A Webster & Co were originally stationers who absorbed several other businesses including the one owned by Harding & Co, the name displayed on the window of their shop. They were described as dealers in silver and fancy goods. It is not known if they did business directly with Goldsmiths Hall to require registering a mark.
As A Webster & Co (Piccadilly) Ltd they were taken over by Frank Smythson Ltd in 1963. This company, originated by Frank Smythson himself in 1887, is still in business in Bond Street, The Royal Exchange and Sloane Street, London.
Jenner & Knewstub shown in the other window was managed in 1856 by Frederick Jenner and Fabian J Knewstub at 33 St James Street, London SW. They opened another shop at 66 Jermyn Street in 1866.
Advertisements show the shops were something of fancy goods emporia selling everything from albums, boxes, clocks, dressing cases, enamels, fans, gold, handbags, inkstands, jewellery, leather goods, moresques, Norwegian belts, ornamental novelty appendages, Porcupine (The Fretful), quartz goods, ruby rings, silverware, travelling bags, umbrellas, vesta cases, writing cases, to other novelties and elegances probably beginning with the letters k, x, y and z which the advertisements do not directly mention.
Jenner & Knewstub entered marks at Goldsmiths Hall in 1874 and 1877 both comprising FJ over FK in a square shape; there was a pellet after each letter F.
The proprietors in Jenner and Knewstub had been joined by Charles L Faber by 1886. After Faber had retired, possibly after The Fretful Porcupine had found a new home, the business became a limited company and was taken over around 1890 by A Webster & Co.
The premises at St James Street and Jermyn Street were taken over by the hairdressers Penhaligon & Jeavons.
Explanation of terms.
The Fretful Porcupine cost two pounds five shillings and appeared in an advertisement in the Illustrated London News 19th December 1874 edition on page 574. It was not described in any further detail.
As members will already know the phrase “the fretful porcupine” is within William Shakespeare’s Hamlet Act I scene V.
Moresques are goods with a Moorish design.
Ornamental novelty appendages must be left for further investigation by the reader.
The Directory of Gold & Silversmiths Jewellers & Allied Traders 1838-1914 by John Culme; The Illustrated London News; Wikipedia; William Shakespeare (deceased).