Bury Jewellery store to shut for the last time

From £2 diamonds to a loyal customer base spanning three generations, Thurlow and Champness Jewellers will close their shutters for the last time as the owner retires. The store will remain open until all jewellery is sold.

A jewellers in Bury St Edmunds is set to close this year after doing business for 277 years. Thurlow and Champness jewellers are closing with the current owner, Mr. Trevor Salt retiring, he is launching a closing down sale on Saturday July 16th where he will sell his jewellery at half price. Being a trained jeweller, Trever Salt took the reins from his stepfather in 1982 and is mournful of the thought of closing saying “When we close the doors for the final time it will be an incredibly sad day.”

The shop has a long history, stretching back to 1745 where eminent watchmaker, George Lumley, carried out his business at 14 Abbeygate Street; ever since then there has been a purveyor of luxury goods trading successfully from the same recognisable address ever since.

The company, officially established in 1815 by Mr John Gudgeon, is thought to be the longest serving business in Bury, Mr Salt said, “We are thought to be the oldest continuing retail business in Bury St Edmunds, and we are very proud of our legacy.” The owner continued to say: “It’s been a very difficult decision which we haven’t taken lightly. Unfortunately, we have no one to pass the business to, and after a long career I am keen to focus more on family life and invest some time in my hobbies.”

The business has a rich history has an independent business. In 1839 John Vale took the business over going into partnership with Mr. Richardson in 1865. Their catalogue shows, in 1890 a Diamond Solitaire ring would cost from £2, a gold bangle 18 shillings and carriage clocks from a little over £2 which came in a Russian leather fitted case.

At the end of their tenure, Mr Vale and Mr Richardson sold their jewellery business to a certain Mr Edward Thurlow Champness, a name which has stayed with the shop ever since. The Champness family moved into the living quarters above the store where they remained until 1947. The son of the Headmaster of Northgate School Ipswich, Edward Champness, passed the business down to his son Lt. Col. Peter Thurlow Champness in 1950. Peter Champness was a trained opitician. Just like Champness’, some of the business’s customers are generationally loyal, Trevor Champness said, “some families have been shopping with us for three generations; we have seen them come in with their own children and then grandchildren. I will treasure many happy memories of these times.”

The current owners are also the third generation of the Champness family to run the luxury jewellers with Trevor Salt being the familiar face in the Bury St Edmunds retail community.

Trevor said: “Jewellery is my passion. I love working with our customers; helping them to find that special piece to celebrate an important occasion. We are lucky to have a wonderful, steadfast customer base.” The shop has a plethora of staff who are passionate about jewellery and can help customers to find the perfect item Mr. Salt said “It’s been a privilege to work with our long serving team of knowledgeable staff, to who we are incredibly grateful, and wish them the very best for the future.”