Mappin & Webb

Mappin & Webb
Mappin & Webb on Regent Street in London (2011)

Mappin & Webb is a company originally founded in Sheffield, England. The company is a noted firm of Silversmiths and formerly cutlery manufactures with roots back to 1774 when Joseph Mappin (snr) founded the firm. The company is now a retail jeweller, and Royal Warrant holder.


Arundel & Mappin

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

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 knighted in 1886, Sir Frederick Mappin, 1st Baronet. When he died in 1910 he left nearly £1 million.

Mappin & Webb

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 to both 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]

Modern day firm

The firm was taken over by Asprey & Co. in the 1980s, but was sold later. The company is now a brand owned by the Jewellers Goldsmiths group.[2]


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External links

Media related to Mappin & Webb at Wikimedia Commons

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