The Nicholson Family of Cork Silversmiths

Members of the Nicholson family produced silver in Cork from to the middle of the eighteenth century to the middle of the nineteenth. Throughout that time, their names have been spelled with both the Nicholson and Nicolson variations.

John Nicholson I
John Nicholson (I), first mention in 1756 at 70, Grand Parade. He married Catherine Warner 12th March 1768 and was noted as starting a sword cutting business opposite Boland's Lane on the 5th January 1769. Appointed a Valuator of Holy Trinity parish 9th August 1783. Reg. at Dublin 1784. Noted at Castle Street in 1784 and 1787 (probably until 1791 when the Corporation demolished the last properties in Castle Street, of which John Nicholson's was one of the last to go.), and North Main Street in 1802. Robert Day in 1884 noted that John Nicholson owned the fields between the gasworks and the Bandon Railway, known as 'Nicholson's Fields'. His daughter, Margaret, married the Watchmaker Thomas Brooks, and his daughter, Catherine, married the Silversmith, Joseph Gibson.

John & Samuel
The partnership of John & Samuel Nicholson was noted for the period 1775 until 1797. John is thought to have been dead by 1805. No details have been found regarding Samuel life.

Joseph Nicholson, reg. at Dublin in 1784 from the corner of Parade and Patrick's Street, Cork, and in 1787 as a Goldsmith and Jeweller at 1, Grand Parade. Joseph Nicholson's mark is not known.

John Nicholson II
John Nicholson (II), is presumed to be the son of John Nicholson (I). He was noted as a Goldsmith and Jeweller in 1791 and 1794, as well as a Sword Cutler (as was John Nicholson I). His registration with the Dublin Goldsmiths Company occurred in 1802 from North Main Street, Cork. John's partnership with Nicholas Nicholson was noted for the period 1797 until 1824.

John & Nicholas

Nicholas Nicholson, noted as a Goldsmith, Jeweller, and Watchmaker, a son of John Nicholson, Silversmith of Grand Parade, mentioned in 1810, 1817, 1824, and 1828 at Grand Parade (No.70 in 1824). Married (1st) Elizabeth Whitney in February 1799, and (2nd) Brianna Smyth on the 23rd August 1806. Robert Day noted that Nicholas retired c.1830 and that he knew his widow, Brianna, saying that 'she was a friend of my mother's'. The partnership of John & Nicholas Nicholson was noted for the period 1797 until 1824.

Robert Day noted a watch paper: "N. Nicolson, watch and clock maker, No. 21 Grand Parade, Cork." Around the margin, "Elegant variety of jewellery, plated ware and hardware." No. 21 Grand Parade was the south corner shop of George's Street. He also mentions the following: "Also that of M(sic). Nicolson, who prior to 1809 was junior partner with his brother, John, the well-known silversmith".

The 1845 Cork Directory reveals no Nicholsons working in the trade.


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