Asprey was founded in 1781 in Mitcham, South London. The company consolidated its position through shrewd acquisitions. In 1859 Asprey absorbed Edwards, an award winning maker of dressing cases and holder of a Royal Warrant. Asprey established its reputation as the premier maker of luxury goods by winning a gold medal for its dressing cases at the International Exhibition of 1862. In the same year Asprey was granted a Royal Warrant by Queen Victoria.
Throughout the nineteenth century business flourished and another Royal Warrant was granted by the Prince of Wales – later to be crowned Edward VII, who remained an important and enthusiastic client of Asprey. Patronage came not just from the British royal family and aristocracy but foreign royalty and dignitaries who would visit the store while in London. At the time of Edward VII’s funeral an Asprey member of staff remembered “practically all the ruling heads of state were there, and many of them came to Asprey. You might have seen three or four of them at one time.” During the 20th century Asprey grew considerably as the company acquired new manufacturing facilities and hired the finest silversmiths, goldsmiths, jewelers and watchmakers. Asprey employed the finest craftsmen, including Ernest Betjeman, the father of the distinguished poet John Betjeman, and one of the most highly regarded designers of his day.
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