The Shop's History
The shop was erected during the reign of Charles II (1660-85)
as a timber-framed building - made from oak which hardens with
time, the building will last for many more years.
None of the shops in our block have a chimney, so they were
probably built as workshops, however until the 19th century some
Welsh houses lacked chimneys, so we can't be certain.
During the 19th Century, all 5 workshops were converted into
shops. I suspect staircases were added to both end properties at this time, so
they could use the loft space, also dormer windows were installed.
Our shop uses its own 1st floor space. The other end shop
accessed all the other lofts. It was a tearoom and I believe used
all the loft space for its business. The 1865 Ordnance Survey map
clearly shows the buildings have the same general floorplan as
today, although there were more workshops behind them.
The family which then owned the whole block are still our
The conversion into shops was rather whimsical. Dormer windows
were installed, then guttering was placed in front of them, so
they couldn't be opened! Also enough nooks and crannies were
provided to encourage a population explosion in the town's
About 1910 our shop was altered and became a jewellers (alterations were mainly to install a safe,
and shopfittings). It was
originally owned by Mr Francis, who passed it over to Mr Mawdsley
around 1940, who remained the tenant until 1985, when he finally
decided to retire at the ripe old age of 82. After enjoying some
years of healthy retirement, his health finally failed him, and
he died in January 1997.
By the time the shop was ours, the whole block was very
dilapidated, as none of the tenants had maintained the property. I still remember the day a slate
fell off the roof straight onto a passing police car!
Eventually the shops were renovated. Ours posed an interesting
problem, because the safe had been installed and the
building's brickwork altered afterwards - so it was
impossible to move the safe, and all the work had to done around
it. Our shop still has plenty of character, which means walls and
ceilings are uneven! We have an oak beam across the ceiling, and
exposed beams in our workshop.
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Chester Street, our shop in the foreground. Built in the 17th
Century, converted into shops in the 19th and modernised in the
20th Century. They still look similar to the original workshops,
and are small compared to the later buildings around them.
Inside our shop, a 300 year old beam shows the building's
age, while 21st Century shopfittings demonstrate our commitment
to the future.
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First and foremost to earn a living!
We were fortunate to get this shop. We learnt that Mr Mawdsley
was retiring, We could see the shop's potential, and agreed
to buy the remnants of his stock, along with the fixtures.
love jewellery and gemstones, as you'll see from the pictures
I've included in these webpages. So we get a lot of pleasure out of running the business.
I've always found computers fascinating, and this interest
has proved useful in the shop. I have written software (based on
Microsoft Access) to run the shop. The original
application was for stock control, but I have since extended
the system to handle both repairs and pawbroking, as well as the
Unlike many self-employed people, we do believe in enjoying life
and taking time off. Our main interest is traveling. We have
visited Brazil, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Thailand,
Malaysia, Zimbabwe, USA as well as other places.
Being self-employed makes it easier to take long holidays. I don't
have to ask the boss's permission before I go. Actually I do
have to make sure it's OK with the staff, but you can't
have everything. To get a decent holiday we like to take 5 weeks
or more at a time, plus a couple of days to allow for the flight,
and not all employers are that understanding. Also if we get back
exhausted, well nobody can tell us off.
I can even find excuses for my travels. Travel keeps us alert to
new ideas, and gives us plenty to discuss with our
customers. Finally it ensures the staff can run the shop
in our absence, and as there's always the risk we could be
ill, or involved in an accident, I think that's
important. I hope it also makes us more considerate as employers,
because we understand staff (like us) do consider their personal life more important than their work.
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Our business is growing steadily. Yes the Internet is
affecting all of us. We use it as a great source of knowledge,
and for buying and selling, as well as personal purchases. It's
going to affect retail trade, so we're aiming in our real shop to target areas
which will be least affected, where personal service
is a must.
Pawnbroking must remain a personal service, and that's a good
area for growth.
In the past, most shops were really workshops, where goods were
prepared for sale. Jewellers maintain that tradition. Many
repairs are sent to contractors, but some are still done on our
We opened our online store in 2014 to enable us to sell all over the country. Local customers
enjoy browsing online, and can come into the shop to see the jewellery, and make a final decision. So we
offer our customers the best of both worlds!
Our second-hand sales are growing fast and most of that stock is
reconditioned in our workshop. While the Internet competes, we
find many want to see and try on jewellery (especially if
it's second-hand) before buying. So traditional shops have an
advantage here. Finally as more people make routine purchases on
the Internet, their reason for visiting towns is changing. They
come for a pleasant experience, and buying jewellery is part of
the pleasure. We expect to continue to grow.
Like many in our trade, buying old jewellery has become very important, and again an area where
customers want personal service. But as we love jewellery we do try to resell as much as
possible; more of our profits come from selling jewellery than scrap.
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