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Updated:  14 February 2011 

The Plymouth Business House of Messrs Page, Keen and Page Ltd, goldsmiths, silver smiths, jewellers and watchmakers, was located at 17 George Street, Plymouth, before the Second World War and at 87 Mutley Plain thereafter.

Plymouth history is dotted with the name of Messrs Page, Keen and Page Ltd.  They provided the gold or silver keys for almost all of the official opening ceremonies that have taken place in Plymouth and countless formal gifts and were responsible for the maintenance of Derry's Clock.

The founder of the business was Mr James Andrew Page, the son of Mr Thomas Page and Miss Jane Smith, who were married at Stoke Damerel Parish Church on March 10th 1801.  James was born on March 4th 1811 and baptised at the Batter Street Presbyterian Chapel on June 13th 1811.  [1]

Advert circa 1890 for Messrs Page, Keen and Page, Plymouth

It will observed from the advert above that the date of foundation was shown as 1811.  Although it has always been claimed that it was Mr Page who started the business, as he was only born in 1811 then he must have taken over a previous business that is as yet unidentified.  [2]

On July 25th 1834 he had married Miss Anne Eliza Hearder, the daughter of Mr Jonathan and Mrs Mary Hannah Hearder and the sister of the Plymouth scientist and electrician, Doctor Jonathan Nash Hearder.  The wedding took place at Charles Church.  [3]

Although it is said that he moved the business to 17 George Street in 1838 [4]  he was certainly still living at 17 Whimple Street at the time of the census in 1841  [5].  In that same year, Mr Henry Keen was a 19-years-old apprentice jeweller but there is no indication as to where he was doing his training  [6].  The Keen family were living in James Street, Plymouth, so it is possible that he was apprenticed to Mr Page.  By 1851 Mr Page was living at Windsor Terrace, The Hoe, and Mr Keen was at 17 George Street, living over the shop [7].  However, the business was still listed only under the name of Mr J A Page  [8].

Between 1862 and 1864 George Street underwent a renumbering and number 17 became number 41.  [8a]

On October 6th 1863 Mr James Hearder Page married Miss Paulina Jane Stevens at Saint Andrew's Church, Plymouth  [9].  In 1871 he joined with his father and Mr Keen in forming the partnership of Messrs Page, Keen and Page  [10].

Mr James Andrew Page must have retired from the business soon afterwards because when Mr Henry Keen died suddenly on Friday November 26th 1886, he was stated to be the 'senior partner' in the business.  He was 64 years of age.  [11]

It was around this time that the business was advertising the "Drake Souvenir Spoon", with Plymouth engraved across the bowl and a miniature statue of Sir Francis himself making the handle.  Made of solid silver, it cost 7s 6d.  [2]

Messrs Page, Keen and Pages's advert for the "Drake Spoon".

The founder of the business, Mr James Andrew Page, died in Plymouth on Friday October 14th 1898 [12].

On June 18th 1913 Mr James Hearder Page retired and the business was continued under the same title by Mr Reginald George Page and Mr James William Frederic Page  [13].

Mr James Hearder Page died on Friday January 18th 1918 at the age of 79  [12].

When George Street was destroyed during the Second World War the business found a new home at 87 Mutley Plain  [14].

Mr Reginald George Page, of "Restormel", Down Road, Tavistock, died on October 3rd 1945 and was cremated at Efford Cemetery on Friday October 5th 1945.  He was 76-years-old.  Among those who attended the funeral were Mr F M S Carter and Mr B Newton, directors of the Company, and Mr F P Bowden, representing Messrs Bowden & Sons, another of Plymouth's jewellers and silversmiths.  A former director, Mr T W Willes, was represented by his widow.  [10]

The business was still operating at number 87 Mutley Plain in to the 1970s but then either closed down or was merged into another jewellers, possibly Messrs Bowden & Sons.


[1]  International Genealogical Index.

[2]  Advert is from Curtis, J Sydney, "Devonshire: Historical and Pictorial", The Topographical Publishing Company, Southampton, circa 1890.

[3]  Information courtesy of Mr Ian Hearder, Brampton, Cumbria.

[4]  Source not recorded.

[5]  1841 Census, HO107/269/14/23.

[6]  1841 Census, HO107/271/7/9.

[7]  1851 Census, HO107/1879/586/30 (Mr Page) and HO107/1879/559/43 (Mr Keen).

[8]  "A Directory of Plymouth, Stonehouse, Devonport, Stoke, and Moricetown", compiled from actual survey", William Brendon, Plymouth, 1852.

[8a]  "Directory of Plymouth, Stonehouse, Devonport, Stoke and Moricetown", John W Elvin, Plymouth, 1862 and 1864/65 editions.

[9]  "Plymouth Marriage Index, volume 1", CD, Devon Family History Society/Plymouth & West Devon Record Office, Exeter and Plymouth, 2003.

[10]  Source not recorded.

[11]  "West of England News", Western Morning News, Plymouth, November 27th 1886.

[12]  Death announcement in local newspaper.

[13]  Mr Ian Hearder, of Brampton, Cumbria, and "The London Gazette", dated 15 July 1913, page 5088.

[14]  "Kelly's Post Office Directory of Plymouth and District 1953", Kelly's Directories Ltd, London, 1953.1953 directory

[15]  "Mr R G Page: Cremation Of Former Plymouth Jeweller", Western Morning News, Plymouth, October 6th 1945.

  Brian Moseley, Plymouth, UK

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