J.B. GAYNAN & SON
J.B. Gaynan & Son is the longest established retail shop in Ledbury. We opened on 1st February 1947 and yes, it was that really bad winter, when there was still snow on top of the British Camp on the 1st June!
We are still a family run, independent jewellers that stock a large selection of silver and gold jewellery, fine china, silverware, crystal, clocks and watches. We offer a FREE GIFT WRAPPING service and wherever possible FREE ENGRAVING on any gifts purchased from us .Our jewellery repairs are carried out on site in our own workshop and we have a valuation service, next day restringing and glass and metal engraving service.
The shop has been a jewellers since 1890 when it belonged to Charles Lucas Berkeley and subsequently passed onto his son Lucas Berkeley up until 1947. Prior to 1890, it was a bakery and only 10 years ago we discovered an old bread branding iron in the cellar!
My grandfather James Bernard Gaynan together with my Great Uncle Roly Dudfield bought the shop off Lucas Berkeley in 1947 and they opened the shop on the 1st February. What a year! Well it snowed and it snowed and it snowed. Children in the town never went to school for weeks. The town traders had to clear the pavements. The snow was piled high up on the kerbside and alleyways were cut through to enable people to cross to the other side of the road.
The milkman, Mr Bill from Wellington Heath delivered the milk by pony and sleigh. My grandmother went out into the street with a large jug and the milk was ladled out from a large churn.
A Midland Red bus got stuck going up the British Camp, Malvern and was fast covered with snow and had to be abandoned. It wasn't found for several weeks! Of course, when the thaw eventually came, serious flooding was the next problem. However, the British Camp was still white with snow on the first day of June.
After a very difficult start, what with being only 2 years after the end of war, business eventually started to pick up. Some of our stock had a 90% purchase tax on it. Luxury items were extremely difficult to get hold of and some of our watches came into the country via `the back door`. Those watches were called `Cods Head Watches`, naturally customs and excise made frequent checks.
Very slowly, the shop prospered and in 1950 Dudfield & Gaynan expanded by buying another shop in Tar porley, Cheshire. The 2 partners ran the 2 shops between them. My father used to go to Tarporley to help with the clock repairs 1 day a week. He used to ride around on his bicycle winding up the clocks at the many stately homes in and around the area. However, in 1960 the partnership split and the Ledbury shop was renamed to my grandfathers name J.B. Gaynan & Son. Roly Dudfield had decided to sell up in Tarporley and moved to Hereford and opened up shop in St. Owens St, called Dudfields (Silversmiths) Ltd. This is where my father joined him making silver giftware and they exported a lot of beautiful pieces to America.
My grandfather James Bernard Gaynan passed away in 1977 and so my father then stepped in and helped his mother Eve Gaynan carry on the running of the shop. For myself, I decided to join the family business in 1987 and the shop has been going from strength to strength. We all worked together extremely well. Sadly in 2011 my grandmother passed away at the grand old age of 98 and only 3 years later quite unexpectedly my father passed away too. I felt like the rug had been pulled from under my feet! So now its just me running the shop, manufacturing, repairing and retailing, a lot of work, but its in my blood! I`m both happy and proud to say that my hobby is also my job.
Directions: Park in High Street or Bye Street car park, town centre. We're on the left hand side 100m from the clock tower.
TUESDAY to SATURDAY
9.00am until 4.00pm.
SUNDAY & MONDAY CLOSED.