Our story began when Silas Henn it is thought founded the company in the 1840’s. Silas was a clock maker in Tipton, a village on the outskirts of Dudley in 1847. However a customer recently brought into the store a newspaper cutting from the Express and Star about Silas Henn apprentice dated in the 1830’s so the company might yet have been existing for longer.
Our First store in Wolverhampton opens…
Silas had seven children, four girls and three boys, but little has been uncovered regarding the career of his successor, John Wesley Henn, who piloted the company in the direction of Wolverhampton. As the photographs suggest, 40 Princess Street was rather small and cumbersome but served a valuable role in establishing the company’s location and, for the matter, its name.
The Henn legacy in Wolverhampton…
Our story continues with John Wesley Henn’s Son - Thomas Austin born in 1870, who did share his father’s revivalist’s vision and values when he joined the family business. In fact he implemented them both in business and in his political career as he took the position of councillor, Health Committee chairman and Mayor of Wolverhampton. He fought for the poor and oppressed and his initiatives led to the clearing of Wolverhampton slums which formally recognised when he was awarded the Freedom of Wolverhampton.
Our story nearly stopped….
The next chapter was written by Thomas’ son, Thomas Wesley, who nearly lost his life whilst he working as a radio operator in the Navy during the First World War. One day, whilst trying to step from one ship to another, a gulf emerged between the two vessels and Thomas Wesley slipped away from sight. Fortunately, his absence was noticed and shipmates dragged him back on to the deck.
We might never have seen the great building Thomas Wesley built on 38-41 Princess Street in 1935, by buying up number 38 Princess Street and rebuilding the premises including number 38 to 41 Princess street, doubling the size of the store. By this time, advertisements in the local newspapers had made T.A. Henn & Son a household name.
1950’s to 1970’s
Exciting times .…
Thomas Wesley’s son, Alan Wesley Henn, took over the family business and within a decade the business capitalised on its success expanding rapidly with the acquisition of premises in Birmingham, Snow Hill, Chapel Ash, Shrewsbury and Wellington.
Alan was involved in multiple projects during this whole career and one of them was to be a Justice of the Peace in 1959 at 29 years of age, quite a responsibility indeed. In the 1970’s he became more and more involved in the industry to become Chairman of the National Association of Goldsmiths.
The economical slow down…
The late 1970’s early 1980’s were very volatile economically which put a halt on T.A. Henn & Son progress forcing the company to abandon one branch after another until Alan, along with his own son, Christopher John Wesley Henn decided instead to concentrate on the original family branch based on 38-41 Princess Street founded by Alan’s father.
A new era…
John Henn, the current Managing Director and son of Alan Henn brought T.A. Henn into a new era of product development with the acquisition of high end watches and exquisite jewellery lines. The corporate business was also introduced back then with long service awards, which the company still looks after today.
T.A. Henn stayed true to its heritage and continued to make original silver – candlesticks, teapots – having been silversmith of the Worshipful Company of Engineers for many years.
A new Phase….
The start of the new century marks the initial phase of modernisation at T.A. Henn. The company moved away from the dark wood interior and embraced more modern and subtle colours suiting perfectly the elegant designer jewellery displayed in store and changed its name from T.A. Henn & Son Ltd to T.A. Henn.
John Henn very much followed the steps of his father within the National Association of Goldsmiths and became Chairman in 2002-2004 heading the National Jewellers association gathering over 800 jewellers in the UK.
He played a great part in the trade Association as part of their board of Directors and remained on the education committee for a number of years. He also started in 2006 to represent the Jewellery retailers in the UK at the annual CIBJO conference (the World Jewellery Confederation, representing the conscience of the industry www.cibjo.org ).
2007, was a great year for John Henn personally as he tied the knot with his French fiancée, Magali in her village of origin. The whole T.A. Henn team travelled to France the celebrate the happy event and for the first time in the history of the company the store was shut for 4 consecutive days. A very happy moment indeed….
From the new millennium the arrival and success of fashion brands revolutionised consumer trends. As a result, the jewellery industry witnessed major changes. Fashion jewellery was and is now an integral part of jewellers offering and T.A. Henn was one of the first ones to bring unique and up and coming quality fashion brands to Wolverhampton to answer to the growing demand.
A Bright future…..
T.A. Henn has always been focused on quality through generations and this value remained at the centre of the product development strategy for the business. Whilst keeping the focus on bridal by adding wedding rings brands such as the original Swiss made Furrer Jacot and original UK made Brown & Newrith along exquisite fine jewellery T.A. Henn was now also offering a variety of fashion brands meaning that affordable luxury became accessible to the whole family.
2010 was also the year John Henn welcomed the potential 7th generations in the family with the arrival of his first daughter who is now 6 years old and comes into the store saying ‘daddy this is my shop!’ In the same year, Magali, his wife joined the business to look after the buying and marketing of the company.
As the year passes, John Henn remains involved in the trade in one way or another and in 2011 he became a guardian at the Birmingham Assay Office, whilst continuing to represent the NAG at the CIBJO Conference.
Our first ladies Sharon and Jacqui to have been with the T.A. Henn team for 25 and 40 years respectively, a fantastic achievement. Sharon has been part of the Sales team since 1987 and Jacqui has been working in the account department since 1972.
A new Look…. A Special Occasion….
In 2013, the store went through a complete revamp aiming to bring the store into its next generation. John Henn and his wife opted for a natural yet elegant look with custom made units made of slate mixed with warm and bright neutral tones. Exclusive seated areas have been designed providing a more private service. This bright new sophisticated look put the store on the map of one of the most beautiful jewellery stores in the country.
In 2013, Henns Jewellers celebrated its 165th anniversary style with an invite only official launch party welcoming over 200 guests in store during which the last 2 Henn generations were represented with the number 3 in the making!
This special anniversary was also marked with Magali Henn giving birth to their second daughter only a few days after the official evening bringing another potential for the next generation.
2014 until Today
Part of Wolverhampton….
A lot of positive change is happening in Wolverhampton as we all know the city really needed a boost. T.A. Henn is nowadays embracing the changes occurring in Wolverhampton with the pedestrianisation of Princess Street.
John Henn as his grandfather and his father did is also involved the city development and has become Chairman of the Wolverhampton BID created in 2014 to help with the development of Wolverhampton
In 2014, Henns Jewellers was voted by the trade in the top 10 of the Inspiring Independents Jewellers and remained selected in 2015 for being part of the top 100, which is a great recognition from the trade.
Today, Henns Jewellers is looking forward to an exciting future as one of the longest standing business in Wolverhampton to keep on moving with its time.