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J.J. Mechi, 4 Leadenhall Street, London

Mechi, 4 Leadenhall Street, London

J.J. Mechi, 4 Leadenhall Street, London 

John Joseph Mechi was born in London in 1802 to an Italian father who held claim to royal connections both in Italy and England, in the household of King George III. Residing at 4 Leadenhall Street, London, Mechi had also been in the employ of Kensington Palace claiming personal connections with, amongst others, Queen Charlotte.

In 1818 he became a clerk in a mercantile house in Walbrook where he stayed until setting up his own business in 1827, gaining the reputation as a prominent cutler. The firm also produced many smaller household items such as writing and vanity boxes and shaving equipment.

A sharp businessman, Mechi covered all bases, his superior range served the aristocratic and royal connections he had made earlier in his life, whilst simultaneously producing less expensive alternatives for the broader market.

Between 1830 and 1840 he made his fortune from the 'magic razor strop' until sales faded at the end of the Crimean war and a fashion for beards. Furthermore, in 1840 he took out a patent for 'improvements in apparatus to be applied to lamps in order to carry off heat and the products of consumption'.

Having finished a study of English farming, in 1841 he purchased a flagging 130 acre farm in Tiptree, Essex and applied learnt principles of steam power and deep drainage to turn the farm profitable. A scientific approach that gained acknowledgement from the press, appointment to the shrievalty of London and election to alderman of the city. He was a member of the council of the Society of Arts, and was a juror in the department of art and science at The Great Exhibition of 1851 and at the Paris Exposition Universelle of 1855. His 1857 publication, How to Farm Profitably, had in various forms a circulation of ten thousand copies.

Soon after, in 1859, a ten year partnership was formed with Charles Bazan. Ending in 1869 he changed direction again and moved to 112 Regent Street.

Mechi suffered heavy losses due to a series of unfortunate events including the failure of the Unity Joint Stock Bank where he was a governor, connections with the Unity Fire and General Life Assurance Office and a few poor seasons at Tiptree farm such that he was never to become Lord Mayor of London and had to resign his aldermanic gown. He suffered to such an extent that in 1880 his affairs were put into liquidation. He died on Boxing Day 1880 and was buried in Tiptree Church on New Year's Day 1881.

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