Nicholas Snowman OBE, chairman of Wartski’s, founded in Bangor in 1865, visited Bangor this week where he received a guided tour of the city’s Jewish heritage.
Nichola’s great grandfather, Morris Wartski, arrived from Poland around 1882 opened his first jeweller’s shop at premises at No.21 High Street, Bangor (today the City Dental Practice) in 1895.
Two of Morris’ sons Harry and Charles also went into the business they and opened two further Wartski’s stores in the fashionable seaside resort of Llandudno in 1907.
In 1909, Morris’s daughter, Harriet, married Emmanuel Snowman. Under his guidance, Wartski’s opened a branch in London in 1911. It retained the name Wartski’s of Llandudno and became one of the world’s most respected and eminent jewellers.
Their son Kenneth (1919–2002) became chairman of Wartski’s and, in turn, his son, Nicholas (born 1944) is currently chairman.
Educated in London and Cambridge, Nicholas Snowman has had a distinguished career as an arts administrator, including director general of the Southbank Centre. He has been recognised for his work on both sides of the Channel, receiving honours from the British and French governments. He divides his time between London and Paris.
In 2015, Nicholas was recognized for his services to business with an Honorary Fellowship from Bangor University and he retains active links with the University.
Visiting the University this week, Nicholas was given a guided tour of the city’s Jewish heritage by expert Professor Nathan Abrams.
Abrams, who himself hails from London, has been working at Bangor since 2006 where he has overseen various initiatives in promoting the Jewish history of north Wales. Most recently, this has included the map, and free downloadable app and exhibition The Jews of Bangor.
Professor Abrams said: “It was a real pleasure to meet Nicholas Snowman and an honour to guide a member of the Wartski family around the city.” He added: “There is still much work to do and anyone who would like to support the effort can do so here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/north-wales-jewish-history.”
To this day, Wartski’s remains a family run firm and it has spacious premises in St. James’ Street in London, dealing in fine jewellery, gold boxes, silver and works of art by Carl Fabergé among others. Clients over the years have included Jacqueline Onassis, Hollywood stars and the Royal Family. It even featured in a story by Ian Fleming – another well-known customer.