Makers & Retailers - Widdowson & Veale

Widdowson & Veale

George Widdowson (b. 1804 Lincoln – Died 1872 Dulwich Village) was a celebrated silversmith and goldsmith although he took the route of retailer rather than a craftsman and by the age of 28 he had taken over his uncle’s London shop on the Strand, London. His uncle John Salter had been a close friend of Lord Nelson’s daughter, Horatia, and was godfather to one of her children. The shop was very successful and John Salter had supplied Nelson with many pieces of jewellery, including mourning rings.

Widdowson developed the shop into Widdowson & Veale located at No. 73 Strand on the corner of Adam Street and opposite the Adelphi. Widdowson had a real eye for marketing. He once had a detailed newspaper article dedicated to his proposal to make a copy of Aeneas’ shield, as described in Virgil’s Aeneid. There is no evidence the shield was ever made though it did get good publicity.

The company made swords and other weapons for the British army and navy, orders and decorations for the British court and were goldsmiths and jewellers to the court of Spain. In 1842 on the christening of Queen Victoria’s eldest son (later King Edward VII), Widdowson’s eye for publicity meant that the firm gave a christening gift of ‘an immense silver coronet supporting the Prince of Wales feathers.’ Widdowson & Veale were also makers to HRH the Duke of Sussex and the Court of Spain.

In 1844, George was 40 and his business was doing well, as was the economy as a whole. The firm were able to advertise for apprentices, asking for a premium of £100. On 11 February 1847 George married Eliza Duffield (nee Boville), the daughter of a Putney wine merchant who had been living in Gibraltar but returned when her first husband, John Duffield, died. George and Eliza were middle-aged when they married and did not have children.