Thursday, 10 March 2011

The 3rd generation - Mr Hermann Brandauer and Mr Sydney Petit

I have already mentioned that I am a member of the 5th generation of the Petit family to work at C Brandauer & Co Ltd and that we have a 6th generation non-executive director on the Board of the Company, and that my nephew did some work experience in the Company recently.

So far very little has been said about my Grandfather (a member of the 3rd generation) - rather the black sheep of the family - Mr Sydney Petit who was a Captain in the Warwickshire regiment during WWI.  Also, Mr Hermann Brandauer (3rd generation, son of Charles Henry Immanuel Brandauer). Today I have been reading the Board Minutes at the turn of the last century and found the following entries about them both and their brief involvement with C Brandauer & Co Ltd:

October 19th 1908

Mr Charles Brandauer raised "a most important question viz. that in the interests of the Company generally, it was essential that Mr Joseph Paris Sydney Petit, son of Mr Joseph H Petit, should in the near future, with the consent and approval of his Father, assist in the Management of the manufactory after his probation as Mr Joseph H Petit's pupil.  The matter was thoroughly discussed but no final decision was arrived at

January 4th 1909

The minutes state that Mr Joseph H Petit's son, Mr Sydney Petit, would probably be leaving for Germany at the beginning of the present year. 

However, this was not to be because in the Minutes of 22 March 1909 Mr Joseph H Petit reported that his son was now at the Manufactory acquiring a practical knowledge of the business.  The visit to Germany would be postponed for say two years.

May 8th 1911

Resolved
That Mr Sydney Petit be given a salary of £250 per annum, as Assistant Manager dated from his 22nd Birthday and to increase £50 per annum until it reachs £500 per annum, the matter then to come before the Board for further consideration.

Later that same year the following is minuted:

October 11 1911
Suggested qualification of Mr Hermann Brandauer as a Director of the Company.  Mr Joseph H Petit in felicitous terms said that on behalf of himself and the other members of the Board he should welcome Mr Hermann Brandauer as a Director of the Company directly the necessary qualification (as set forth in the Articles of Association of the company) had been complied with.

However, it took nearly two years for the Board to decide the following:

March 27th 1913

Resolved
That the Board considered Mr Hermann Brandauer too young and inexperienced to be appointed forthwith a Director of the Company.  They however trusted to have the pleasure of welcoming him in a few years time to a seat on the Board. 

But ...

May 4th 1914
... Mr Joseph H Petit in felicitous terms announced the wedding of Mr Hermann Brandauer which took place on April 28th last, and on behalf of himself and other members of the Board wished him all possible happiness.  He proposed with great pleasure that Mr Hermann Brandauer be elected a Director of the Company and in doing so he said that he had the cordial approval of the Chairman, Mr J L Petit, although seriously ill, and also the approval of his uncle Mr Frederick C J Brandauer.

However, with the outbreak of WWI Hermann Brandauer's appointment was sadly not to last long and at the Board meeting on 2 November 1914 both Brandauer directors, Uncle and nephew, were removed from being Directors of the Company, as well as all Brandauer family shareholders having to give up their shares within the Company.

Hermann Brandauer had two sons and I have met Mr Ernst Anton Carl Brandauer and his daughter Ruth who are most interested in the history and the future of the Manufactory begun by Mr Carl Heinrich Immanuel Brandauer in 1862.

Finally, it seems that in the minutes of the Board meeting dated June 3rd 1919 my Grandfather Captain Joseph P S Petit was recommended to be elected as a Director at the next AGM of the Company subject to his obtaining the requisite qualification in shares.  Finally, in the Minutes of June 22nd 1920 my Grandfather, Sydney Petit, along side his Father and his Uncle Mr Charles F N Petit, is listed as a director but it seems that perhaps the deed hadn't been officially done as the correct number of shares he required to enable him to be a Director only happened on June 8 1921.

Sadly, my Grandfather didn't remain a Director for long.  The last entry in the Minutes records him as a director on June 3 1924.  At that time my Father, Mr Joseph Adrian Letiere Petit, would have been three years old and his sister, Yvette, a little older.  Sometime in the 1920s Sydney Petit left for Rhodesia to train as a tobacco farmer, only to return in the 1960s when I met him as a small child.

WWI played a huge part in the lives of the 3rd generation of the Brandauer and Petit families.  It meant that Hermann Brandauer was not allowed to work for his family business as he was from Austria and it is thought that my grandfather Captain Sydney Petit, who fought in the war, was very much affected by it and perhaps that was part of the reason his Father, Joseph H Petit, thought him better away from England.  The Petit family were fortunate in having other 3rd generation sons to work at Brandauer, but alas, the Brandauers would never again work in the Company. 

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