Mappin & Webb

Mappin & Webb on Regent Street in London (2011)

Mappin & Webb is a jewellery company headquartered in the United Kingdom. Mappin & Webb traces its origins to a silver workshop founded in 1775. It now has retail stores in the UK. It has held Royal Warrants to British monarchs since 1897. The company's master craftsman Mark Appleby is the current Crown Jeweller of the United Kingdom.[1]

History

Mappin & Webb, Oxford Street

Mappin & Webb traces its origins to 1775, when Jonathan Mappin opened a silver workshop in Sheffield, then as now a major centre of the English silver trade. The business eventually became Mappin Brothers.[2]

One of Jonathan Mappin's great grandsons, John Mappin, started his own business in London, Mappin & Company, in 1860, which became Mappin, Webb & Co. in 1862 after John Mappin was joined by his brother-in-law George Webb. The first Mappin & Webb store opened in 1860 at 77–78 Oxford Street, London and the company’s candelabras, fine silverware and vanity products swiftly gained renown. As a natural progression from silverware, Mappin & Webb began designing jewellery. Mappin, Webb & Co. acquired Mappin Brothers in 1903. However, shortly after it was subject to a hostile takeover (through shares) in the 1930s. Since then it has changed ownership many times.

Mappin & Webb expanded internationally beginning in the 1890s. Its first overseas store was established in Johannesburg and stores soon followed in Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, Biarritz, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Cairo and Bombay. However all international stores closed in the second half of the 20th century.[3]

Mappin & Webb has created jewellery for royalty both in the United Kingdom and internationally. Patrons have included Queen of France Marie-Antoinette, the Empress of Russia and Princess Grace of Monaco. The company historically held Royal Warrants to both the Russian Empire and the Japanese Royal Household. Queen Victoria was the first British monarch to commission Mappin & Webb. Victoria's Golden Jubilee necklace was created by the house in 1888 and was designated by the queen as an heirloom of the Crown. Mappin & Webb has held Royal Warrants in the UK since 1897. Today, Mappin & Webb holds warrants to both the Queen and the Prince of Wales. Mappin & Webb’s master craftsman Martin Swift was appointed in 2012 to the position of Crown Jeweller, the custodian of the British Crown Jewels who is responsible for preparing them for the State opening of Parliament and other state occasions.[4] Mark Appleby, also of Mappin & Webb, took over as crown jeweller in 2017.

The brand produced the original Ryder Cup trophy, and made trophies for the Royal Ascot horse races for 75 years.

Ownership

Mappin & Webb merged with Elkington and Walker & Hall in 1963, the merged company being named British Silverware Ltd. In 1973 Mappin & Webb was bought by Sears Holdings.[5] The company was eventually bought by Baugur, which became insolvent in 2010. After a brief spell in the Asprey Garrard group, the company now forms part of the retail group Watches of Switzerland, formerly Aurum Holdings. The company floated on the LSE in 2019. [6] [7] Mappin and Webb continues to produce silverware and jewellery collections, and is a retailer of luxury timepieces in its boutiques, including timepieces from Swiss watch houses Rolex, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Patek Philippe and Omega.

Bank branch

The Mappin & Webb building at Bank, pictured in 1993.

A branch of Mappin & Webb[8] once occupied a location in the City of London at the junction of Poultry and Queen Victoria Street, adjacent to Bank junction, in the City of London. Designed in the neo-gothic style by John Belcher in 1870, the listed building was demolished in 1994 to make way for the construction of a Postmodern office and retail building – No 1 Poultry – despite a fiercely fought campaign to save the 19th-century building.

Cultural references

In the Jules Dassin classic film noir Rififi, a gang execute a brilliant but ill-fated heist on a Mappin & Webb jewellry store in Paris.

References

  • The Sheffield Knife Book, by G. Tweedale, Hallamshire Press, ISBN 1-874718-11-3

External links

Media related to Mappin & Webb at Wikimedia Commons

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