Wednesday, 10 February 2010


C Brandauer & Co Ltd has employed apprentices for more than a hundred years. It is interesting to read the Indenture of Apprenticeship from 1890 for John Hardie. The document itself is A4 in size and hand written with a dip pen (let's hope it was one of ours) on thick lined paper in copperplate hand writing and against each signature at the end is a small circle of red sealing wax. A very different looking document from those issued today to our current apprentices.

The apprentice mentioned above, John Hardie, was 16 and had to have the permission of his Father, Thomas, to "place and bind himself to Charles Henry Immanuel Brandauer, Gustav Sutorius and Joseph Letiere Petit of New John Street West". He was "to learn the art of business of a commercial clerk and to serve in their office from the day of the date hereof until he the said apprentice shall attain the age of twenty one years that is to say for the term of five years to be computed from the eighteenth day of February last and to be fully complete and ended."

Further on in the document it says that his Father, Thomas, will provide sufficient meat, drink, clothes, mending, washing, lodging, medical attendance, medicine and all other necessities for the term of his apprenticeship. John's weekly wages are also mentioned and for the first year it would be ten shillings per week (.50p), and would increase by two shillings per week (.10p) each year during his apprenticeship.

As a young apprentice clerk with C Brandauer & Co Ltd he may, eventually, have been allowed to write in the enormous ledgers that were completed daily recording all the sales and purchases of the Company. Therefore, perhaps, somewhere in the archive, within the pages of those remaining ledgers of the period, the handwriting of John Hardie is to be seen...

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