Industry / Retail

Britain’s Oldest Jeweler Shuts Its Doors


Martin Wilkinson Jewellers Mansfield, said to be the oldest independent jeweler in Great Britain, is closing after nearly 230 years.

The shop opened in 1794 and changed its name after Martin Wilkinson bought the store in the early 1800s. During World War II, it became known for watches for fighter pilots.

Current owner Andrew Campin, whose family has owned the business for the past 90 years, told the BBC that he wanted to retire, and his three children were not interested in taking over the store.

“It’s a combination of things that made me think that now is the right time to go,” Campin said. “Particularly as I have a number eight at the beginning of my age now.

“Will I be upset when it closes?” he asked. “I do think it will hit me harder when it has actually happened.… I love meeting the public, and I’ve made some lovely friends on the way. I hope I’ve been able to put a smile on people’s faces over the years.”

The Nottingham Post reported that locals were lined up around the block for the store’s 50% off closing sale.

“It is quite a big queue that has formed,” said one. “It is obviously going to be sad for the town when it finally closes.”

In 2010, an even older British jeweler, Parsons the Jewellers, founded in 1710, couldn’t find a buyer and was forced to close.

A similarly named jeweler, Martin Wilkinson in Newark, has written on its Facebook page that it is a “separate business” and is not closing.

Photo courtesy of Martin Wilkinson Jewellers

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By: Rob Bates

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