In 1810 the firm Furniss, Poles & Turner registered their first hallmark with the Sheffield Assay Office, working as plate workers operating from Furnival Street, Sheffield. From the early 1820s it was seen that the firm traded as William Briggs, who entered the hallmark still as a plate worker but in the revised location of Button Lane. Briggs entered into partnership with Samuel Roberts and Joseph Slater, and from 1845 they traded as Roberts & Slater and gained momentum in their reputation for being silver and electroplate manufacturers from Furnival Street. When Joseph Slater retired in 1858 the company continued under the name Roberts & Briggs, until a 1863 when William Briggs also retired.
This brought on a new partnership between Samuel Roberts and Charles Belk, and in 1864 the firm Roberts & Belk entered their first hallmark with the Sheffield Assay Office. Once Samuel Roberts retired in 1879, Charles Belk continued operation of the company under the same name due to their growing reputation. Belk partnered with Edward Parkin, who had been associated with Roberts, and became a leading figure in the silver and electro-plate trades, and Master Cutler in 1885.
In 1901 the firm became a private limited company with Charles Belk and his son Walter Patrick Belk as the directors and the firm’s name changed one last time to Roberts & Belk Ltd. Upon the death of Charles in 1904, Walter continued to maintain the Furnival Street business. In 1961 the company was sold to the renowned London silversmith C. J. Vander, with Hugh Norton Lister as the manager of the company.
Through the company’s history the Sheffield factory was not the only place the company operated out of; they also were active in London in showrooms at 28 Ely Place, Holborn (1858) and later at Gresham House, 24 Holborn Viaduct (1883).
Whilst Roberts & Belk have been known under a series of silver marks, the best-known trade made was the Roman lamp.
During WWI Roberts and Belk manufactured electro-tinned spoons to export to the troops. The company were well renowned for their craftsmanship of silver and they existed for just under 100 years. Their advertising stated a guaranteed for 50 years on their cutlery, and we can certainly state that they last the test of time.
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