Heritage of Cousins
About Cousins Canterbury
With our hard-earned experience and corporate memory, we know how things used to be done, and the high standard to how things can be crafted, which has taught us techniques that we incorporate into jewellery of modern design. The result is exemplified in our production and sourcing of pieces of distinctive appearance, that we expect to stand daily wear and the test of time, and which we have exhibited internationally.
In the beginning c.1910
The original shuttered shop was founded by John Martin, and beneath the timbered elevations of the old Sun Hotel the shop frontage remains as it was in his time.
Early Cousins of the 1970s and 1980s
The business passed into the ownership of Stanley Sladden, who had been a jeweller in Canterbury since 1911, and after the second world war Stanley's daughters took on staffing the shop.
The baton was taken up by Thomas Cousins who married Betty Sladden in 1952 and they ran and grew the enterprise together until 1985.
In that year befell a tragedy, when during an armed robbery Thomas Cousins was killed while bravely defending his family and business.
Betty Cousins has worked in the shop since 1947; a stalwart in Canterbury and well-loved by all who meet her, a jewel of a lady herself.
When Covid hit the UK, Betty isolated in her beautiful home and garden with Jonathan, and has decided to retire from public life age 94. She still enjoys music and classical concerts, and loves to hear the best wishes of customers who come in to the shop today.
Nigel left university in 1975 having studied Modern Languages, Nigel was the first of his siblings to start working in the shop full time.
"My father told me I needed a job and until I found one, I was to come to work with him. I am still here nearly fifty years later and I am very lucky to be able to say that I have enjoyed my work. It has been fascinating to see how the world and Canterbury has changed over the past six decades. Thankfully, not too much has changed and our loyal customers and beautiful jewellery have endured."
Jonathan left school at sixteen so joined Thomas and Betty in the shop in 1974.
"I remember the preparations for H.R.H. Her Majesty the Queen’s Silver Jubilee celebrations in 1975, and the special pieces of silver that our father had made to mark the occasion. I also remember working with Nigel through the summer of 1976; it was so unbearably hot we took turns to stand with our backs against the safe to try to keep cool."
Araminta joined the team part-time when she was 16, working throughout her A Levels and business degree, and was a welcome stroke of femininity and glamour to the business.
"I remember my first day in the shop; I was so excited to get stuck in, start designing my own jewellery and meet all our wonderful customers. I have been fortunate to be trained by my Uncles and absorb their incredible expertise. I am thrilled to be continuing Cousins as the next generation."
Currently, the showroom is managed by brothers Nigel and Jonathan Cousins. Thomas and Betty’s granddaughter Araminta Chapman brings our business to the fourth generation. Daughter-in-law Rachel Cousins is our capable administrator and has artistic licence over the window displays.
Compiling 100 years of memories
We are in the process of compiling a collection of memories of visits to our shop over the years, including all your special purchases.
We would be most delighted to hear from any clients who would like to relay and share their personal story of their visit, whether last week, or fifty years ago.
If you have the story of an early purchase made by your parents or grandparents we would be particularly pleased to hear from you too.
It will be very nice to renew some old associations and friendships again and to hear from some past clients and their families. Hopefully, we might see a photo or two of a Cousins treasure from a previous generation.
Please use the link below to send your story through our contact us form. Let us know if you would not like this added to our public archive of images. Of course, names and personal information would all be hidden.