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Mappin & Webb was founded by Joseph Mappin in Sheffield in 1810.

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It was wildly successful; because it could be used to produce a host of items - from a delicate button to grand candelabra - at a fraction of the cost of the solid silver equivalent.

Sheffield became the forefront of this new plating method after the developments of Thomas Bolsover in 1743, a Sheffield cutler, who – whilst working to repair a knife – found that under the correct circumstances of heat and pressure, copper and silver become inseparable.

Although the company began in Sheffield, they were truly an international business.

Branches were opened in Liverpool, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Manchester, Leeds, Glasgow, Cardiff, Belfast, Hull, Bristol, Melbourne and Adelaide (Australia), Cape Town (South Africa).

After the 1840s and the advent of electroplating, materials other than copper were used as the base body material, the most popular being Nickel (sometimes known as German Silver) and Britannia metal was also used.

In England, Sheffield and Birmingham have been the greatest and most prolific manufacturers of Plate Silver, with Sheffield also housing the most famous of the silver plate manufactories - the Soho works of Matthew Boulton.

Sheffield silversmiths have always been a large producer of cutlery and table ware, including large canteens and services.

The nature of this type of silverware - being far more practical than many items - means that the demand and repurchasing of these pieces is high.

It was not until the mid-eighteenth century that a commercially viable variation, which became known as Sheffield Plate, allowed the large- scale production of plated wares for domestic use.

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