Bernard Instone Career and Education




When he was only 7 years old Bernard was given an interest in jewelry by his brother Lewis who was a brilliant goldsmith; and first attended the Vittoria Street School in the academic year 1904-5 when he was 12. His last entry in the registers is for 1911. During this time he won a scholarship or free admission every year, the Kendrick scholarship of £10 in 1905 and the Lousia Ryland scholarship in 1908. He also won second place in the 1908 Messenger Prize awarded within the school for a backcomb. When he joined the school his elder brother Lewis was already there 1905 being an exceptional year for him too winning various prizes, gaining a special mention for memory drawing, a goldsmiths award of 5s for 2nd place, a 2s award for progress in his goldsmiths work and the headmasters prize for two weeks for the weekly exercise in memory drawing. He also won the messenger prize (£10) for a brooch in metal in 1905. There must have been huge competition between the boys!

After his brothers death he returned to the UK and worked as a teacher at his old school being employed to assist with the manual training classes on Tues/Wed and Thurday afternoons until the outbreak of WW1.

After the war, (1919) with help from his brother Reginald he set up Langstone jewelry at 27 Digbeth Birmingham (Tel Midland 2485) and worked there with his brothers Alec, who handled the business side and made some of the more commercial designs and Stanley.

He was made a freeman of the Goldsmiths' Company on 13 February 1936 and was then elected to the Livery 12 months later in January 1938. Being a Liveryman was, in the 20th century, an accolade, or acknowledgement, of a person's status within the craft.

A number of craftsmen and designers such as H.G. Murphy, Leslie Durbin and others were honoured in this way from the late 1920s to the present day. As Langstone grew so did the customer list due to both the good salesmanship and also the growing reputation of its designer, by the 1930's (married with a young family) he was working hard and selling to a broad range of clients including Sibyl Dunlop who he visited every Friday at her shop in Kensington, supplying her with made up designs already marked up with the SD mark ready for the retail market and 1940's Liberty became a customer after 25 years of trying to sell to them; around this time he opened a shop in Salcombe, Devon, which sold the cheaper range of his jewellery as well as paintings and the family had many holidays down there.

On 28 July 1944, he wrote to the College of Goldsmiths saying "... my brother - my sole remaining 'staff' - must be moved to other employment. My brother has been with me since I founded the business twenty-five years ago and has always had complete control of all matters other than the actual production ...". one assumes the rest of his staff had been called up for the war effort. In 1953 the business moved to Lode Lane Solihull where his sons gradually took more and more control within the business, John doing the sales and Paul remaining at the office doing more of the business side and in 1963 he handed over the reigns to Paul and retired from the business completel spending the rest of his life in the Cotswolds with his wife Barbara.