Blundell's History & Heritage
An old English family goldsmiths business that has been in the industry for nearly 200 years.
The Early Years
Blundell set up shop from an outbuilding by his home at 24 Dean Street, Soho, London. With Dean Street being over the stipulated one-mile distance from his father-in-law’s business, he was seen as, lawfully, posing no threat to Mr. Hearn. Many years later, though, John Blundell incorporated the Hearn business into his own.Blundell set up shop from an outbuilding by his home at 24 Dean Street, Soho, London. With Dean Street being over the stipulated one-mile distance from his father-in-law’s business, he was seen as, lawfully, posing no threat to Mr. Hearn. Many years later, though, John Blundell incorporated the Hearn business into his own.
John Blundell changed his business trading name to J.Blundell & Sons when his two eldest sons, James John and Thomas George, became involved. By that time the family had moved to, and worked from, leasehold premises in 162 W ardour Street, London, which Blundell had bought in 1890 for 1780.0s.0d. After the death of his wife in 1897, John Blundell used some of her money to build on the land, which is now numbered 199 Wardour Street.
John Blundell died, at the age of 78, in 1904. His two eldest sons – James John and Thomas George – who had previously become formal business partners continued running the company. By that time, though, Thomas George had three sons of his own – Thomas George, John Albert and Frederick Hearn. Of those sons Thomas George became a stockbroker and served in the 1914-1918 war. He survived the war only to return home and fall victim to the post war flu epidemic, which killed over a quarter of a million people. John Albert and Frederick Hearn were excused active service because of their work for Blundell’s, which had become involved with the war effort.
The War Years
During both world wars the Blundell’s business was taken over by the Ministry of Defence to produce mercury oxide – a highly explosive substance that ignited detonators, and is still used today in the production of bullets. Blundell’s was, according to papers dating back to that time, already making this special oxide in May of 1939 in anticipation of the Second World War.
During the 1930’s Blundell’s purchased another jewellers, James Newell – which included all stock as well as the lease of the building, number 122 Wardour Street – and a silversmithing company called Charles Boyton Limited.
In 1940 Frederick Hearn married Blundell’s secretary, who he had been courting for eight years – since she’d joined the firm aged only 18. They produced Beryle and Ken Blundell, who were born in 1941 and 1943 respectively. John Albert retired in 1944 and Frederick Hearn bought him out of the business, thus becoming chairman. He made his wife a shareholder and director. His son, Ken, was brought into the business in 1958 and made a director in 1966. And his daughter, Beryle, was also made a director six months after that.
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