Dennis Smith and Gareth Harris met in 1975 at the Sir John Cass School of Art in London.

Dennis was studying for a Diploma in Silversmithing and Jewellery at Sir John Cass. On leaving he went to work for K.Weiss as a gold box maker, before being appointed house designer, ‘The Artist’ at Edward Barnard and Sons, London’s oldest firm of silversmiths.

Gareth attended a pre-apprenticeship course at Sir John Cass. Serving a 5 year apprenticeship with Padgett and Braham, specialist gold and silver box makers, he was taught by Victor de Bossart, a descendant of French Huguenots.  

Working together at Edward Barnard and Sons in 1980 they decided to set up in business.

In 1981 they took on premises in 31 Hatton Garden

London’s metalworking district for over a thousand years, since armourers supplied the Knights Templar from nearby Fetter Lane.

31 Hatton Garden had been the workshops of R.Hodd and Son, little changed since Hodd had exhibited at the Great Exhibition of 1851. Hodd had taken over the workshop of John Edward Terrey, who had been in partnership with Samuel Hennell of the famous Hennell family of silversmiths working from the early eighteenth century.

While Smith and Harris were still bolting machinery to the floor, the first important commission arrived - to make diplomatic gifts for the new incumbent at 10 Downing Street, Margaret Thatcher.

Over the following years Smith and Harris have moved from being a specialist trade workshop, supplying important retailers and other silversmiths, to being designer craftsmen in their own right. Thirty five years on they have a worldwide client base.

When they are not in the workshop

Dennis has been a lecturer at The London Metropolitan University’s Silversmithing and Jewellery department, and has participated in the making of a film about hand raising for Goldsmiths ‘Hall’s ‘master class’ series. He is a keen musician, playing guitar and blues harmonica, which he also teaches when not playing. Dennis is an avid follower of Rugby Union and on the rare occasions he gets a day off, goes fly fishing. He lives in Sussex and is married with two sons.

Gareth is an amateur historian interested in urban history, and a London Blue Badge guide. He has published a guide to Spitalfields in East London for the City of London and has been a contributor on 'Kaleidoscope' and 'Mapping the Town' for the BBC. He is a director of the Spitalfields Historic Buildings Trust and an Expert Outside Advisor to the V & A. He is a past Chairman of the Conservation Area Advisory Group at the London Borough of Tower Hamlets and was Chairman of the Silver Society in 2005. He lives in London and is married with three sons.