Payne & Son

Payne & Son

Thursday 13 October 16

Whilst walking the heritage tour of Tunbridge Wells we passed Payne & Son, Jewellers and Silversmiths, established in 1790, it’s one of the oldest family businesses of Tunbridge Wells, the shop is now closed.

The traces of the firm’s life remain in what’s left of its signage, bespoke hardwood glass fronted cases and mosaic tiled entrance.

Seeing this once magnificent shop brought home to us the threat these family businesses are under and just how important it is to safeguard independent shops, in order to keep our high street varied, curious and unique.

Street sign for Payne & Son

Leaving the environment of the Museum and Art Gallery showed us how fragile these institutions are and that the high street also has a changing history.

  • What do we hold onto?
  • What do we invest in or let go?
  • What remains relevant for the community?

On our first residency day we saw recent acquisitions from Payne & Son in the museum archive.

The most impressive item was a crown, which on special occasions was placed upon the street clock; it’s a fantastic inclusion into the museums collection. In a small but poignant way Payne & Son retains a presence in Tunbridge wells.


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