John Bodenham

John Bodenham

Alan Shorthouse (Retired)

Alan Shorthouse

John Bodenham is a:
Member British Jewellers’ Association
Qualified Fellow Gemmological Association

John Bodenham made his first piece of Jewellery aged 13 whilst attending Moseley Road School of  Art (MSA) in Birmingham. This was the perfect school for a talented, artistic boy who was not over-enamored with academia! Here he learnt the basics of design and creativity, covering almost every branch of the arts.

His first employment was with the firm Alabaster & Wilson, a long established quality manufacturer of jewellery, as assistant to the works manager Bernard Howell. Here he learned to illustrate and design jewellery, sometimes for new production lines, and frequently re-designing customers’ own jewellery.

A two year spell of National service in the RAF as an instrument mechanic interrupted this experience, and on his return to Alabasters, he found his job had been filled by another ex pupil from MSA. So he took the opportunity to work at the bench learning and refining his practical skills. Here he met and made friends with Alan Shorthouse. As John had always been keen to start in business, when Alan spotted an opportunity in Wolverhampton to take over a repair concession in the retail business of T A Henn & Sons, they took the plunge, and in 1957 the partnership Bodenham & Shorthouse was born.

John had always been keen to manufacture jewellery. This ambition was realized to some extent, through meeting Martin Logan, who was at that time a retail assistant with TA Henn & Sons, and with whom Bodenham & Shorthouse would eventually set up as Martin Logan Agencies. This would prove to be the key that would enable Bodenham & Shorthouse to enter the world of jewellery manufacturing.

Bodenham & Shorthouse started off by making hand-made jewellery, but after purchasing casting equipment, they also began making charms, rings etc, the sort of the items that can only be achieved by casting, a technique then fairly new to the trade. By that time they had taken on several employees, and had achieved a diversity of  output. In the 1970’s they had produced charms representing  ¼ ounce, ½ ounce and 1 ounce blocks of gold. These would later be reinterpreted as gold / silver ingots with feature hallmarks, which become massive sellers prior to the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977.

It was at this time that the company felt the need to move from Wolverhampton back into the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham. Both partners had close personal associations with Birmingham, and were also attracted by the advantages of being able to access the unique facilities that the Quarter had to offer eg: bullion dealers, the Assay Office, and an abundance of skilled out workers including stampers, die-sinkers, engravers, diamond setters, polishers etc. At this time the company also became members of the British Jewellers Association.

Since then, despite the ups and downs of the trade, and the importation of foreign goods, Bodenham & Shorthouse have never looked back. Highly respected and always very busy, they have a casting service to the trade, a division specializing in corporate jewellery using precious metals, a section specializing in men’s jewellery, and a section devoted to bespoke, one-off, high quality specials.

In 1996 Alan Shorthouse retired, leaving John Bodenham in sole charge of the thriving company. With his dedicated & highly skilled workforce, John has continued to build the business, which has gone from strength to strength, and continues to do so in all areas, despite the current recession. As John says: “Diversity is our strength!”