Document ReferenceBt
TitleRecords of William Brandt's Sons and Co. Ltd, merchant bankers, 1809-1934
Extent71 volumes and 15 boxes
AbstractThe collection includes circulars and copy correspondence sent by E H Brandt and Co. Ltd and William Brandt's Sons and Co. Ltd, merchant bankers trading in Russia and Argentina. The remaining material in the collection comprises other administrative records, correspondence of Brandt family members and a set of banking directories.
Access ConditionsMuch of the collection has not been catalogued and a number of items in the collection are very fragile. It has therefore been necessary to restrict access to parts of the collection pending full cataloguing, repair and preservation. The series of commercial circulas and correspondence (Bt 1) and banking directories (Bt 2) are open for consultation, though material less than 100 years old may be restricted due to Data Protection issues. Readers with an interest in the rest of the collection are advised to contact us, stating their particular area of research, for further advice.
Admin HistoryMerchant bank, William Brandt's Sons & Co. Ltd, was established by a German mercantile family. E H Brandt opened his first office in London in 1805 where his postal address was Batson's Coffee House. A branch of the firm had also been opened in Archangel, Russia in 1802. In 1861 the company became insolvent but Augustus Brandt and others managed to secure 10,000 pounds to save the company.

The firm traded exclusively with Russia (particularly in Archangel, Riga and St. Petersburg) until 1875 when it began trading in Argentinean grain movements and meat refrigeration. It also had interests in sugar and cotton mills. It took over the Calcutta house of Scholvin and Co. in 1886 and thereby extended its interests to India. The company had the name William Brandt's Sons and Company Limited at the time with offices at 4 Fenchurch Avenue in the City of London.

Brandt's was smaller than many leading merchant banks operating in London in these years. It had capital of 0.35 million pounds in 1880 rising to 0.75 million pounds by 1904 and one million by 1914. Brandt's belonged to the Accepting House Committee that was set up at the beginning of the first world war and acceptances accounted for a substantial part of its business. By 1914, acceptance liabilities in Russia accounted for less than 10 percent of Brandt's business and the largest portion of acceptance business was with the United States (almost 35 percent).

The bank is first mentioned in the London Banks directory in 1894. In that year its partners were Alfred Ernst Brandt, Arthur Henry Brandt and Augustus Ferdinand Brandt. Henry Bernhard Brandt and Augustus Philip Brandt also became partners in 1895 but Alfred had ceased to be a partner in the following year. Rudolph Ernst Brandt joined the firm in 1898, replacing Arthur.

Brandt's is no longer in existence but the date of the winding up of the company is not known. It was still trading in 1957.
Custodial HistoryThe greater part of the company's core archive has apparently been lost. What survives is a series of account books at the British Library of Political and Economic Science and this collection, at The University of Nottingham's Department of Manuscripts and Special Collections. This collection was acquired in several parts through the agency of members of the University's teaching and research staff in January 1983 and May 1991.
DescriptionThe collection comprises:

Commercial circulars sent to Brandt's, 1829-1934 (Bt 1/1).

Copy correspondence to addresses within Britain, 1915-1919 (Bt 1/2).

Copy correspondence to addresses in Russia other than St. Petersburg, 1914-1916 and 1922 (Bt 1/3).

Copy correspondence to addresses in St Petersburg, 1914-1916, 1918-1923 (Bt 1/4).

Printed London banking directories, 1870-1918 (Bt 2).

Administrative, legal and financial commercial papers of Brandt's including shipping lists, contracts, receipts, accounts and bills, c.1809-c.1838 (Bt 3).

Correspondence and other papers of members of the Brandt family, 1833-1856 (Bt 4).

The collection provides rich details about the business of an Anglo-German merchant bank in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Of particular significance is the depth to which the collection records Brandt's business activities in Russia.
MgtGroupBusiness records
MgtSubGroupBanking and Commerce
ArrangementFull sorting and listing of all series has yet to be undertaken. Those that have are arranged in chronological order.
TermAcceptances - Russia
Acceptances - England
Banks and banking - England
Banks and banking - Russia
Bills of exchange - England
Bills of exchange - Russia
FindingAidsThis description is the only electronic finding aid available for this collection and copyright on the description belongs to The University of Nottingham's Department of Manuscripts and Special Collections. A draft list is available of series Bt 1 from the Keeper of Manuscripts and Special Collections.
ReprodnNoteReprographic copies can be supplied for educational use and private study purposes only, depending on access status and the condition of the documents.
ConditionMany of the volumes have decayed and damaged bindings and a significant number of the loose papers are in fragile condition.
Related MaterialLondon School of Economics, British Library of Political and Economic Science: financial records of William Brandt's Sons and Co. Ltd, 1814-1957 GB 0097 BRANDT
Publication NoteStanley Chapman, 'Merchant Enterprise in Britain' (Cambridge University Press; Cambridge 1992)
Stanley Chapman, 'The Rise of Merchant Banking' (Unwin Hyman; 1984)

Click the links below to view related name indexes

Click the links below to view related place indexes

CodePersonNameDates of existence
NA132William Brandt's Sons and Company Limited; merchant bankers
NA133E H Brandt and Company Limited; merchant bankers
NA132William Brandt's Sons and Company Limited; merchant bankers
NA133E H Brandt and Company Limited; merchant bankers
NA75770Brandt ; family; merchants
PL81/St Petersburg/Russia
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