From the 1880’s to 2018: A family business through three centuries and five generations
Engravers Guild of London, the personalised gift retailer, is set to go live on the Foxley Docket Emporium later this summer. Launched in 2016, it is a company with a short history… but with a very long heritage.
Engravers Guild of London was setup two years ago with the ambition to deliver a heightened personalised gift experience. From the expert engraving, to the custom gift card and the bespoke packaging, each touch-point of an Engravers Guild gift is designed to create a memorable occasion for the recipient upon opening.
Using the latest online tools and web-based technology, the customer is guided through a process which helps to customise their purchase and leave a little of their impression on the gift they are giving.
However, although the internet retailer is still young and looks to the future, it is a company that has a proud heritage.
Founded by Elliot Bishton, he is the fifth generation of a family that has been closely involved with the silver, jewellery and giftware industry for over 150 years.
Some of the earliest records show his Great Great Grandfather, Thomas Bishton, setting up a silver company during the 1880s in Birmingham’s historic Jewellery Quarter. He went on to build a business manufacturing silverware for not only the UK market but also for export across the Empire.
His son, Alfred Bishton, went on to be President of the British Jewellers’ Association, and managed the factories when they were requisitioned by the government for the production of munitions during two world wars.
In 1942, as the fighting in North Africa intensified, the story goes that the British Army was having enormous issue with shells not exploding upon impact… and the only ones that worked were manufactured with pins from Alfred’s factory.
As such, a top-brass British General was despatched to investigate further.
When he arrived at the factory, he was taken to the shop floor and led to the gentleman who made the pins. The General asked if he could be shown the techniques that were used in the pins’ precision engineering… at which point the gentleman picked up a rusty old hammer, and practically bludgeoned a piece of metal to death. Upon completion, it was proffered to the General, at which he exclaimed, “That’s the sort of welly that’ll win the war for us!”.
Come the 1950s, the business became one of the biggest producers of lighters and watch bracelets in the country, selling to many of the large jewellery houses of the time. And in the 1990s, under the fourth generation, the company took on a new life as Sovereign gold watches.
While Engravers Guild of London represents an entirely new start today, the spirit of its history is very much a part of it. Each item is individually finished, with many engraved on the original machines that have been used for decades.
Alongside these, the company has invested heavily in new and cutting-edge equipment, providing some of the most advanced engraving capability in the UK.
Unlike most personalised gift retailers, Engravers Guild does not take short cuts with the speed of laser machines. Instead, the company takes the time to finish each item with a traditional diamond tipped cutter, leaving a clean physical impression on the surface of the metal and creating a custom gift that will last for generations.
The attention to detail has been catching the eye of customers looking for a more skilfully engraved item, and earlier this year Marmite was keen to employ its services.
When the iconic brand was wanting to create a commemorative edition of their jar, they commissioned Engravers Guild to craft the most valuable Marmite jar ever made.
To fulfil the order, Engravers Guild recreated the iconic jar in plated 18 carat gold, and brought to life the famous logo in a unique engraving across the jar. The end result attracted attention from across the world, creating another little bit of history in the story of the Marmite brand.
The company believes that a gift is best when it tells a story. An engraving makes something intrinsically unique, it marks a moment in time and says as much about the giver as the recipient.
Gifts from Engravers Guild are designed to endure a lifetime and beyond. So, if you are looking for a present, do browse their collection and think about creating your own little story.