Name of the person: Miss. Olive (Olive Bessie Smith)

Job: Secretary

Biography: Smith & Pepper Jewellery Factory (opened in 1899) over 100 years old, frozen in time when the factory closed in 1981. Past through the family in highly skilled metal work sold across the world.

Born: 1903.

Married: She never married but lived with her brothers Mr. Eric and Mr. Tom.

Short fun fact: Marmite jar is still left in Miss Olive’s office from when it shut in 1981!

Education: Unknown

An old 1940's black and white photograph of a group of people. The woman in the centre is the only person in focus. She is wearing a dark jacket with a flower on her lapel, and a hat. She is holding a glass and is looking at the camera.

Key Facts

Key Fact 1: Sales

Mr. Eric was the salesman, he would offer his customers a comfortable sofa to make them feel at home and provide a tray of jewellery to view like a catalogue of a magazine. He would knock for his sister, Miss Olive, to bring out a cuppa tea. However, if it was two knocks, this meant lots of money was going to the spent and she brought out biscuits and cakes as well.

Key Fact 2: Orders

When the orders came through to Miss Olive she needed to let her brother know, Mr Tom who worked on the Factory floor. Instead of Miss Olive walking back and forth she would put them in a dumb waiter lift and lower it to Mr Tom so he could let the workers know what to make.

You can see the dumb waiter lift on the left of this photo below.

a black and white photograph of an empty office room. The walls are white, and there are lots of files on shelves.
Key Fact 3

The jewellery industry was declining and in 1981 Mr Tom, 74, Mr Eric, 81 and Miss Olive, 78 decided to close up shop. They left everything where it was, but if it wasn’t for them doing that we would not have known in so much detail how the Smith & Pepper Jewellery Factory was run.


For the little ones

Role play: pretend to be in a shop and re-enact how you would take in and order, speaking to a customer over the phone and pack up a jewellery delivery to be sent out to a friend.

For kids

Check out the Smith & Pepper Jewellery Factory out through our 360° interactive photos.

Write a short poem about how you would feel working in this factory? Think about the smells, the heat, what would you see and touch. Don’t forget to share this with us at @BMTlearning.

For young adults

Learn more about our factory with Rupert our Senior Enabler at the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter by watching the video below.

Would you have liked to have been a trainee with Smith & Pepper? Design your very know jewellery with materials you have at home or just with a pen and paper that you would wear. Share your designs with us @BMTLearning.