Our Story

H.L. Brown was founded in Sheffield in 1861 by Harris Brown, who started by repairing watches and clocks in the industrial Lower Don Valley quarter of the city.

1861

Mr Harris Leon Brown came to England from Poland with an introduction to Alfred Beckett & Sons. He started by travelling around as a watch maker.

1867

H.L. Brown begins trading at 29 Gower Street, Sheffield.

1876

H.L. Brown situated at 24 Angel Street and in 1877 connected directly to Greenwich, with the introduction of the 1 o’ clock time signal.

Circa 1888

H.L. Brown moves to 71 Market Place, Sheffield after previous moves from 29 Gower Street (1868) and 24 Angel Street (1876). This is the earliest known image of H.L. Brown’s store.

1896

H.L. Brown moved to 65 Market Place, Sheffield.

1906

First recorded mention of a branch at 92 Regent Street, London.

1917

H.L. Brown died. His son, Bernard Brown succeeded him.

1920s-1930s

H.L. Brown branches open in Doncaster and Derby. Bell Brothers of Doncaster is acquired and joins the family business.

1930s

H.L. Brown continues to move with the times and the shop has a transformation.

1923

Colonel Denis Brown (Bernard Brown’s only son) joins the business.

1940

The Blitz. The shop in Sheffield was bombed and the business moved to 70 Fargate, Sheffield.

1941

The new shop at 70 Fargate opens.

1957

Harris Brown’s great Grandson, Michael Frampton joins the business as a Chartered Accountant and later serves as Managing Director from 1972.

Michael, currently the firm’s Chairman, has had a distinguished career in the watch and jewellery industry.  He was Master of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers in 1997, serving on its Court for over three decades. This organisation is dedicated to furthering horological education and innovation.

In 1994 Michael served as High Sheriff of South Yorkshire in 1994/5, devoting his energies towards crime prevention by focusing on improving the nurturing of the young.

1986

H.L. Brown moves to 2 Barker’s Pool, its current location.

1989

James Frampton (Michael Frampton’s son and Harris Brown’s great great Grandson) joins the firm after qualifying as a gemologist and training in the jewellery trade in Switzerland and London. James Frampton serves as Managing Director from 2001 onwards.

2011

H.L. Brown directors in 2011, the 150th anniversary year, taken at the Sheffield shop.

From the left, David Oswald (Company Secretary), Neville Woodhouse, James Frampton, Michael Frampton and Richard Pool (Director at the company’s Barbara Cattle store in York).