New Futures for Birmingham`s Historic Buildings

A Glimpse into the Past – J.W.Evans Silver Factory

Posted May 6th, 2013 by Birmingham Conservation Trust with 8 Comments


J.W. Evans Silver Factory in Birmingham’s historic Jewellery Quarter contains over a 100 years of history, a silverware factory founded in 1881 by Jenkin Evans and remained with the Evans family for four generations. Last month myself and other volunteers from BCT were guided around these fascinating buildings.

One of the first things that strikes you as you walk around is the fact these buildings offer an opportunity to enter a lost industrial world, represented by the surviving workshops where machinery, stock, stamps, dies, pattern books, business records and photographs remain.


The surviving contents demonstrate the traditional silversmithing trade that took place in the Jewellery Quarter. The firm carried out various processes in order to produce the final product. Within each of the rooms machinery, tools and products in various states of completion can be found representing the different stages of silverware production and the workmanship that went into them.


The premises of J.W. Evans were based in former domestic premises, they are early examples of 19th Century houses which were gradually modified for industrial use. The Evans family lived at number 54 for 19 years and moved to Middleton Hall Road in 1901. In the beginning Jenkin Evans worked from the workshops at the back of number 54 (later expanding to 55, 56 & 57). Today as you walk round a cast iron cooking range, original staircases and patterned wallpaper can be seen which serve as a reminder that these buildings were once homes.


For more photographs of J.W. Evans take a look at those taken by Tracey Thorne here.

If your thinking of visiting J.W. Evans take a look at English Heritage’s website for opening times.

8 Responses to “A Glimpse into the Past – J.W.Evans Silver Factory”

  1. Gill June 9, 2017

    Found the JW Evans factory fascinating. Are there employee records ? My ggrandfather John Pettit was a silver engraver in Birmingham c1875-1900


    • Vicki Cox June 12, 2017

      Hi Gill,
      J.W. Evans certainly had a large archive of documents so I’d imagine they will have some employee records although whether they would go back that far I wouldn’t like to say. Your best bet will be to contact English Heritage / Historic England, who are now responsible for the site, as they should have a list of documents.


  2. SHAZI MALIK August 2, 2016

    Can i visit the factory in jeweller Quarter? i want to buy a few things at reasonable prices?


    • Vicki Cox August 30, 2016

      Hi Shazi,
      J.W.Evans is no longer producing and is now a museum which is run by English Heritage. However, the Jewellery Quarter is full of small independent jewellers so you are bound to find something to suit your taste and budget.


  3. H Nelson April 28, 2014

    Did he sgn his jewelery JE?
    I have a silver necklace, date Birmingham 1876.


    • Suzanne Carter April 29, 2014

      Hello! I’ve have asked a colleague at English Heritage who own JW Evans but she didn’t think it would be, as Evans did not sell their own range but supplied other retailers. I will dig a little deeper with some knowledgeable folk at EH and get back to you if the answer is any different! Best wishes, Suzanne


      • Suzanne Carter April 30, 2014

        Hi again. Bethan from EH has responded “JW Evans only supplied other manufacturers and it was a deliberate step NOT to have a company mark registered to them. It was seen as a clear indication that they wouldn’t be able to poach retail customers – as the quarter was so close knit and there were numerous companies it was very important they were perceived as reliable. Tony registered the first JWE mark in 1980 as a 100 yr celebration but even then it was barely used. There were sister companies such as Marsden and co but these were also pretty recent and wouldn’t be have a je mark.” Thanks Bethan.


    • Carol Thornton May 8, 2014

      Have you thought to contact Birmingham, Assay office re JE stamp very knowledgable as they hold all the records re makers marks in archive safes.


Leave a comment