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  • Place of origin:

    Birmingham (made)

  • Date:

    1916-1917 (hallmarked)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Sydenham Brothers (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silver, engraved, with applied decoration in red and yellow gold

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 125b, case 1

Object Type
Silver brooches were popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They often had inscriptions such as 'Mother', like this one, or of names characteristic of the period, such as 'Florence', 'Maud', 'Beatrice' and 'Grace'.

George and Robert Sydenham formed a partnership with Claude Tebbitt which ended in 1875. When George died in 1910, he left an estate worth the then large sum of £14,729, an indication of the firm's prosperity. The firm, which had premises in Tenby Street, Birmingham, became a limited company in the same year. An advertisement in 1913 describes the firm as manufacturers of diamond and gem-set jewellery. It ceased trading in 1930.

Birmingham was the largest centre of jewellery making in Britain. Estimates of the number of people employed in the trade and its branches in 1913 ranged from 40,000 to 80,000.

The First World War had a huge impact on jewellery making in Birmingham, as many of the younger men joined the armed forces. Yet the trade continued, and many firms made buttons, badges and parts for munitions. Women, already working in significant numbers in some parts of the trade, took on further work. However, the union and employers agreed in June 1916 that 'no women or girl labour employed during the War is to be retained to the detriment of male labour'.

Place of Origin

Birmingham (made)


1916-1917 (hallmarked)


Sydenham Brothers (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Silver, engraved, with applied decoration in red and yellow gold


Height: 2.5 cm, Width: 5 cm

Object history note

Made by Sydenham Brothers, Birmingham

Descriptive line

Mother brooch

Labels and date

British Galleries:

Brooches such as these would have been given as sentimental gifts on the birth of a child. Silver brooches were cheap to produce and were very popular by the 1880s. However the applied gold letters and flowers on the 'Mother' brooch made this one more expensive. [27/03/2003]


Jewellery; Birth; Metalwork; Europeana Fashion Project


Metalwork Collection

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