Catalogue Finding Number14D96
Office record is held atBradford, West Yorkshire Archive Service
DescriptionIncluding financial 1818-1960, Benevolent Fund sub-committee minutes 1939-1965, Managers' Council minutes 1971-1975, Annual General Meeting minutes 1957-1986, Directors' minutes 1976-1986, printed matter c1880-1976 with 'The Brown Muff Bulletin' catalogue 1927-1930 and 'The Beam' staff magazine 1933-1976, apprenticeship indenture between William Wheatley and William Muff c1770, papers re partnership and staff 1845-1964, customers' bills 1822-1929, menus and miscellaneous 1886-1951, historical material, notes and articles 1881-1957, scrapbooks of news cuttings, photographs and advertisements 1934-1974, photographs and illustrations 1814-1970s, register of directors 1940-1980, share register 1977-1983
Extent0.25/11 boxes and 3 volumes
AdminHistoryBrown Muff & Company originated with the opening of a small shop in Market Street, Bradford by one Elizabeth Brown in 1814, to sell "underclothing, fustian goods and corduroy". She was listed as a clothes broker in Baines's Trade Directory in 1822 and also as possessing a circulating library. In 1834 her son Henry took over the running of the business. Over the next ten years the business expanded considerably. 1845 saw the death of Elizabeth Brown and her son went into partnership with T.P. Muff that same year. In 1847 Brown & Muff purchased the shop next to theirs for their own use. By 1850 the firm was now styled "linen and wool drapers, tailors and hosiers, portmanteau, trunk and travelling bag makers'. In 1870 the old premises were demolished, and a new building built on the same site. By this time the firm had expanded into carpet making as well as the above. 1871 saw the retirement of Henry Brown and the re-naming of the firm as Brown, Muff & Company. 1878 saw the death of Henry Brown and in 1889 T.P. Muff retired. He died in 1901. The firm had added bedding and furnishings to its stock by this date. 1906 saw the firm become a limited company. 1909 saw the Muff family revert to using an older form of their surname, Maufe. The period 1900-1940 saw rapid expansion. In 1916 additional premises were purchased on the corner of Ivegate-Tyrrel Street, and in 1926 the Market Street-Bank Street corner site was added. 1925 saw the opening of a company sports ground at Farsley, Leeds, but this failed due to lack of support. 1927 saw the opening of a Brown Muff beauty parlour and a Chapel of Rest was opened in 1930. More additional premises were purchased at the corner of Darley Street in 1934. In the post-war years the company took advantage of the burgeoning electrical goods market and opened a department opposite to the main store for this purpose in 1950. Showrooms for this were opened in Howard House, on the corner of Broadway and Bank Street in 1956. Hardware and Kitchen furniture departments were re-located here also. New offices were added in 1957, a Food department in 1958, expansion made into various adjacent property at No.1, Ivegate that year and workshops and a warehouse building added in 1959. In 1963 the company's first branch store opened at High Street, Skipton. Another branch was opened at Bingley in 1963. In the 1970s the prevailing economic climate began to mitigate against small firms in favour of large organisations. In view of this, and taking into account a sharp downturn in the company's profits, in 1978 a decision was taken to accept a takeover offer from Birmingham-based Rackhams. The store thus beacame the Bradford branch of this chain. In early 1995 Rackhams parent company, the House of Fraser Group, closed their Bradford premises.
Related MaterialSee also collection 47D95 and WYB796



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