Chapman Brothers Ltd. jewellers (1874 – c. 1977)

Benjamin Chapman presumably learned the watchmaking and jewellery trade from his father who had established a jewellery business in Dublin, Ireland in 1814. Benjamin worked for 16 years as a jeweller in Belfast before immigrating to Canada in 1864. Ten years later he established his own business at 261 Yonge street in Toronto. 

B. Chapman’s shop offered imported clocks and jewellery from England and Germany. In January, 1890 The Trader & Canadian Jeweller reported that his store had recently installed the “new Edison incandescent electric lighting”, which “shows off their handsome goods to great advantage.” 

William James Chapman (1911 – 1999) great grandson of Benjamin, was the last owner of the family business that remained in operation until at least 1977. In 1979 the original building was given heritage status and today it houses a Tim Horton’s on the main floor.

About Jonathan

Jonathan Walford is a fashion historian and co-founder of the Fashion History Museum in Cambridge, Ontario. The FHM maintains a collection of nearly 12,000 artifacts dating from the mid 17th century to the present. Jonathan has authored various books and museum catalogues, including The Seductive Shoe, Shoes A-Z, Forties Fashion, 1950s American Fashion, and Sixties Fashion.
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