Benzie Jewellers - a little history of number 61 Cowes High Street

This is Benzie, the wonderful famous international jewellers at Number 61, High Street, Cowes. The business has been at these premises for nearly 160 years. . Famous for jewel encrusted maritime jewellery and ships clocks there were branches at Bond Street, London and New York. The Royal Warrants held by Benzie are: H. M. King George V., in 1910; H. M. the Queen, 1912; H. M. King Edward, 1901; H. M. Queen Alexandra, 1901; H. M. Queen Victoria, 1885; H. R. H. the Prince of Wales, 1884; H. M. King of Greece, 1886.” . At one time the shop housed a ball - the ‘Benzie Ball’ on the roof which dropped at the stroke of 1200 ever day and was for many years the chief time-keeper for the Royal Navy in the Eastern Solent. The ball was lost, possibly as a result of enemy action during WW2. . Mr Simpson Benzie founded the jewellers in 1862 and the shop has remained under the same name ever since. Simpson was born in Maidstone in 1836 and was the son of an ironmonger. By the age of 15 he had a job as an apprentice watch and clock maker. He married Marianne Saxby, the daughter of a landowner/farmer in 1862 and they moved and set up the jewellery shop in Cowes High Street where they lived with their 7 children until they retired. Their son Herbert Simpson Benzie took over the jewellers and lived at number 63 with his wife and children. Simpson died in 1915 and Herbert Simpson in 1952. . It is understood that the shop is currently for sale.

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