Our Heritage

The shop premises at 7 Westgate has stood on the same site for over 220 years. We have records in our possession which showed that it changed hands in 1791.

Old shop front

The shop in its early days of being run by the D'Arcys

As a jewellers shop, we are proud to be the oldest in Peterborough, having been opened by Mr Walter Sawyer in 1855. In December 1923, Walter Sawyer rented the property and business to John William (who was always called "Jack") D'Arcy, who had trained as a jeweller in Yorkshire. The business was very run down, but with the help of his wife, Lena, Jack was able to make it a viable proposition.

Lena and Jack refurbished the shop, added a miniature arcade to the side and fitted new wall cabinets. Eventually, they persuaded Walter Sawyer to sell the business to them along with the property, that had become their family home. Jack was very involved in Peterborough city life, being president of the Chamber of Trade and City Rotary Club.

With the outbreak of the Second World War, both Jack's sons, Michael and Raymond, volunteered for the Royal Navy. Jack and Lena continued to run the business through the war years, until 1946 when the boys returned to help. By this time, Jack was approaching 70 and he decided to form a company - J.W. D'Arcy Limited, and the business has traded under this name ever since. Jack died in 1972, though Lena continued her interest in the business until her death in 1984.

Three of Jack and Lena's children, Michael, Raymond and Margaret, continued to run the business after the death of their parents. Michael left to become an accountant, and Ray's son, Mark, joined the business in September 1974, becoming the third generation of the D'Arcy family to be actively involved.  Margaret retired in 1990, Raymond on his 80th birthday and Mark left in 2014. Up until her death in 2017, Margaret continued to hold an interest in the business. Michael's two sons, David and Chris have continued the family's interest and are directors of the company.

So 90 years on, J.W. D'Arcy, remains a family owned and run business, committed to the highest standards of customer service and expertise.