1983 - Company Search of J Blundell & Sons Limited

In February 1983 the Master, Wardens, Clerk & Beadle of the GSWDs exercised the Company's ancient right to enter into and search the premises of J. Blundell & Sons Limited - Chairman & Managing Director - Kenneth Blundell, a Liveryman of the Company.

J Blundell & Sons Limited was an old English family goldsmiths business started by John Blundell in 1839, after he had met and married Harriot Mary Hearn, whose parents owned a Gold Refiners in Hatton Garden.  Whether his business was just not big enough to support another member of the family, it was made abundantly clear to them both that there was no place for John Blundell in the Hearn family business.  On his marriage to Harriot, John set up home in a freehold property at 24 Dean Street, Soho.  This house had land on which there were outbuildings and it was from one of these outbuildings that he continued his trade of drawing gold, silver and platinum as well as refining preciouse metals.  His wife was the alchemist and it was her knowledge that made their refining and alloying so successful.  Dean Street in Soho was perfect as it was just over the stipulated one mile distance from his father-in-law's business and, therefore, no threat to Mr Hearn.  Years later John Blundell incorporated the Hearn business into his one.  John and Harriot had four boys and two girls.  On the birth of his first two sons, James John and Thomas George, John Blundell started to trade as John Blundell & Sons.  Leasehold premises were acquired at 162 Wardour Street, where the family lived and John carried on his business with the help of his two eldest sons.  The eldest of John's daughters, Emily Sarah, was born 1856, married into an American family called Perse and later lived in her father's house in Dean Street, inheriting it after his death.  

After Harriot's death in 1897, John used some of her money to build on the land, which is now 199 Wardour Street.  John's son, Thomas George had three sons, Thomas George, John Albert and Frederick Hearn.  Of those sons Thomas George became a stockbroker and served in the 1914-18 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. 

During both world wars 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 1930s 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 Ltd.

John Albert retired in 1944 after his son Thomas John was called up into the RAF in 1941 and one year later died whilst at the controls of a Tiger Moth.  Frederick Hearn, who was born in 1888, married in 1940 and had two children, Kenneth Frederick (GSWD Master in 2002) and Beryl Ann (married to Liveryman William P MacConnol).  Due to Frederick's age Kenneth was bought into the business in 1958 and made a director in 1966, after the birth of his first son, John.  Beryl was made a director six months later after the birth of her first son, Duncan.  Beryl and Kenneth's wife, Lesley, were persuaded to join the business in 1975.  Frederick died in 1981, aged 93, having retired only one year earlier.  Kenneth - alongside his wife and sister - continued to run the business until the end of 2003 when it was sold.