Labourer. This is a newspaper transcript of his fathers death, he was found dead in a river the younger brother mentioned by Henry Mason is Robert H Mason.
Probate record (Search Mason, 1890, on page 14/20 - Probate Search
1881 Census - FamilySearch Record