Marian’s Jewellers

The following story is part of Memories of Wednesbury High Street, a collaboration between artists, Iain Armstrong and Jo Löki, involving participation from a variety of Wednesbury residents. You can look through the photographs while you listen to people’s stories. For more information on the project and to view more stories, visit here.

Marian’s Jewellers & Gift Shop

Originally from Poland, Marian Maczka emigrated to the UK after the war. After spending some time working in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter, he set up his own jewellery business in 1952 on Dudley Street in Wednesbury. In 1955, he moved to Union Street where, over the next 30 years, the business occupied several premises and expanded to include a gift shop, in addition to the jewellers and watchmakers. The business was a family affair with Marian’s wife and daughters working alongside several employees. Marian died in 2018 but his daughter, Teresa Davies, shares her memories of her father and the shops on Union Street through the 1960s-80s.   
Teresa Davies tells the story of her father coming to the UK from Poland and how he came to establish a jewellery and watchmakers business in Wednesbury. In 1952, the business began on Dudley Street before moving to 49 Union Street in 1955 and then 15 & 16 Union Street in 1960. 
Teresa Davies remembers her dad’s jewellery shop on Union Street and helping out at busy times of the year. She recalls Christmas celebrations, visits from the local police and Marian’s ingenious method for keeping watch over the shop from his workshop. 
After a few years running the jewellers at 15 & 16 Union Street, Marian took on number 49 again, but as a gift shop. Teresa Davies recalls the gift shop and the eldery Mrs Lewis who lived in a room at the back. In 1973, 15 &16 Union Street were compulsory purchased for demolition so Marian moved to 39 & 40 Union Street eventually expanding into number 38.
Local historian Ian Bott left school in 1978 age 16 and started working for Marian at the jewellers where he trained as a watchmaker. Ian describes working life at Marian’s and fondly recalls some of the hi-jinks he and the girls got up to when the boss’s back was turned! 

To see more, and to read captions, click on the photographs.

Images in this gallery were shared by project participants, working with visual artist Jo Löki.  They were collected, edited, adapted and digitised into photo-albums © Jo Löki / Memories Of Wednesbury High Street.  With special thanks to Teresa Davies and Ian Bott who gave their time, access to personal collections and shared memories of Wednesbury High Street. Their vital contributions add to the conversations around Wednesbury’s rich heritage.