Mappin & Webb was formerly established in 1889 however it’s roots can be traced back to 1775 when Jonathan Mappin opened a silver smithing workshop in Sheffield. He recorded his makers mark with the assay office and in 1780 was granted the Freedom of the Cutlers Company. The business passed down from father to son to grandson until in the mid 18th Century when it was incorporated as Mappin Brothers Ltd by Jonathon’s four great grandsons - William, Edward, Joseph and John.
In 1859 the eldest brother William left the business and the following year the youngest, John, broke away to start his own firm Mappin & Company and opened a store on London’s Oxford Street. Two years later his brother-in-law George Webb joined the business and in 1864, shortly before George died, they re-styled the company Mappin, Webb & Co. The business was first recorded as Mappin & Webb Ltd in 1889 at which point the focus was still very much on the manufacturing of silverware based in Sheffield. Meanwhile Mappin Brothers Ltd had remained with the middle two brothers Joseph and Edward who had expanded and created a very successful business. They were succeeded by Edward’s son Charles who sold it in 1884 after which the company went in to decline and finally failed. It was eventually acquired by John Mappin who incorporated it into Mappin & Webb Ltd.
In 1897 Mappin & Webb received their first Royal Warrant from Queen Victoria and the following year saw the launch of their acclaimed Campaign watch which could withstand the harshest of conditions and was recently relaunched as a collection in 2016 to honour the sacrifice of servicemen past and present. The end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries saw a real focus on expansion with the first overseas boutique opening in Johannesburg after the discovery of gold in the Witwatersrand area. By 1910 there were stores in another twelve locations including Biarritz, Rome, Buenos Aires and Cairo.
The fine quality of the firm’s silverware attracted the attention of Royalty from Europe and beyond and was particularly popular with the Indian Maharajas, one of whom commissioned an entire bedroom suite in silver including a four-poster bed. They created many commemorative pieces for Royal occasions as well as important events such as Amy Johnson’s solo flight from England to Australia in 1930. They had several pieces chosen for exhibition at the Festival of Britain in 1952 and in 1960 they were asked to supply tableware and cutlery to the QE2.
Alongside their renowned silverware collections the firm was also making fine jewellery and in 1977 they opened an instore branch in Selfridges which they stocked with a quarter of a million pounds worth of jewels. In 2012 the company’s master craftsman was appointed the Crown Jeweller by Her Majesty the Queen and they currently hold warrants from both Her Majesty and the Prince of Wales. After a period of ownership by the Asprey Garrard Group the firm is today owned by the retail group Arum Holdings Ltd.