OLLIVANT & BOTSFORD, GOLDSMITHS AND JEWELLERS,
12 & 14, ST. ANN’S STREET, MANCHESTER.
This eminent house is one of the oldest and most notable concerns engaged in the goldsmith’s and jeweller’s trade in Manchester. There is evidence to show that the business was in existence over a hundred years ago, and it was at that time (and until within the last few years) carried on in a well-known block at the comer of Exchange Street and St. Mary’s Gate. Those premises have since been taken down to make way for new buildings, but their long association with the local history of this neighbourhood secured for them an article in “Manchester Faces and Places,” May 10th, 1890. That interesting journal advanced a good deal of information regarding the locality of Exchange Street, and referred especially to the disappearance of Messrs. Ollivant & Botsford’s attractive shop, that firm having lately moved to their present premises in St. Ann Street. From the same source we learn that Mr. John Ollivant, one of the originators of this firm, “was one of the deputy treasurers, along. with Mr. Benjamin Joule, father of the late Dr. Joule, the eminent scientist, of St. Mary’s Hospital, established in 1709.” He was also one of the committee of the Manchester Eye Institution (established 1815), and a subscriber to the Manchester Auxiliary of the British and Foreign Bible Society. Mr. Ollivant was greatly respected in Manchester for his liberality and philanthropy. He died in 1868, and for about twelve years subsequent to that date the business of which he had been the guiding spirit was continued under the old style by the late Mr. J. W. Botsford. The latter gentleman, who also became a very prominent and esteemed member of the business community in Manchester, died in 1881, and the house then passed into the hands of his son, Mr. J. W. Botsford, who was joined two years ago by his brother, Mr. C. W. Botsford. These two gentlemen constitute the present firm, but the old title of Ollivant & Botsford is still retained.
From the first this historic firm have been high-class silversmiths, and the business is continued upon the same lines by the present principals. The premises now occupied in St. Ann Street afford increased facility for the development of a superior trade, and whatever may be lacking in historical interest is more than compensated by the many other advantages of the situation. The large and elegantly appointed showrooms (all the fittings of which are completed in the most costly and elaborate style), have six fine windows facing St. Ann Street and Police Street, and form one of the most commodious and attractive establishments of the kind in the city. Here the firm hold exceedingly large and valuable stocks of gold and silver plate, high-class jewellery, and diamonds and other gems in great variety, and we have never seen anything finer in its way than the rich assortment of toilet and fancy goods in gold and silver, and elegantly designed dinner and tea sets and general table ware, exhibited in these interesting showrooms. The firm have a most noteworthy speciality in high-class fans, painted by well-known artists, and displaying exquisitely beautiful workmanship. The designs painted on these goods are all signed by the respective artists, and each fan is a splendid work of art.
Messrs. Ollivant & Botsford hold the largest stock of hand-painted fans of this class in the north of England, and are among the very few northern firms who have any extensive dealings in these beautiful and fashionable goods. All branches of the goldsmith’s, silversmith’s, and jeweller’s trades are fully exemplified by this well-known firm on their own premises, and the shop, showrooms, workrooms — in fact the whole establishment — is illumined by the electric light, which adds greatly to its rich and attractive appearance. The power for this light is generated by an engine and dynamos on the premises, and we believe that Messrs. Ollivant & Botsford are the only firm of jewellers in Manchester who have the entire plant of an electric light installation on their own premises. All the affairs of this notable business are administered by the principals with conspicuous ability and enterprise, and the firm enjoy the support and confidence of a large circle of distinguished patrons. Their house is, par excellence, the leading one in its line in this part of England, and the entire establishment, both in appearance, stock, and general organization, is one of the finest we have had the pleasure of visiting in any quarter of the United Kingdom.
Source: Progress - Commerce - 1892