TitleThomas Bradbury and Sons, Silverware and Cutlery Manufacturers, Sheffield
AdminHistoryThe company's origins date from the late 18th century with its roots lying in the Sheffield silver manufacturing firm Fenton, Creswick and Company (later Fenton, Creswick, Oakes and Company of Mulberry Street), which was one of the original companies to enter a mark at the newly opened Sheffield Assay Office in September 1773. This firm later became known as Matthew Fenton and Company. On the death of Matthew Fenton in 1795, the firm became [Thomas] Watson and Company, with the firm registering a mark at Sheffield Assay Office in July 1795. Thomas Bradbury became a partner in the company in May 1795 (alongside Thomas Watson and James Fenton). By 1822, the style of the firm was changed to Watson and Bradbury. William Watson and Thomas Bradbury registered a mark for the re-styled company at Sheffield Assay Office in January 1826.

The Watson interest ceased in 1832 and, by 1833, the firm had become Thomas Bradbury and Son, silver and plated ware manufacturers, with its base relocated from Mulberry Street to 24 Arundel Street, Sheffield, and with offices also at 30 Bouverie Street, London (the London operations of the company switched to 12 Hind Court in the late 1840s). The Thomas Bradbury and Son mark was first registered at Sheffield Assay Office in February 1832. The name of the firm altered to Thomas Bradbury and Sons in 1863 - in September of this year a revised mark was registered at Sheffield Assay Office to reflect this change. The firm registered revised marks at the assay office in 1867, 1878, 1889 and 1892.

Thomas Bradbury and Sons became particularly well known for reviving many earlier styles of spoons in the early 20th century. By 1906, the firm had become a limited company. The company was closed down in 1943, with its dies and tooling bought by another Sheffield silver manufacturing firm, Atkin Brothers.
DescriptionAgreements and other legal documents, etc., 1766 - 1869 (BR/1)

Production / Order records, 1793 - 1812 (BR/2)

Financial records, 1771 - 1942 (BR/3)

Correspondence, 1787 - 1969 (BR/4)

Catalogues (or Pattern Books) of other firms acquired by Frederick Bradbury, 18th - 20th cent. (BR/5)

Miscellaneous, 1823 - 1973 (BR/6)
Date1793 - 1909


Extentc. 308 items
AccessConditionsAll items are open unless otherwise stated. Some items are available via microfilm or digital copy.
RelatedMaterialRelated Material at Sheffield Archives:

Thomas Bradbury and Sons, Silverware and Cutlery Manufacturers, patter / description books, 1900 - c. 1946 (Ref. X282).

Thomas Bradbury and Sons, price list of silverware, undated (Ref. MD6537/2).

Correspondence of Frederick Bradbury (former partner of Thomas Bradbury and Sons Limited and author of the ''History of Old Sheffield Plate''), 1928 - 1930 (Ref. MD6803-6804).

Atkin Brothers (pattern books, price book and cost book), 1836 - c. 1934 (Ref. X281).

Atkin Brothers (Silversmiths) Limited catalogue, 1930s (Ref. SY599/B4/6).

Sheffield Assay Office, 1773 - 2008 (Ref. SAO).

Secondary sources available in searchroom library:

Sheffield Assay Office, The Sheffield Assay Office Register: A copy of the register of the persons concerned in the manufacture of silver wares, and of the marks entered by them from 1773 to 1907 (Sheffield: William Townsend and Sons, 1911) (Ref. SHE BUS).

Sheffield Assay Office, Sheffield Assay Office 1773 - 1973 (Sheffield, 1973) (Ref. SHE BUS).

Leader, R. E., History of the Sheffield Cutlers' Company (2 vols.) (Sheffield: Pawson and Brailsford, 1905) (Ref. LEA LOCAL O).

Bradbury, Frederick, History of Old Sheffield Plate, Being an Account of the Origin, Growth and Decay of the Industry and of the Antique Silver and White or Britannia Metal Trade, with Chronical Lists of Makers' Marks and Numerous Illustrations of Specimens (London: Macmillan and Company Limited, 1912) (Ref. BRA BUS O).

Various other secondary printed sources on the Sheffield cutlery industry are also available.

Related Material at Sheffield Local Studies Library:

Bradbury, Frederick, Newspaper Cuttings, p.65 (details of Thomas Bradbury and Sons' expenditure, 11 Apr 1905), p.25 (trade card of firm) (Ref. 942.74 SF).

Sheffield University BA disseration entitled ''An Economic History of T Bradbury and Sons (Sheffield Platers) 1770 - 1850'' by Mr David Porter, 1983

Newspaper Cuttings relating to Sheffield, vol. 22, p.20 (article on Thomas Bradbury and Sons' collection of old Sheffield plate loaned to the museum) (Ref. 942.74 SF).

Newspaper Cuttings relating to Sheffield, vol. 27, p.254 (letter and photograph concerning proposed demolition of premises of firm, taken from Sheffield Telegraph, 30 Jan 1937, pp.7-8) (Ref. 942.74 SF).

Thomas Bradbury and Sons, List of prices of best electro-plate etc., manufactured in Sheffield by the most competent workmen (Sheffield: Leng, 1889) (739.2.SST).

Thomas Bradbury and Sons, Price List of Silverware: latest designs (Sheffield: Pawson and Brailsford, 1900) (Ref. 739.2.SST).

Thomas Bradbury and Sons, Price List of Silverware (1900) (Ref. TRC BRAD).

Thomas Bradbury and Sons, Catalogue of Plated Goods [c. 1900] (Ref. 739.2 SSTQ).

Thomas Bradbury and Sons Limited, Catalogue of reproductions of antique silver, repairs of old Sheffield plate, solid silver and electro-plated spoons and forks (Sheffield, 1907) (Ref. 739.2.SST).

Thomas Bradbury and Sons Limited, Catalogue of reproductions of antique silver, repairs of old Sheffield plate, solid silver and electro-plated spoons and forks (Sheffield: Pawson and Brailsford) [Early 20th cent] (Ref. 739.2.SQ).

Thomas Bradbury and Sons Limited, Old Sheffield plate and antique silver made in Sheffield exhibited at the British Industries Fair 1935 (Sheffield: Pawson and Brailsford, 1935) (Ref. 739.7.SST).

Thomas Bradbury and Sons Limited, Catalogue of Silver and Electro-plated Goods [20th cent] (Ref. 739.2 SST).

Thomas Bradbury and Sons Limited, Catalogue of Solid Silver Goods [20th cent] (Ref. 739.2 SST).

Various books and secondary printed sources relating to the cutlery and silver manufacturing industry are also available (contact the library for further details).

The following book does not appear to be available via Sheffield Libraries but is worth noting:
Thomas Bradbury & Sons Ltd., Sheffield, England, 1736-1924 (1924)
CustodialHistoryThis collection is a mixture of donated and deposited material, being added to Sheffield Libraries collections in a number of consignments: March 1943, January 1947, January 1950, December 1958 and July 1959. The major part of the loose paper, correspondence, etc, were hastily sorted out and brought to the library when the firm was turning large quantities of material to paper salvage in 1942.

Acc. 26495-26501 (BR/227-239) deposit
Acc. 29820-30074 (BR1-236) donation
Acc. 33188-33243 (BR/240-299) donation
Acc. 41466-41497 (BR/109b, BR/167-168/5, BR/171-176, BR/178-191, BR/194, BR/201, BR/220, BR/230-235, BR/300-312) donation
Acc. 42211-42215. (BR/313-317) donation
ArchNoteCatalogue upgraded by Peter Evans, October 2010.
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