BRACHER & SYDENHAM55 & 56, Minster Street, later, 26 & 28, later, 30 & 30a, Queen Victoria Street, and later still, 24 Queen Victoria Street, Reading
Bracher & Sydenham - Reading - 1876
Bracher & Sydenham - Reading - 1893
This business was established in 1790 by James Trendall (Trendell) at 55, Minster Street, Reading. In 1838 Trendall indentured Reuben Bracher to be his apprentice, and having completed his term, Bracher stayed with Trendall, eventually becoming his partner. Following the death of James Trendall , Reuben Bracher became sole owner of the business and changed the name to that of his own.
An earlier advertisement from James Trendell seeking an apprentice:
J. Trendell - Reading - 1821
Joseph Edward Sydenham was born in Salisbury, Wiltshire in 1844. His mother, Elizabeth, was Reuben Bracher's sister and he came to Reading around c.1855 to live with his unmarried uncle, no doubt to be groomed to take over the business, and that is exactly what happened, as he was to stay with the firm until his dying day.
In c.1870, Reuben Bacher made his nephew a partner, and restyled the firm's name to Bracher & Sydenham. In 1875 they extended their premises to take in No.56 Minster Street, opening the extension on the 21st April of that year.
Reuben Bracher died in March 1888. He is remembered with two memorial windows at Christ Church, Reading, and between the windows is a brass tablet the designer of which was Joseph Sydenham.
Joseph Sydenham's skill as a designer of artistic silverware soon built him a reputation, and Royal Warrants followed including those for Queen Victoria, Edward VII (as Prince of Wales and when King) and George V. A local story has it that Queen Alexandra once tried to visit Bracher & Sydenham's whist on an official visit to Reading, but was disappointed to find that they were closed for the traditional half day early closing on Wednesday afternoons.
In the later years of the 1890's, Sydenham, now alone, took his long term employee, Albert Edward Cheer, into partnership, and they were later joined by John Edward Page. In 1906 the partnership was dissolved, and Sydenham continued alone until his death in 1913. The business, however, continued, and in 1924 they relocated to 26/28 Queen Victoria Street, and as from 1926 the firm was noted as being in the hands of Henry Byron Crouch. Crouch died in 1939 aged 88 years.
In 1974 Bracher & Sydenham moved again, to 24, Queen Victoria Street, the new shop being officially opened by Arthur Negus, of BBC TV's 'Antique Roadshow' and 'Going For A Song' fame. Bracher & Sydenham were later absorbed into the Goldsmiths chain of jewellers.
Bracher & Sydenham retailed its own line of electro plated wares under the name of 'Royal County Plate'.
Away from the world of silversmithing, Joseph Edward Sydenham has a special place in the hearts of many of the residents of Reading, and beyond, as in 1871 he was the convener of the inaugural meeting of Reading Football Club, and was to take on the role of first honorary secretary of the club.
The business of Bracher & Sydenham entered their first mark, 'JES above AEC' (Joseph Edward Sydenham and Albert Edward Cheer) contained within an oblong punch with clipped corners, with the London Assay Office on the 28th November 1901. On the 20th February 1904 they entered 'B & S' contained within a heraldic shield, and on the 4th and 20th October 1911 they entered a series of four marks, all being 'B & S' contained within three conjoined ovals.INTERESTING "FIND” AT THE READING MUNICIPAL BUILDINGS.– While searching the vaults beneath the Municipal Buildings for suitable storage for utensils, in connection with the new Dairy School of the University Extension College at Reading, Mr. G. W. Webb (Chairman of the Survey Committee of the Corporation), discovered some very interesting property. In one of the vaults were two old oak chests. about 5ft. by 3Â½ft., and in one of them were found several dozens of heavy pewter dishes and platters, the largest dish being about 2Â½ ft. in diameter ; and a number of pewter spoons. Some of the articles have been partially cleaned, and reveal inscriptions, coats of arms, &c., proving them to be the property of the Corporation; and a careful inspection of the “plate marks” has led Mr. J. E. Sydenham (of Messrs. Bracher and Sydenham) to fix their date circa 1680. In another part of the buildings, Mr. Webb discovered no less than 19Â½ dozen of old “ Sheffield plate ” (silver rolled on iron) table spoons, all stamped with the borough arms, which Mr. Sydenham considers to be about 60 years old.
Source: The Berkshire Archaeological Journal
- Volumes 1-2 - 1895The Reading Worthless Cheque Case
Huntley Kitchen, 20, formerly a lieutenant in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, has been sentenced to three months' hard labor for attempting to pass worthless cheques with Messrs. Bracher and Sydenham, of Reading, and others, as previously reported. Every means was employed to bring it in a case of overdrawal based upon precedent, but neither the Recorder or the jury could be induced to take that view.
Source: The Watchmaker, Jeweler and Silversmith
- 1st May 1893