The building is in fact Grade II listed, with Richard Howard-Vyse, constructing Vyse Street in 1846. Due to the demand for land, the buildings around this area were tightly-packed terraces, in order to cram in as many people and properties as possible. And a lot of jewellers lived alongside their workshops, also using the buildings as living quarters as well.
Today the building is a museum and I have many fond memories of working here. It only dawned on me the other day that it’s almost ten years since I first worked here, and what a job it was. My role was to take visitors on tours around the factory, where they would discover more about factory life, experiencing the sounds of machinery and listen to the fascinating tales about those who worked at the Smith and Pepper Factory. I owe a lot to MJQ, because it inspired me to follow a career in heritage, and ten years later, I’m still doing what I love.
What’s special about this museum is that it’s a time capsule, a record of the past that’s almost undisturbed. And if you do go on a guided tour, look out for the 1980s Marmite in Miss Olive’s Office. Although, whether you love it or hate it, I don’t recommend trying any, even if there are rumours that Marmite never goes off.