OLD PLYMOUTH . UK
www.oldplymouth.uk
 

  Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: October 30, 2017.
Webpage updated: October 30, 2017

        

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BOWDEN AND SONS LIMITED

MMessrs Bowden & Sons Ltd, jewellers, was located at 72 George Street, Plymouth, before the Second World War and at 32 Royal Parade thereafter.

A view of the frontage of Bowden & Sons Ltd on Royal Parade, Plymouth.

A view of the frontage of Bowden & Sons Ltd on Royal Parade, Plymouth, July 1959.
Mr Robin Juste, Bowden & Sons Ltd

In 1869 Mr Frederick Bowden, confectioner and baker of Totnes, Devon, bought the watch making business at number 9 George Street, Plymouth, that had been founded by Mr Jabez Shepheard back in 1837.  But he did not want the business for himself: it was for his son, Mr Frederick Edmund Bowden, and his new wife, formerly Miss Hannah Moon.  The young Frederick had been educated at Totnes and Torquay and apprenticed to Mr Goulding, jeweller, in Plymouth.

Over the years that followed, the couple had three sons and two daughters.  By 1901 two of the sons, Mr Arthur Henry Bowden and Mr Sydney Edmund Bowden, had joined their father in his jewellers and watch making business but the third son, Mr Frederick Edgar Bowden had become articled clerk to a solicitor.

A move to larger premises at number 72 George Street came in 1903.

Mr Frederick Ponsford Bowden, only son of Mr Arthur Henry Bowden, was born in 1905 and he joined the family business in 1922.

Mr Frederick Edmund Bowden died early on the morning of Monday February 1st 1926 at his home, "South View", Mannamead, Plymouth.  He was 81 years of age.  During his life he had been a trustee of Plymouth's Homoeopathic Hospital, a keen photographer and a founder of the Plymouth Pedestrian Club.

Mr Frederick Ponsford Bowden married Miss Florence D Brooks, daughter of Mr J J Brooks, of Mutley, on Wednesday June 11th 1930 at Sherwell Congregational Chapel and Frederick Anthony Bowden was born in 1932.

During the terrible blitz of March 1941 their premises at 72 George Street were destroyed.  They lost the stock that was on display in the shop but some of the damaged or discoloured stock that they managed to salvage was later sold as souvenirs of the War.  The strong room, down in the basement, took three weeks to cool down sufficiently to enable them, with the help of the army, to recover its valuable contents.  This was moved to new premises on Mutley Plain.

In 1951 they moved again, to larger premises at 62 Mutley Plain.

The sudden death on September 6th 1958 of 58-years-old Mr Sydney T Solomon, the managing director of Messrs Levy & Sloggett Ltd, the jewellers and pawnbrokers  [4], brought about an opportunity to return to the City Centre.  Founded in 1812, their shop at 190/191 Union Street, Plymouth, had ended up in the middle of Derry's Cross roundabout during the reconstruction of the City Centre.  They had moved to number 32 Royal Parade by 1953.  Shortly after Mr Solomon's death, at the age of just 57, Bowden's were approached to purchase all the shares in the business.  That part of the deal fell through and Messrs Levy & Sloggett Ltd were wound up in February 1959.

An interior view of the Bowden & Sons Ltd premises in Royal Parade, Plymouth.

An interior view of the Bowden & Sons Ltd premises in Royal Parade, Plymouth, July 1959.
Mr Robin Juste, Bowden & Sons Ltd

Mr Robin Juste attends to a customer at Bowden & Sons Ltd, Plymouth, 1960.

Mr Robin Juste attends to a customer at Bowden & Sons Ltd, 1960.
  Mr Robin Juste, Bowden & Sons Ltd

Bowden's closed their shop on Mutley Plain on February 7th 1959 and re-opened at 32 Royal Parade as "Messrs Bowden & Sons Ltd, incorporating Levy and Sloggett".

The business was still family run, with Mr Frederick Ponsonby Bowden in charge and Mr Frederick Anthony Bowden and Miss Janet Bowden, also attending to customers.  They were joined by the former manager of Messrs Levy & Sloggett Ltd, Mr Aubrey Bowden, but he was no relation to the family.

When Mr Frederick Anthony Bowden retired in 1989 the business was taken over by Messrs Michael Spiers (Jewellers) Ltd, of Plymouth.

 

With acknowledgement to Mr Keith White, managing director of Messrs Michael Spiers (Jewellers) Limited, 2009.