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Records of Thomas Bradbury and Sons, silver platers

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Reference BR 1-334
Covering dates 1771-1850
Held by Sheffield Archives
Extent 30½ boxes, 54 volumes
Creators Thomas Bradbury and Sons, silver platers, of Sheffield

Thomas Bradbury and Sons, Silver Platers (Bradbury Records). The family of Bradbury was associated with the silver-plating trade almost from its beginning in Sheffield, and the firm of Thomas Bradbury and Sons was the lineal descendant of Matthew Fenton and Co. On the death of Matthew Fenton in 1795 the firm became T. Watson and Co.; Thomas Bradbury joined as a partner in May, 1795, and the style was changed to Watson and Bradbury. The Watson interest ceased in 1832.
The records consist of two groups: the business papers, and the pattern books. The latter are mainly printed, and the firm's own collection has been supplemented by other firms' catalogues, collected by Mr. Frederick Bradbury. Before it came to the Library, the collection had been worked over by Mr. Frederick Bradbury, when writing his 'History of old Sheffield plate', 1912. Records including:
Deeds, Agreements: relating to the firm and its agents, 1785-1850 (17).
Accounts: Day and cash books, 1771-1841 (7), stockbooks, 1825-1850 (2), ledgers, 1776-1832 (3); London agency-monthly accounts and stock reports, 1818-1847, invoices, 1815-1850 (20 bundles: representative years, selected items only for intermediate years).
Correspondence: 1794-1850. This is extensive and includes a great deal of routine matters and orders. It includes letters of clients and others to Sheffield, and to the London agency, and letters between the firm in Sheffield and their London agent.
Miscellaneous: Notebooks (2) of American shipments, c1844; notes of silver assay, 1817-28; calculation books (candlesticks and teapots).
Pattern Books: Mainly printed, c.1775-1840. Most of these relate to silver-plated and Britannia metal ware, but include also others dealing with glassware, opticians' goods, horn handles, gold and silversmiths' designs, stoves and grates, wood panels, brass and copper ware (55).
History: Original account of the silver plating industry, compiled by R. M. Hirst, between 1820-1832. The author was intimately acquainted with the industry.
Family: Household and personal bills, 1841-1846; letters, handbills, etc., c1820-1845.

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