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Mappin & Webb is a true British treasure with over 241 years of tradition and historical significance in the world of silver and jewellery. Renowned for combining timeless craftsmanship with superior quality and contemporary design, for over two centuries we have produced exquisite jewellery, elegant silverware, watches, glassware and the unique lifestyle accessories that have long been at the heart of affluent British society.
It's a story that began in 1775, when Jonathan Mappin opened a silver workshop in Sheffield with a vision to create the most beautifully crafted silverware. It would see the company expand internationally, receive royal warrants and commissions from Monarchs around the world, and become synonymous with excellence, craftsmanship and all things truly greatly British.
Illustrious clients throughout the decades include Queen of France Marie Antoinette, the last Czar of Russia Nicholas II, Winston Churchill, Charles Dickens, Harry Houdini and Grace Kelly. Part celebration, part exploration, it is a renewed expression of the spirit of discovery that has driven Mappin & Webb for the last two centuries.
THE EARLY YEARS - A FAMILY PARTNERSHIP
Within a year the first Mappin hallmark was recorded at the assay office and in 1780 Jonathan Mappin was given the Freedom of the Cutlers Company.
The 'Cutlers Company of Hallamshire', to give it its full title, was incorporated in 1624 to provide jurisdiction over those making cutlery near Sheffield and to promote Sheffield as a place of expertise. The Company and Sheffield's cutlery trade and reputation still exist to this day.
Jonathan Mappin's son Joseph followed him into the business and was also a Freeman, then came his grandson, also called Joseph. But it was under his four great grandsons, who incorporated the business as Mappin Brothers Ltd, in the middle of the 19th Century that the significant expansion began - at the time, the youngest brother, Jonathan Newton Mappin, was only 14 years old.
In 1849, Joseph Mappin opened his first eponymous London showroom at 15 Fore Street; shortly afterwards the eldest brother was knighted, becoming Sir William Mappin, but as the business grew the brothers each took a different path.
Sir William Mappin left in 1859, to become the senior partner at Thomas Turton & Sons' steel mill, and gave his share of Mappin Brothers to the other three. In 1860, John Mappin, the youngest but by now 22 years old, broke away from Mappin Brothers and started his own business Mappin & Company opening the first Mappin store in 1860 at 77-78 Oxford Street, London. John Mappin was joined in the new adventure two years later by his brother-in-law George Webb.
In 1864 Mappin, Webb & Co was formed, the very year that George Webb was to die. 'Mappin & Webb Ltd ' was first recorded in 1889, and at this stage the business was focused on manufacturing based in Sheffield.
Meanwhile Mappin Brothers Ltd had remained with the middle brothers, Joseph and Edward, and as the British Empire grew they had grown with it, with stores being opened worldwide. They were succeeded by Edward's son Charles Mappin who eventually sold the business in 1884. Over the next ten years the new owners seem to have struggled in finding a direction and eventually failed. In 1903, John Mappin acquired the original London retail business, Mappin Brothers, and from 1899, the Company was known as 'Mappin & Webb Ltd incorporating Mappin Brothers'. The double named business is evident in some of the old store photographs from this era which show both Mappins and Mappin & Webb names on shop exteriors.
ILLUSTRIOUS CLIENTS AND COMMISSIONS - DISCOVER OUR COMPLETE CHRONOLOGY
1898 - Mappin & Webb's acclaimed Campaign watch is supplied to troops at the battle of Omdurman. Advertised as 'Mappin's famed luminous Campaign watch...this fine wristlet watch was used in great numbers in a desert experience that was the severest test a watch could have. The battle of Omdurman in 1898, in which a young Winston Churchill participated, marked a turning point in the Mahdist War and proved the practicality of Mappin's Campaign watch, which was back in service very soon. Subsequently, during the last Boer War it renewed its high reputation for reliability under trying conditions.
1890 - Spearheaded four decades of expansion. The first overseas boutique was established in Johannesburg with the discovery of gold in the Witwaters Rand.
1904 - The Maharaja Raj Rama Bhawaur Singh was so taken with Mappin & Webb's exquisite silverware that he commissioned a complete silver bedroom service, including a four-poster bed, tables and chest of drawers, all lavishly decorated with cherubs. Displayed in the window of the Oxford Street boutique, it drew such a great crowd of curious onlookers that the police requested its removal in the interests of public safety.
1900 - Harry Houdini visited the Mappin & Webb Sheffield Factory.
