It’s tough to ride out a recession, there’s no doubt about it. What about surviving multiple recessions, two world wars, the Great Depression and even the Industrial Revolution? Some businesses seem to have been with us forever.

Parsons the Jewellers, Bristol, established in 1710
Owner, Paul Davis: “Parsons has been selling jewellery in Bristol for 300 years. It has seen wars, recession and many moves but it still attracts young couples to buy our trademark coloured diamonds. The first shop on Redcross Street, Old Market, was founded by George Edgecumbe in 1710. He had trained as a brass founder and then moved into clock-making. His son John married Elizabeth Parsons, and it was their son, George, who branched out into jewellery.

“Parsons moved to Penn Street in Broadmead in 1966 after the original premises were demolished to make way for a roundabout. Another branch of the shop, which had opened in 1888, was lost in a wartime blitz. Now we’re in The Mall in the centre of Bristol.
“We’ve put up a display showing the company’s history with photographs and receipts dating back to 1876. We’ve got old ring boxes with the Parsons logo and ‘good luck’ silver spoons from the firm – a freebie when you bought your wedding rings at the store. Everything has been gathered and donated by our customers.
“It has been a tough year but we are still here. Parsons is such an institution, you could never let it die. I feel like a caretaker here. The people of Bristol, I’m sure, would want to see it continue.”

The secret of our success: “We keep evolving. Although we are 300-years-old as a business, we are bang up to date with our marketing and products. We make sure we are different, interesting and never forget that purchasing anything has to be a completely enjoyable experience.”


(c) BHP Information Solutions 2010. All rights reserved. Taken from The secrets of 100-year-old businesses, an article that first appeared on the Marketing Donut website.
With thanks to Simon Wicks of BHP Information Solutions Limited

44 Hockley Street



B18 6BH

Tel: +44 (0)121 507 0994

Company number 07258309

ICO Registration No: ZA460029