TitleJ. R. Bramah & Co. Ltd, Aircraft, Motor and General Sheet Metal Workers, Sheffield
AdminHistoryThe roots of the company can be traced back to the mid 19th century. Henry Bramah came to Sheffield in 1844 from Rotherham, having served his apprenticeship as a tinplate worker. He found employment with a firm of Ironmongers at 75-77 Fargate, Sheffield. Later, he appears to have acquired the firm and established Henry Bramah, Ironmonger, at 77 Fargate. (Sheffield directories from 1852 list Henry Bramah as a 'tinner, brazier and coppersmith', trading from 77 Fargate).

Henry's eldest son joined him in 1866 and the firm became Henry Bramah and Son. By 1903, two other sons (James and Joseph) joined the firm and it became a limited company with a capital of £10,000. Later in 1903, the eldest son died. The surviving brothers James and Joseph took over the retail and manufacturing business respectively. The retail business was to fail at an unknown date, but Joseph continued the manufacturing business on his own at the City Copper Works in Chapel Walk, Sheffield.

In 1911, the company employed about 40 people and took out a lease on premises at 127 Devonshire Street (a continuation of Division Street). During and following the First World War, the firm turned to the manufacture of parts for armoured cars and later motor cars. In 1920, Joseph's son, Laurence Bramah, joined the business which continued the motor parts trade and also served as general sheet metal workers.

By 1936, the company had become a manufacturer of parts and various tanks for the aircraft industry. This resulted in huge demand for the resources of the business both during and after the Second World War.

In 1953, Gordon Bramah joined his father in the firm and was able to pioneer the use of titanium both in aircraft and in the chemical industry. By 1965, the firm had moved out of Sheffield to a larger site in Killamarsh, Derbyshire. At this location, three different businesses operated, namely: the manufacture of parts for aircraft and in particular jet engines; the design and manufacture of chemical plant, in particular tubular heat exchangers; and for a limited period the production of stainless steel household utensils. Over 500 people were employed on the Killamarsh site.

By 1980, the company had developed operations in Australia and the USA. The Sheffield business was sold to the International Nickel Corporation in 1988.

Universal Metal Sprayers was another Bramah family owned company set up to exploit a process of protecting steel from corrosion. This business operated from Cavendish Street, Sheffield (and later Tyler Street, Wincobank, Sheffield). Its largest contract was the treatment of hydrogen cylinders used to inflate barrage balloons during the Second World War. The firm ceased to exist during 1980s.

(Source: information supplied by a former chairman of the company and descendant of the founder, Henry Bramah)
DescriptionBramah Family Papers, 1905 - 2002 (X440/1)
Business Records, 1903 - 1975 (X440/2)
Advertising/Publicity Papers, [1903 - c. 1970] (X440/3)
Universal Metal Sprayers, Sheffield Papers, [c. 1955 - c. 1970] (X440/4)
Extent41 items
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