Family jewellers to close after almost 100 years in March town centre

H.R. Mallett & Co will close on March 26 after almost 100 years in Fenland.

H.R. Mallett & Co will close on March 26 after almost 100 years in Fenland. - Credit: Trevor Richmond

A watch and jewellery store is set to close this month after almost 100 years in March town centre – but it’s not over for the family just yet. 

H.R. Mallett & Co opened in Broad Street in 1930 by Herbert Reginald Mallett, known locally as Reggie, who launched the business in 1923.  

The store will close its doors on Saturday, March 26 after the business, which has a long historical background, ceases trading after 99 years.  

The Broad Street jewellery store in present day.

The Broad Street jewellery store in present day. - Credit: Google Maps

Douglas Richmond joined Mr Mallett in the shop as a young man, and after the war he became a partner in the Fenland-based business. 

Dec 3 1940 - Wedding of Doug and Gert Richmond at The Griffin.

Dec 3 1940 - Wedding of Doug and Gert Richmond at The Griffin. - Credit: Alice Askew

Trevor and Roger Richmond, Douglas’s sons, both joined the business as apprentice watchmakers when they left school. 

In 1949, a fire broke out at the Broad Street store – forcing the team to open a temporary store at the Palace Buildings in March. 

Firefighters entering the Broad Street store. 

Firefighters entering the Broad Street store. - Credit: Trevor Richmond

A newspaper clipping reads that the jewellers’ “take this opportunity of thanking all who rendered any assistance during and since the recent fire and apologise for any inconveniences".  

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Another notice in the newspaper advised all customers to run any damages through their insurance companies after the blaze.

Following the death of their father in 1976, at the age of 57, both sons, along with their mother, continued running the business. 

Palace buildings where Malletts started in 1924.

Palace buildings where Malletts started in 1924. - Credit: Trevor Richmond

Gary, Roger’s eldest son, joined the business in 1984 and after Trevor and Roger retired, it continued under the management of Jane and Gary. 

“It will be sad to close,” said Roger. “We have much appreciated the support of all our customers and thank them all for their loyalty to us. 

“We have had a difficult time during Covid but managed to survive through it.”  

H.R. Mallett & Co opened in Broad Street in 1930.

H.R. Mallett & Co opened in Broad Street in 1930. - Credit: Trevor Richmond

A new business, ran by third-generation family member Gary, will open at the Broad Street store on Wednesday, April 6 – offering similar services to before.  

Roger added: “There will be a continuation of all repair services, and much more including Gold buying and watch battery fitting. 

A newspaper clipping from the four-figure fire.

A newspaper clipping from the four-figure fire. - Credit: Philip John Dack

“There will be lots of new lines added to the selection of goods for sale. 

“We hope the town will give Gary and Linzi their support in the years to come, as we don’t want to become a town of empty shops.”