Hancocks was founded on the 1st January 1849 by Charles Frederick Hancock, previously a partner of Storr and Mortimer.
Despite many names documented, the "main players" were Charles Frederick and Mortimer Hancock, together with Horatio Stewart and Mr. H.J. Dore.
When C.F. Hancock retired in 1870 these three men formed a new partnership with C.F. Hancock Jr., renaming the firm Hancocks & Co. The division of profits for the next 14 years was set out in this partnership. Mortimer Hancock retired in 1883 and another partnership was formed between Messrs. Stewart and H.J. Dore that stood for just two years owing to Mr. Stewart’s retirement in 1885.
This left Mr. H.J. Dore as the sole partner and the only person who had been with the company since 1849.
On 10 February 1891 Charles Frederick Hancock died, bequeathing in various ways, the balance of profits owing to him from the previous partnerships. By now H.J. Dore's two sons - Alfred G and Henry H. Dore - were in the firm with him, and they formed yet another partnership to carry on the business. This renewed partnership deed dated 12 March 1895 shows an awesome financial burden. The Hancock family was owed in total the huge sum of £79,000. The partners agreed to repay this over the next nine years. Tragedy then struck the family. The most experienced, senior member, H.J. Dore, died of blood poisoning at the early age of 63 within eight months of the new business partnership being formed.
Undeterred by their loss, the two younger members of the Dore family, together with their mother as a "sleeping partner", not only managed to run the firm but also fulfilled all the terms of the Agreement.
On 12 December 1897 Mr Dore’s son was born. He became Mr. G.L. Dore and the last of the Dore family to join the firm.
In 1930 the Dore’s formed yet another partnership, this time with their uncle by marriage, a Mr. J.A. Bourne. It was these two men who steered the firm through the very difficult inter-war years during which time the firm became a Limited Liability company and its present title Hancocks & Company (Jewellers) Ltd. came into being. In 1935 Mr. Wixley joined the firm as a Director and he held the reins throughout World War II when Messrs Dore and Bourne were in the armed forces.
Following the war, Miss Willis joined the firm as a Director. Her ability as a gemmologist and dealer was largely responsible for the building of the jewellery aspect of the firm, which had until this time focused largely on silver.
The firm has come a long way since 1849 and is the last of the great London retailers formed in the 19th century still managed by its owners. Hancocks no longer has its own factory - the foundry was closed in 1897 - nor its own workshops or craftsmen. However, the firm continues to thrive under the leadership of Stephen Burton and his small team.
Charles Frederick Hancock
Harry Hancock Dore