The firm of A. Brett & Sons was started by Jonathan Brett in 1860. They manufactured furniture and retailed it throughout East Anglia. In 1907, No. 42 St. Giles Street, a fine Georgian terraced town house, was purchased by Jonathan’s son, Arthur. The business has been run from there ever since. The beginning of the 20th century saw the firm prosper with, at its height, the workshop employing over 100 men. Arthur appointed his son, Frank, as managing director in the 1930s and the business continued to thrive, even establishing a New York showroom.
James Brett, the grandson of Jonathan Brett, continued in the family tradition of antique furniture, joining Maples antique furniture department in London after training at Norwich Art School. He then emigrated to Canada where he continued to deal. In 1966 he returned to Norwich, where he soon joined his father Frank at 42 St. Giles. Since his father’s death in 1979, James has been running the family business, continuing to sell fine antique furniture. In January 2015 James Brett announced his decision to sell the contents of his shop through the antique dealers Sworders on 17th Febuary 2015.