HJ JOHNSONS Jewellers in Devizes is celebrating 150 years of running the business this year, with the family-owned establishment being the oldest retail shop in Devizes.

With the business being established in 1866, the jewellery shop still stands in its original location after one and a half centuries. It was taken over from George James Bush, the master jeweller of the time, by Henry Joseph Johnson in 1877, the shop became popular in the town for its carefully crafted pieces.

Phillip Blanchard, owner of HJ Johnson, said: “I bought the shop in April of 1972 off Bob Johnson. He was a customer of my family who were wholesalers and he wanted the business to go to a family. He came out of the RAF and decided he didn’t want to go into retail.”

After Mr Blanchard bought the business he found old ledgers of sales in the basement of the building that dated back to the opening year.

“I went into the cellar because things were getting damp down there and I managed to save them. It is a great honour to still be here with a shop that has been so well established, and it has always been a family business,” added Mr Blanchard.

After Mr Blanchard’s daughter Ruth posted a picture online they received a message on Facebook from a woman who was related to the original owner of the shop.

Ruth said: “We put the picture on Facebook and a woman from Sydney, Australia, wrote on our post saying that her great, great grandfather had the business in the 1800s. He is actually buried in St John’s graveyard here in Devizes.”

After a long run of business the Blanchard family is proud that the business has been handed down from through the generations.

Mr Blanchard added: “It’s lovely to have my daughter and granddaughter working in the shop, and hopefully it will stay in the family.”