John Beazor Antiques was founded in 1875 in Great Yarmouth in Norfolk. At that time Yarmouth was a prosperous fishing port and one of the centres of the herring fishing industry. John Martin Beazor, who was born in 1899, joined his father in the business in the early 20th century. A photograph shows the interior of the shop on Hall Quay circa 1900 to be very much in the style of the ‘ye olde curiosity shop’, showing not only furniture but all types of porcelain, silver, jewellery and paintings.
Great Yarmouth in the 1920s and 30s was somewhat in decline so it proved something of a mixed blessing that, when the war came and the town was heavily bombed, John Beazor decided to move the business. He came to the ancient University City of Cambridge, where he knew one or two other dealers, and in 1940 set up shop in Regent Street. Building work during the war was quite a challenge so it was greatly to his credit that he converted 78 and 80 Regent Street into one property, adding to the façade a Georgian doorway from a bombed out merchant’s house in Great Yarmouth. Sometime after the war his son Keith joined him and they worked successfully in the heady days of the 1950s and 60s, travelling to all parts of the UK and covering many thousands of miles annually. During this period the trade became more specialised, and Beazor’s concentrated primarily on fine 18th and early 19th century furniture, which continues to be their main line today. Business was then largely with the trade and John Beazor’s was an important call for the top London furniture dealers as well as many overseas buyers. At the same time it was also developing a wide range of clientele from museums, the University and Colleges of Cambridge and the private market throughout the UK and parts of Europe and North America.
John Beazor died in 1973. Sometime before that Keith’s son, Martin, had joined his father and they worked happily and effectively together until Keith’s death in 2007. With a wealth of experience, Martin is supported in the running of the business today by Bridget Villatoro and John Coleman.
In the 1970s and 80s the business exhibited at a number of antiques fairs in Colchester, at the National Exhibition Centre and the Kensington Antiques Fair. More recently it has exhibited at the British Antique Dealers Association fair, though unlike many businesses, it sees itself as essentially a shop-based business open 52 weeks of the year. For over a decade John Beazor has held an annual open day and exhibition in the comfort of its Regent Street showrooms. Held usually in November, this gives the business an opportunity to show its recent acquisitions with some seasonal hospitality.
The business continues to successfully deal in fine English furniture, clocks and barometers, on which its reputation was founded. It has developed its valuation and restoration services and works closely with interior designers, both in the UK and overseas. It has a comprehensive and active website and the internet provides a means through which good contacts are made and business done. John Beazor Antiques continues to enjoy the relationships it has and the friendships it makes in the course of its business. It greatly values the compliment made by a long standing customer that ‘Beazors are nice people to do business with’.
Martin is also a Fellow of the RSA (Royal Society of Arts).