November 16, 2022 8.00 am This story is over 12 months old

Farewell to a Lincoln gem: Jewellery business closing after 63 years

The owners are retiring just before Christmas

The owners of a well-known jewellers which has served Lincoln for over six decades will close the shop for the final time on Christmas Eve.

Eric A Bird Jewellers was first opened in Lincoln in November 1959 by the owner of the same name, and his wife Giovanna, known as Jo. They acquired their first shop – at Ashton’s Court on Lincoln High Street – where Eric carried out trade repairs and began to sell some stock.

After a few years, the opportunity arose to move the business into the city centre, and they began renting a small shop in the Cornhill. As the business developed, Bernard Ward was employed as a watchmaker, working in a room above the shop.

Eric and Jo outside their first premises on Lincoln High Street in around 1960.

In July 1973 Steve Thompson joined the business directly from school to learn the trade under Eric’s guidance. At this time, companies including Pearl and Dean ran adverts for the business at one or more of the other cinemas in the city until the early 1980s, including at the ABC cinema on Saltergate in Lincoln, and the former Odeon on the High Street.

Four years later, the expanding business needed another change of premises and moved into its current location on St Mary’s Street in 1977.

The business moved to the Cornhill area of the city in the 1970s.

Eric retired in 1994, and on June 1 of that year Steve and his wife Maria bought the business, but decided that its name and philosophy would remain the same.

Eric sadly died at the age of 92 in 2012 and Steve and Maria continued to proudly run the business in his name.

The business celebrated 60 years trading in Lincoln by holding a diamond anniversary event in 2019.

Steve Thompson is the co-owner at Eric A Bird Jewellers in Lincoln. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Steve and Maria, both aged 67, have now decided that the they will close the shop for the final time on December 24, 2022.

It will be the end of an era for the couple, and long-serving employees Andy Sanderson and Caroline Workman who have worked for the business for 19 and 10 years respectively, and self-employed practical jeweller Tony Hurt who has given decades of service to the shop.

Eric A Bird Jewellers has been located on St Mary’s Street in Lincoln since 1977. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

The range of services will reduce over the next month and the shop had to stop taking in repair work due to the volume already in the system.

The shop is happy to continue fitting watch batteries, straps and bracelets, and carry out minor jewellery fixes that don’t require soldering.

Co-owner Steve told The Lincolnite it was the right time to retire as “lockdown showed us another life” and the couple are ready to “just to live an ordinary life”.

Inside the shop. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

| Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

He said: “It was a huge thing to take on, but we’ve come to the conclusion it’s probably a much bigger thing to actually part company with, it’s just been our life.

“We’ve just carried it on as Eric ran it, just kept his name going and we’ve enjoyed doing that, but there comes a time when you’ve just got to draw a line under it.

“I am hugely proud and I think one of our proudest moments was when we had our 60th anniversary we were invited to the Guildhall for a dinner with the civic party, which was lovely, in recognition of our 60 years in the city.”

Steve Thompson is proud to have served the city of Lincoln since he took over the jewellery business in 1994. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Steve added: “We felt that the business is being run in such a way that it would be very difficult for somebody else to come in and run it in exactly the same way that we do.

“The experience that I’ve built up over 50 years is quite difficult to replicate for anyone else. Most people are good at retail or they’re good at repairs, but marrying the two things together is a difficult one.”

With the shop doors due to close for the final time in just over a month, Steve said: “It’s been quite an emotional rollercoaster really because the customers that we’ve had over the years have been so kind and very generous.

“A number of people have come in and said we’re going to be sadly missed…but it is such a difficult thing to actually do and take that on board really. I think the finality of it on Christmas Eve will be quite hard to cope with.

“We can’t thank people enough for the kind comments that we’ve had about the business and about what we’ve done for them within the city, and we’ve enjoyed every moment of it. Giving a service to people of the city and the surrounding area has been quite something.”

| Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Eric A Bird Jewellers has. served the people of Lincoln for over 60 years. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

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