Before 1860, James Street was little more than a route between the two villages of High and Low Harrogate, lined with a few residential properties. Following developments in the 1860’s and 1870’s, James Street rapidly became an important shopping street, whose premises were filled with exclusive businesses catering for Harrogate’s wealthy residents and visitors. This trend was sealed with the opening of such businesses as Standing the Grocer in 1882, Marshall & Snelgrove in 1906, and Ogden the Jeweller in 1910. Before the Great War, James Street was known as the Bond Street of the north, and was surfaced with wooden blocks to keep down the noise of horses hooves. Today, it is still home to businesses of high quality.
James Roberts Ogden founded the firm which bears his name in 1893 and acquired the building in James Street in 1910. An expert in precious metals, he accompanied Howard Carter’s 1922 expedition to Egypt which discovered Tutankhamen’s tomb and helped with the study of the gold artefacts found there. As advisor to the British Museum, he helped to restore gold objects in many European and American museums. In 1934 Ogden’s remodeled some of the Queen Alexandra’s jewellery for Princess Marina of Kent and in 1937 handled the sale of a tiara once belonging to the Empress Josephine. They also made a cigar case for Winston Churchill and two silver tureens for Eleanor Roosevelt. In 1940 James Roberts Ogden 2nd took over the firm which still remains a family business.