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Thomas Bradbury & Sons Ltd

The business started as Fenton, Creswick & Co, which was the partnership of Matthew Fenton, Richard Creswick and William Watson. Entering their first mark in 1773, they were registered as silversmiths and Sheffield platers at Mulberry Street; these makers were the second to appear on the Sheffield Assay Office registers). William Watson became a sleeping partner and by 1789 the firm changed as Matthew Fenton left and Edward Oakes replaced him, and the name altered to Fenton, Creswick, Oakes & Co.

The aforementioned partnership dissolved in 1795 and the partnership of Thomas Watson, James Fenton and Thomas Bradbury I was formed; Thomas Bradbury (I) had been a former apprentice of the firm. James Fenton left this partnership almost immediately and Thomas Bradbury became Watson’s co-partner, with the firm named Thomas Watson & Co to indicate Watson’s seniority. Thomas Bradbury’s son, Thomas Bradbury II, and the nephew of Thomas Watson, William Watson, later joined the partnership in the early 1800s.

In 1831 William Watson retired and Thomas Watson left, and the business was continued by Thomas Bradbury I and Thomas Bradbury II under the name Thomas Bradbury & Son, active at Arundel Street, Sheffield with London showroom at 12 Gough Square, Fleet Street; the first mark under this name appeared the same year as the death of Thomas Bradbury I, 1838.

Bradbury continued to make Sheffield Plat items despite the appearance of electroplated silver, and he displayed a minor selection at the Great Exhibition in 1851. Thomas Bradbury II took out an electro-plate license from Elkington in 1853.

Upon the death of Thomas Bradbury II in 1855 the prior additional partners, John and Edward Bradbury (the sons of Thomas Bradbury II), changed the firm name to Thomas Bradbury & Sons.

By 1877 the partners of the firm were Thomas Bradbury III (Joseph Bradbury’s brother), Edward Bradbury and John Sutherland Henderson with Henderson leaving in 1888, dissolving the partnership. The firm was managed by Walton Turner Bradbury, Joseph Bradbury Jr and Frederick Bradbury (three of Joseph Bradbury Sr’s sons).

The business became a limited liability company in 1905 and the name changed to Thomas Bradbury & Sons Ltd. Thomas Bradbury III died as a retired silver manufacturer in 1905, with achievements including Sheffield Assay Master and a president of the Sheffield Silver Association; in addition to being a bibliophile and silver collector. These characteristics were shared with his partners as Frederick became an authority on Sheffield Plate and wrote the important book "A History of Old Sheffield Plate". The company has been regarded as the oldest Sheffield silver-plate trade.

Surviving the Depression, the family firm provided silverware with a modern appearance, in addition to reproducing silverware replicating the details of Charles II spoons.

The Second World War saw the retirement of the directors Joseph Bradbury Jr and Frederick Bradbury, and it was said the company was to be handed to a nephew, S. W. Turner, however this did not proceed.

The business closed in 1943 and the dies and tools were purchased by Atkin Brothers.

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Proud Members of

International Federation of Art and Antique Dealer Associations CINOA
National Association of Jewellery UK's trade association NAJ