The great and the good of London’s jewellery trade gathered last month in the Crypt of St Etheldreda’s Church in Ely Place for the launch of a brand-new book on the history of Hatton Garden.
It is very rare for so many people representing every aspect of the industry to be in one place: The Clerk of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, Sir David Reddaway, the Treasurer of the London Diamond Bourse, David Roffe, Alan Hart, CEO of Gem-A, and other prominent representatives from De Beers, Goldsmiths Centre, Society of Jewellery Historians, Institute of Professional Goldsmiths, National Association of Jewellers among others. In all there were over 70 guests.
Moreover, among the distinguished guests was Kurt Eichner, a survivor of the ‘Kinder Transport’ children who escaped Nazi Europe during the war, whose story is told in the book.
St Etheldreda’s was completed in 1290 and was a very appropriate setting for such an event. It was originally part of the Palace of the Bishops of Ely in whose garden, Hatton Garden was built. In early Elizabethan times Christopher Hatton occupied part of the palace and used the crypt as a tavern. Complaints were received from the worshippers upstairs that the singing from below was louder than theirs.
The book not only covers the history and geography of the area but features many of the stories of those who worked there. One chapter is devoted to extracts from sound recordings made in the 1980’s by Carole Parker while secretary of the IPG.
Vivian Watson says that the work, which was years in production, was never intended to be about profit. It is his legacy to the trade which he has enjoyed for well over 50 years.
A limited-edition collector’s hard back was produced for the occasion and retails at £70. It comes in a slip case and has a silver foil edge with bookmark. PJ Watson Ltd have a few remaining copies. The paperback version is available from the usual sources, including the bookshop of Gem-A.
Many said it was wonderful to re-connect with others in the trade after a very difficult two years.