Treasured Wetherby store to close ending four generations

A long-established Wetherby shop is to close it has been announced today.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 19th October 2018, 9:44 am
Updated Friday, 19th October 2018, 9:48 am

Family run Townsend Fine Jewellers will mark the end of an era with a closing down sale at the Cross Street store, starting at 10am on Saturday October 27.

Nigel Townsend said: “It’s been a difficult choice for us to finally call it a day on the store, and it’s certainly not been a decision we have taken lightly.

“High street trading has become increasingly tough and we have seen lots of retailers come and go. Unfortunately, now it’s our turn to shut-up shop.”

Townsend Fine Jewellers has remained independently owned, operating in Wetherby for 36 years, with four generations involved in the running of the business.

Founded by Alan Townsend, a watchmaker by trade, the business holds a prominent position on Wetherby’s high street.

The late Alan Townsend started to train as a watch-maker’s apprentice just before the start of World War II.

After enlisting to join the RAF his training went on hold until the War finished and he returned to an apprentice role at prestigious J W Turner Watch and Clock Makers in Wakefield.

Subsequently married to wife Dorothy and with four children to provide for, Alan Townsend realised the potential in opening a retail jewellery store and after retraining as a jeweller, he opened his first premises, Alan Townsend and Co Ltd in New Gate, Wakefield in 1961. His Wetherby store followed in 1982.

The firm is currently run by Alan’s sons Michael and Nigel. Elder brother Michael, who joined the family business in 1970, is a trained gemologist and a Fellow of the Gemological Association.

Younger brother Nigel, who formally trained as a diamond setter, started to take an interest in the family business as a very young boy.

Explained Nigel: “I started making jewellery when I was eight and at 16 I went to college to study.

“My brother Michael has been in the family business for almost 50 years.”

Following the closure of the store, Nigel is looking forward to concentrating on new business ventures and Michael is taking retirement.

Nigel added: “Our father used to say that our role within the community was such a privilege and we have continued to cherish the opportunity to be involved in our customers’ lives at such pivotal times; engagements, marriage and births.

“It’s going to be very hard to say goodbye to our father’s legacy; and we’re hoping that customers past and present will pay us a visit over the next few weeks and tell us about their memories of the store and pieces they cherish which came from Townsend.”

All of the store’s stock will be reduced by 50 per cent, and also bespoke pieces manufactured at the Wetherby workshop will be on sale.