A Familiar Ring: The Jewellers of Jewish Bradford

Sydneys Jewellers, Rawson Square, Bradford

Sydneys Jewellers, Rawson Square, Bradford

Jeff Frankel runs the jewellery shop Sydneys which is situated at the Rawson Square side of The Oastler Shopping Centre, formerly John Street Market, at the top end of Bradford City Centre.

Jeff entered the jewellery business back in 1976. He lives in Leeds and his father in-law was Joseph Gordon who founded Sydneys Jewellers, in 1947.

Asked about Arensbergs’ jewellers, which was on Ivegate in Bradford, he said the business was sold to the owner’s son-in-law, Roger Mitchell. After this it was sold to Herbert Brown’s, then onto Abermale & Bond. The last Arensberg to run it was Merton Arensberg, who was the grandson of its founder Henry Arensberg. The business was initially founded in 1860, by Henry and his son, Louis. It was first based at the bottom of the old Post Office Steps in Hustlergate, and would later relocate to 32 Ivegate in 1899. The original windows, bearing the business name and date of establishment are still clearly visible, in gold lettering, as is a tiled mosaic in the entrance passageway.

Another long established company was Fowler & Oldfield. Although not a Jewish firm at first, it was however later taken over by Sydneys.
Fowler & Oldfield is based on Lower Piccadilly, near the corner of Kirkgate, a stones throw from the Wool Exchange and the old Forster Square. The building was originally owned by Arthur Nathan, who also had a fur, leather and sheepskin shop in the same block, called Peter Brunskill.

Arthur Nathan was a property landlord who owned several shops on the Piccadilly based block, these included Fowler & Oldfield. The Arthur Nathan Trust was set up in his honour to help those at a disadvantage in some way.

Across town on Godwin Street there was Langleys jewellers, who were founded just after the war, around the same time as Sydneys. Langleys was owned by Mel Davis.