Fattorini the jewel in town's crown for 185 years
A historic jeweller established 185 years ago by an Italian immigrant has been commemorated in Harrogate with a special brown plaque.
A. Fattorini has been based in the town since 1831, when Antonio Fattorini opened his first lock-up shop.
Today the business is run by Anthony Tindall, a descendant of the original founder.
The Fattorini name is well-known across Yorkshire says Mr Tindall but that their particular family strand is rooted in Harrogate.
He added: “There are other strands. Many people will know about Fattorini and Sons, which was a jeweller in Bradford. While both Fattorini businesses are run by cousins the Bradford shop has now gone.”
In fact, the FA Cup was designed and manufactured by Fattorini and Sons.
Mr Tindall said: “Our particular strand is really nice and simple. We’ve been shopkeepers all the time since 1831. That’s a while isn’t it?
“Charles Darwin had just set off on his expeditions in 1831. There were no railways in Harrogate. The town only had 4,000 people. It was a long while ago. We can trace our history all the way back.”
Antonio Fattorini was born in Bellagio near Lake Como. He set off to fight Napoleon and later ended up in Yorkshire.
Mr Tindall, who represents the fifth generation of the family, said: “He ended up as a peddler in Dewsbury with a donkey going up and down selling goods to farmers and people around Yorkshire.
“But by 1831 he got a lock-up shop in Harrogate. It was a temporary shop for a season, which is where we go from.”
That shop was based at 14 Regent Parade in Harrogate. The business eventually ended up on Parliament Street.
Mr Tindall said: “It is an honour to have the plaque. We can trace our history through Harrogate from 1831. We first started at 14 Regent Parade. We’ve been on the Parliament Street site for over 100 years.
“We’re proud and honoured to have been a part of Harrogate through those years.”
Today A. Fattorini is a Rolex agency and sells fine diamond jewelery.
“We find Harrogate a lovely town to be in,” says Mr Tindall. “It’s a little bit of a shopping mecca isn’t it? If you wanted to make a special purchase you would make an effort and it’s worth coming to Harrogate for the day.”
He added that people who were visiting the town were staying over several days, treating Harrogate as a destination town, and that this helps businesses such as his attract customers.
One of the things that makes A. Fattorini successful is its straight-talking approach, which Mr Tindall says is a Yorkshire trait.
He said: “We’re very much a down to earth company. We’re an honest Yorkshire firm. We say it as it is.”
Mr Tindall associates the business more with its Yorkshire roots than Italy.
“People like an honest and straight-forward approach and clearly we’re in it for the long term.
“We’re not just selling something for today, we’re making customers for life,” he said.
A. Fattorini is preparing for the Christmas season, when gift sales usually spike, though Mr Tindall says the firm experiences demand year round with bridal jewelery proving particularly popular.
The shop employs 10 staff and Mr Tindall says A. Fattorini has no plans to go on a big expansion drive.
He said: “We like being a nice little shop in Harrogate. We’re not empire building.”
Keeping it in the family
Anthony Tindall represents the fifth generation of the family. Antonio Fattorini’s daughter, Maria, married John Tindall and took over the running of the shop in 1912, when her brother died.
Anthony Tindall said: “I have a daughter, a son and I’ve got grandchildren so there are generations coming along.”
Despite this there are no immediate plans to hand over the reins to the next generation.
Mr Tindall’s involvement with the business is hands-on and up until recently his brother Charles Tindall, who has now retired, helped run the firm.