1902 - 1910 Boutiques followed in Buenos Aires and Sao Paulo, Biarritz and Nice, Lausanne and Vichy, Paris and Rome, Hong Kong and Shanghai, Cairo and Bombay.
1911 - Started an enduring tradition of creating commemorative silver pieces for landmark Royal occasions.
1930 - Mappin & Webb creates a silver commemorative piece for Amy Johnson's solo flight from England to Australia.
The Wartime Years -
The First World War saw the company's Sheffield factories given over to the war effort, producing army clothing, munitions and fine waterproof watches for the Admiralty. With war came new avenues of business, equipping hotels, restaurants, clubs, military messes, shipping and railway companies all over the world.
The Second World War saw this activity recommence, while the Paris company was seized and the French staff forced to continue working in the shop and, rather ironically, serve a visiting Field Marshal Goering.
During the First World War, Mappin's Campaign watch was such a military must-have that the company offered a special service, delivering watches direct to the front line for just a shilling.
1952 - The Festival of Britain marked the long-awaited recovery from war and heralded a new era of optimism in the country. Several Mappin & Webb products were chosen for the exhibition as typically fine examples of British gold and silver craftsmanship.
1960 - Princess Grace shopped in the Edinburgh boutique.
The company's silverware also experienced a new golden age as Mappin & Webb was commissioned to supply tableware and cutlery to the QE2, as well as entire fleets of the world's leading cruise companies, and the capital's great hotels.
Mappin & Webb serviced Winston Churchill's pocket watches and produces solid gold ashtrays for his political office.
1970 - Royal Warrant Holders and Court Jeweller Carrington & Co (Established in 1834) is acquired by Mappin & Webb.
1977 - Mappin & Webb's first in-store branch opened in Selfridges in London. It featured a dazzling display of jewellery in excess of a quarter of a million pounds, a huge sum at the time, and the world's most expensive suite of luggage.
Mappin & Webb created limited-edition silverware for the Queen's silver jubilee, a souvenir goblet to mark the Queen Mother's 80th birthday, and a rose bowl for her 90th birthday.
1980 - Mappin & Webb continued to produce regimental centrepieces. Its past covert operations included finely detailed models of armoured fighting vehicles such as the FV101 Scorpion tank and the FV432 personnel carrier.
1994 - Mappin & Webb opened a boutique in Japan
2012 - The company's longstanding royal connection was further cemented by the appointment of Mappin & Webb's master craftsman in 2012, to the position of Crown Jeweller.The Crown Jeweller is the custodian of the Crown Jewels and is responsible for preparing them for the State opening of Parliament and other state occasions. The appointment of Mappin & Webb's craftsman to the role of Crown Jeweller is a great honour for this truly British brand.
2013 - Creative Director Elizabeth Galton and the design team begin reinventing Mappin & Webb's heritage in new and unexpected ways. With extraordinary jewels that reinterpret historic motifs from the company's archives, and make them relevant to a modern audience through contemporary designs.
2015 - A sterling silver statue of The Duke of Wellington is commissioned by the1st Battalion Grenadier Guards to commemorate Waterloo the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo.
2016 - A century after its first issue, Mappin & Webb reintroduces the legendary Campaign watch to honour the sacrifice of servicemen past and present. Faithful to the original, the star of the Campaign collection is undoubtedly the limited edition of just 100 timepieces that revive the early 20th century tradition of making wristwatches in silver cases, particularly resonant for Mappin & Webb, which traces its roots as a silversmith back to 1775.
A new flagship store re-opens at 132 Regent Street marking a new and exciting chapter in the brands history.
A NEW ERA
After a brief spell in the Asprey Garrard group, today the company forms part of the successful, privately owned retail group Aurum Holdings Ltd. The brand continues to be known for its classic silverware and as a stockist of luxury Swiss watch brands, but it is through its fine jewellery that a renaissance is being driven - elegant, quintessentially British and feminine, Mappin & Webb continues to be a luxury goods business that has global appeal 241 years after the imagination of one man set it on its path.
OUR ROYAL WARRANTS
Mappin & Webb's relationship with the Monarchy began in the late 19th Century and was formalised when Her Majesty Queen Victoria first granted a Royal Warrant to Mappin & Webb as silversmiths, in 1897, the year of Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee. Mappin & Webb has held a Royal Warrant as Silversmiths to each of the five subsequent sovereigns. Today the brand holds a
Royal Warrant as Jewellers, Goldsmiths and Silversmiths to Her Majesty The Queen and as Silversmiths to His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales.