BLACKBURN’S oldest retailer, Ainsworth Jewellers, is celebrating its a hundred and fiftieth anniversary.
Based by Joseph Ainsworth in October 1870 the jewellers is the oldest surviving retail enterprise in Blackburn and has been based mostly at its current Darwen Road location for greater than 50 years.
The household business has survived via two world wars, below completely different six monarchs and 36 Prime Ministers. It was established when Queen Victoria was on the throne and William Ewart Gladstone led the nation.
J Ainsworth Jewellers & Clockmakers, because it was referred to as, was established at No 9a Darwen Road – earlier than relocating additional right down to No 71. It moved throughout to Northgate in 1885 after which additional outlets have been purchased by the household at 74 King William Road and 48 Market Place.
Following his demise, Joseph’s three sons, James, George and Arnold, continued to develop the enterprise earlier than combining and transferring to 50 Market Place. In 1965, as the primary procuring centre was being constructed, the enterprise moved to 57 – 59 Darwen Road and has remained on this stretch of highway ever since.
It’s now headed by Phil Ainsworth, the good, nice grandson of Joseph and nice grandson of George. Phil began working on the Darwen Road retailer in 1990 and stated it was fantastic to be celebrating the a hundred and fiftieth anniversary.
He stated: “We want to thank the folks of Blackburn and Darwen on behalf all our generations all through the previous 150 years. It’s via their assist we’re nonetheless right here.”
Phil started documenting the historical past of the shop within the nineties and a museum on the store which the general public can view, incorporates a vary of artefacts salvaged from the Market Place outlets and donated by clients. It additionally consists of Joseph’s spectacles-case and an authentic pocket watch from 1895.
Joseph and sons, James, Arnold and George. With Edith (James spouse) and Jane (Joseph’s spouse) (Ainsworth Jewellers)
Phil stated: “We didn’t know this, however as we regarded via our historical past we discovered that the Ainsworth retailer was, amongst different issues, liable for designing the clock face of the greenhouse at Company Park in 1900.
“We additionally discovered that between 1907 and 1927 Ainsworth produced the FA Cup medals for the Football Affiliation.”
Ainsworth Jewellers is one in every of three companies based mostly on Darwen Road whose historical past dates again greater than 100 years. The others are Edmondson’s, which was based in 1898, and Wm Hobkirk & Son, established in 1903 by Mr William Hobkirk, who initially traded from Salford, Blackburn.
Regardless of deep recessions and financial uncertainty, Ainsworth’s has remained a continuing pressure within the city. Phil stated: “In addition to celebrating the previous, we’ve began to look to the long run. After all we’re having to develop and alter the enterprise mannequin and I feel that has what has set us aside.
“We have been closed for 13 weeks, like many different outlets within the spring. However, surprisingly, since we re-opened issues have been busy. Lots of people have been popping out and supporting us after the lockdown.
“Individuals nonetheless like to the touch and really feel the product and it has been good to have the ability to help these searching for that good piece of jewelry. It may well imply a lot for households and family members.”
In what has been a testing yr Phil informed how they helped to laser-engrave a marriage picture onto a signet ring for a person who had misplaced his spouse to coronavirus.
“It was fantastic to be serving to to re-create such a big second for somebody via our service,” he stated.
Phil and Helen within the Ainsworth Jewellers Museum
Phil’s fiancée Helen Dimmick, an skilled jewelry marketing consultant, has relocated her enterprise to Darwen Road and is now based mostly on the Ainsworth retailer. She is working in partnership with the model.
Helen stated: “The facet that units jewelry aside is that individuals nonetheless have an emotional connection to the piece that they buy.
“Jewelry nonetheless, I really feel, has a significant relevance in folks’s lives it doesn’t matter what else is happening on the earth.”
Helen revealed how Ainsworth Jewellers was now hoping to encourage the subsequent era.
She stated: “We’re working with Blackburn School on our Pure Jewels assortment, and asking college students to design their very own jewelry.”
The previous 150 years has seen many momentous occasions and events.
Phil stated: “In all probability probably the most testing time for the shop was the Second World Warfare. My grandfather was additionally within the RAF so it was a time of nice upheaval.
“I’d say the city and its folks have seen many ups and downs and we’ve come via it via perseverance and group. And we’ll accomplish that once more.”
DID YOU KNOW? AINSWORTH JEWELLERS FACTS
Founder Joseph Ainsworth was an apprentice of John Welch Jewellers based mostly in King William Road.
The primary Ainsworth Retailer was truly based mostly in entrance of Blackburn Cathedral at 9a Darwen Road
On Joseph Ainsworth’s demise in 1934, the three sons entered into partnership and continued the Northgate and Market Place companies.
The Market Place store was situated the place the Sport retailer now sits reverse NatWest.
George Ainsworth grew to become one of many first members of the Blackburn and District Department of the Nationwide Affiliation of Goldsmiths, and was ultimately elected president and served on the committee for a number of years.
In the course of the warfare, inventory grew to become exhausting to return by every window was lined over with brown paper.
In 1946, Miss F Openshaw began work and went on to turn into Ainsworth Jewellers longest serving member of workers. She continued to work for Ainsworth up till 1988!
When the store opened at 57 – 59 Darwen Road in 1965 the long-lasting Blackburn city corridor clock was demolished and the re-development of Blackburn City Centre began.
In 1995, the agency grew to become a founding member of the On-line Appraiser Jewelry Valuation Service which remains to be used for all valuations.
In 2015, Ainsworth Jewellers celebrated 50 years on Darwen Road.
In 2017, the agency hosted a £395,000 refurbishment sale. This was to allow the continuing refurbishment and enchancment of the shop right here on Darwen Road which is in proof immediately.