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The History of Hatton Garden

Discover the rich history of Hatton Garden, in the Borough of Camden.

Named after Queen Elizabeth’s I, favourite, Sir Christopher Hatton, Hatton Garden is a commercial zone in London’s Borough of Camden. It is famed for many things, in particular the high-quality jewellers that have businesses there.

History of Hatton Garden

Given to Sir Christopher Hatton in 1570, by the then Queen of England Elizabeth I, Hatton Garden has been associated with the jewellery trade since medieval times.

By the mid-1700s, Hatton Garden had established itself as a popular residential neighbourhood. Yet it was only after developments during the 1800s involving the infrastructure of London that included better roads, did it begin transforming into the commercial hub that it is known as today.

At this time, a great influx of watch and clockmakers and jewellery craftsmen, and retail business hit Hatton Garden. Indeed, by the mid-1880s, there were already over 60 merchants in the Hatton Garden area specialising only in precious stones. A legacy that has continued to the present day.

Hatton Garden Jewellers

Indeed, Hatton Garden is known as London’s Jewellery quarter and the epicentre of the entire diamond trade in the UK. This association with diamond and jewellery dates back to the 19th century. Today, you will find almost 300 jewellery-related businesses and over 50 shops and showrooms, including the legendary Regency Jewels, famed for its elegant engagement rings that are sought after by couples from all over the world.

De Beers also used to have a sustained presence in the area, with their headquarters and warehouse located tucked away behind the main shopping street in Hatton Garden.

Unsurprisingly for a location so synonymous with jewellery, Hatton Garden is also host to a maze of extensive underground tunnels, offices, and even vaults. Although, as well as jewellery specialists, it is also now home to many creative and media businesses, including BlinkBox.

Crime

Also unsurprised for an area so closely linked with wealth and jewellery, Hatton Garden has also had its fair share of historical heists, including the 1993 Graff Diamonds heist. The good news is that with modern technology and security measures, the shops and businesses in the area have never been safer.

Hatton Garden in Fictional References

Indeed, Hatton Garden is so well known as a centre for jewellery excellence that it appears as a location or is mentioned in many works of fiction.

In particular, in Diamonds are Forever, the famous spy 007 James Bond meets the mysterious Rufus B. Saye in a fictional Hatton Garden Diamond Shop – The House of Diamonds.

The robbery scene in the beloved movie A Fish Called Wanda also takes place in Hatton Garden. Perhaps most famously of all, it is mentioned in Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh. Indeed, it was the setting where Rex Mottram takes his betrothed Julia Marchmain to find a stone and have a setting made for her engagement ring. A piece that is said to [have resulted in] the admiration of all her friends!