Diamond Geezers and Gold Dealers on ITV
On Thursday evening, the 24th July, ITV are broadcasting a documentary featuring the fine jewellery business and the expertise of the people who work in Hatton Garden.
In the past, such documentaries have been the cause of much heated debate and discussion as to whether the presentation style – dwelling as it generally did on the secretive nature of the industry and the high value of the product – was a benefit or a curse. The quality of the product and the talent and skill of those who handle the raw materials has rarely before been featured. Brite Spark Films who have created this documentary as part of their luxury season are launching this series at a very appropriate moment for all of us who are based in Hatton Garden – in fact, in London.
As this programme is being broadcast, a number of people in Baldwins Garden will be searching for appropriate alternative secure workshops and studio space as their building is one of many that is being demolished to make way for yet another block of luxury flats. The media have highlighted Chelsea and Kensington as areas that have become ghost towns; but the developers are moving slowly east, threatening Saville Row, Cork Street, and even Old Street – an area around the roundabout that was full of young, vibrant IT businesses. And now they are looking at Hatton Garden and its proximity to Crossrail.
The thing that all of these areas have in common is that each of these little London villages is focussed on one economic activity and so it is not just the buildings and the way of life that is threatened with destruction, it is the fact that these very lucrative clusters of industry are also threatened and they are all a vital part of the economy of the UK.
So, when you visit Hatton Garden, look above the shops and listen to the sounds. Above the noise of the traffic and the occasional radio, you will see the workshops and from their open windows on a sunny day you will hear the sound of small drills, the hum of a polishing machine, the sound of a saw or hammer on metal. Much of the jewellery you will see in the shops beneath has been made in Hatton Garden – and many more pieces are manufactured for stores in the West End or across the country – even across the world. Not just jewellery – silversmiths, hand engravers, goldsmiths, designers and stone carvers all work in this little quarter of London. These are – for the most part – small independent businesses and collectively they have a wide and unique knowledge and skills base. The mounter whose image you can see on this blog, is part of one of the largest workshops in Hatton Garden, in a building that may also be demolished to make way for new apartment blocks. They – like the workshops in Baldwins Gardens – know that there is not enough suitable space to accommodate them all.
So I am hoping that the film features not just the characters, their beautiful work and their expertise, but also the importance of retaining these skills and the industry cluster to the economy of this country.