A SILVERMITHS in Teddington who supply sterling silver tableware and accessories to the rich and famous opened its workshop to the public to mark the owner's 50th year in the business, along with his 65th birthday.

The open day at M C Hersey & Son in Railway Road took place on Thursday, November 11 and visitors were invited to join Michael Hersey and his son Stewart for a celebratory glass of champagne between 10am and 8pm.

It was an opportunity for an exclusive view of their latest silverware collection, said to be contemporary in design yet created with tradition. They will demonstrate how the basic pieces are made, some of which have been spun and created from a single piece of silver.

Visitors can buy items or place orders from catalogues or the collection on show.

They range from quirky Tiffany style key rings and chunky salt and pepper mills to silver and crystal fluted vases and bowls. Visitors will receive a 10 per cent discount if they spend over £100.

At 15 years old, Michael began an apprenticeship in 1954 as a silver spinner at William Comyns, Soho. In 1971 he joined with silversmith David Mills and opened a workshop in Rawston Street, Clerkenwell, then moving to Church Street, Twickenham in 1974 to manufacture and retail silverware.

Michael's son Stewart joined them in 1981 and in 1983 David left the company. Michael and Stewart moved to the larger premises in Railway Road, Teddington in 1987.

Silverware from M C Hersey bears its own hallmark and until recently has only been available in exclusive stores. Celebrities who own their silverware include Barbara Streisand, who bought the Ivorine' salt and pepper mills, and Claudia Schiffer who requested a pair of Capstan sterling silver salt and pepper mills on her wedding list.