Mappin & Webb

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Mappin & Webb on Regent Street in London (2011)

Mappin & Webb was founded in 1775 when Jonathan Mappin opened a Sheffield based silver workshop, with the mission to create the most beautifully crafted silverware for affluent English society.

Arundel & Mappin[edit]

The firm was started by Joseph Mappin, in 1810, with a partner, Mr Arundel. They registered a trademark a "Sun" in 1812 and were trading from premises in Norfolk street and Mulberry street. His eldest son Frederick Thorpe Mappin (1821-1910) joined at the age of 13 as an apprentice. He then ran the business following his father's death in 1841. His brothers Edward, Joseph Charles and John Newton joined the firm later. The business grew, taking over William Sampson & Sons in 1845 and he also bought a London shop, to sell direct, and later, in 1856, a warehouse. He expanded trade with overseas trips, and setting up agencies in markets such as Canada and Australia. The firm was renamed as 'Mappin Bros.' in 1851. By 1851, he became the youngest ever Master Cutler. By 1852, he opened a new factory on Flat Street, next door to Rodgers' Norfolk street works (now the site of the old Head Post Office), but after a dispute, in 1859, with his younger brother, he left the firm, which later became part of Mappin and Webb.

Frederick Mappin[edit]

Casa Mappin & Webb in Buenos Aires around 1910

Frederick Mappin then became a partner in the Thos. Turton & Sons steelworks and implemented mechanisation of the processes, despite a strike by employees. He became a successful industrialist and later a politician. In 1854 he was elected to Sheffield Town Council as a Liberal, stepping down in 1857. In the 1860s, Mappin became a director of the Sheffield Gas and Light Company, and of the Midland Railway. In 1885 he supported the formation of the University of Sheffield, and was created its first Pro-Chancellor. The University's Sir Frederick Mappin Building is named after him. He was made a baronet in 1886. When he died in 1910 he left nearly £1 million.

Mappin & Webb building on Poultry in London, one year before it was demolished in 1994

John Newton Mappin started an electroplating and cutlery firm which by 1868 was called Mappin & Webb. The firm was started with his brother-in-law George Webb. The firm prospered but the old family firm of Mappin Bros. had started to decline, as by 1863 the firm was reported as only employing 200 in a local trade review. By the 1880s the Mappin Bros. firm had been sold to a Belfast jeweller, and then sold to Goldsmiths & Silversmiths Co. of London. But in contrast Mappin and Webb run by Newton Mappin was thriving with a large showroom on Norfolk street, displaying the Silverware and electroplate. By 1897 the company was granted a Royal Warrant. Today Mappin & Webb is silversmith both to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and to the Prince of Wales Prince Charles. In 1899 the Sculptor Charles Sargeant Jagger was apprenticed to the firm as a metal engraver. Newton Mappin bought the family firm back in 1903.

The company's premises at No 1 Poultry in London were famously demolished in 1994 by developer Peter Palumbo. It was replaced by a controversial building designed by architect James Stirling.[1]

International Development and Modern Times[edit]

The first Mappin & Webb store opened in 1860 at 77-78 Oxford Street, London and with this the company’s candelabras, lifestyle, fine silverware and vanity products fast gained renown. The 1890s then spearheaded four decades of expansion for the brand.

Mappin & Webb’s first overseas store was established in Johannesburg and stores soon followed in Buenos Aires and Sao Paulo, Biarritz, Hong Kong and Shanghai, Cairo and Bombay.

After a brief spell in the Asprey Garrard group, today the company forms part of the successful retail group Aurum Holdings.[2] It continues to be known worldwide for its classic silverware, elegant fine jewellery collections and as a retailer of luxury timepieces. Mappin & Webb boutiques offer timepieces from some of the most prestigious Swiss watch houses, including Rolex, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Patek Philippe and Omega to name but a few.

The brand also has a strong sporting heritage: it produced the original Ryder Cup and created trophies for the Royal Ascot for 75 years.

Today, the brand continues to serve the British Royal Households, military and other great British institutions with commemorative silver items, in a long-standing tradition to the Monarchy.


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External links[edit]

Media related to Mappin & Webb at Wikimedia Commons