It all started in 1830, when Benjamin Finnigan (who was first recorded trading as Brian B Finnigan) opened a workshop in Newton Street Mill, and a Finnigans shop in 15 Market Street, both in Manchester. Finnigans was originally known for the manufacturing of high quality dressing cases and travelling trunks.
Benjamin Finnigan registered marks with both Chester and London assay offices in 1830.
Benjamin Finnigan died in 1868. He was succeeded by his son William Finnigan, who embodied the second generation of the family’s firm.
In 1879, William opened a Finnigans shop at New Bond Street, London. Relatively quickly, American millionaires such as the Vanderbilts, the Rockefellers and the Fords joined the house’s customer base.
Interestingly, opposite to Finnigans on Bond Street was the firm Asprey. The two houses enjoyed a friendly and highly competitive rivalry that led to fruitful developments.
At this time they were still specializing in leather and saddlery, but they also diverged and started selling clocks, watches, and silverware.
Finnigans Ltd registered marks at the London, Sheffield, Chester and Dublin offices in 1901, and subsequently with the Birmingham Assay office in 1904.
In 1938, the fourth generation of the Finnigan family, Brian Finnigan took over as the firm’s manager. He gradually expanded the reach of the family business and built up a lucrative export market in the Caribbean, New York and Canada.
After the war, Peter Finnigan joined his cousin Brian in the company. Together, in the 1950s, they pioneered the new retailing trend of moving city stores to more suburban locations and moved Finnigans store in Manchester to Wilmslow.
In 1968, Finnigans closed its New Bond Street store in London. It continued to run as a family business until it shut down its last store in 1988. The family were bought out around this time by a company called Hoopers.
Today, Finnigans Ltd now belongs to the Luvanis company, who specialise in reviving dormant brands.
View the collection of silverware by Finnigans Ltd below...