BROWN MUFF & Co
Brown Muff was a department store in Bradford where my father worked after Busby’s closed.
Brown and Muff’s could trace its history back to 1814 when a clothes shop was set up in Market Street, Bradford, by Elizabeth Brown. Her son married Betsy Muff and the name changed to Brown Muff although some called it the Harrods of the north.
The firm acquired new premises which still stand today, and started selling carpets, bedding and furnishing, and other household goods. Additional shops, in Skipton and Bingley where opened in 1963. Good advertising and promotion was of great value to Brown Muff and Co with window displays that were always worth stopping to look at. I remember an advertisement case in the train station at Forster Square.
Brown, Muff & Co was taken over by Rackhams in 1978 and closed in 1995.
Five members of the family were decorated during the world wars but one Victoria Cross stands out.
Thomas Harold Broadbent Maufe was awarded the Victoria Cross. The VC is the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be given to British and Commonwealth forces.
He was 19 years old, and a second lieutenant in the 124th Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery during the First World War.
‘On 4 June 1917 at Feuchy, France, Second Lieutenant Maufe, on his own initiative and under intense artillery fire repaired, unaided, the telephone wire between the forward and rear positions, thereby enabling his battery to open fire on the enemy. He also saved what could have been a disastrous occurrence by extinguishing a fire in an advanced ammunition dump caused by a heavy explosion, regardless of the risk he ran from the effects of gas shells in the dump.’
By the end of the war he had achieved the rank of major, one of the youngest to hold that rank. After the war Maufe completed his interrupted education at Clare College, Cambridge and the Royal School of Mines.
Maufe served in the Home Guard as a volunteer during World War II in 28th West Riding (Otley) Bn. He was killed in an accident with a misfiring trench mortar during training at the age of 43 on 28 March 1942 near Ilkley.
He is buried in Ilkley Cemetery.’
Morph to Muff from Maufe
As the business and family prospered they left Bradford for the more upmarket Ilkley and changed their name to Maufe. This action inspired the local satirical ditty:
“In Bradford ’tis good enoof
To be known as Mrs Muff
But in Ilkley by the river Wharfe
‘Tis better to be known as Mrs Maufe!”
The business remained as Brown and Muff’s.
For most conspicuous bravery and initiative on June 4th 1917. Under intense artillery fire, this officer on his own initiative repaired, unaided, the telephone line between the forward and rear positions, thereby enabling his battery to open fire immediately on the enemy. 2nd Lieutenant Maufe further saved what might have proved a most disastrous occurrence by extinguishing a fire in an advanced ammunition dump, caused by a heavy explosion, regardless of the risk he ran from the effects of gas shells which he knew were in the dump. By his great promptitude, resource and entire disregard of his own safety, he set an exceptionally fine example to all ranks.