Scope and Content

Consists of day books 1871; financial statements 1881-1957; invoices 1928; labour records 1871-1941; premises records 1906-1945; materials records 1900-1949; commercial records 1882-1967; general correspondence 1922-1951; address book 1899-1920's; external agreements 1875-1954; patenting records 1870-1932; drawings of cultivating implements, harvesting machinery, livestock equipment, living huts, carts and wagons, trolleys and trucks, road sweeping machines, grindstones and fencing work n.d.[1800's-1930's]; registers and lists of production 1848-1960; manufacturing working papers 1959-1960; parts, repairs and works records 1896-1938; posters, notices and display matter for Reeves and other firms 1880-1952; house journals 1948-1968; press releases and services and sales bulletins 1948-1967; printing proofs and artworks 1890's-1954; photographs c.1900-c.1940's; records of shows and exhibitions 1851-1969; firm's history and events, societies and organisations 1950's; personal records 1844-1936.

Administrative / Biographical History

The firm of R & J Reeves & Son Ltd was established in 1808 and can be traced back to Thomas Peplar Reeves (c.1777-1849), a blacksmith. The firm was located in Bratton, 4 miles east of Westbury, Wiltshire.

By 1847 there was a smithy department, woodworking section and a machinery shop, it was estimated that the firm employed 6 people. Thomas's sons Robert and John joined him and by 1853 the firm had become known as R & J Reeves. The firm were exhibiting implements and winning medals. They catered for the farmers of South Wiltshire initially manufacturing simple implements, undertaking horse shoeing work and maintenance. The business grew from 1852 to the 1800's.

Two of Robert's sons, Thomas and Henry became partners in the business. The firm became R & J Reeves & Son by 1882. They did agency work for other manufacturers for example selling churns for Hathaway of Chippenham and steam engines for Brown and May of Devizes. They also had agents selling Reeves products. Robert died in 1896 and John in 1892. By the end of the nineteenth century the elevator business had become their most important activity.

Oswald and Nelson, sons of Thomas, and Robert son of Henry bought the firm in 1902. In the 1950's the company employed 40 people, and undertook agency work, repair and maintenance and manufactured drills, rakes, lamb creeps, troughs, racks, shepherd's huts and equipment for dairies and horticulture.

The firm went into receivership in 1970 and was sold. The sale included agricultural machinery, plant, blacksmiths tools and equipment, woodworking machinery and tools, agricultural spares, a lorry, scrap cast and 60 tons of scrap iron.


  • AC Accounts - day book, financial statements, invoices
  • AD Administrative records, including general commercial records, wages, premises
  • CO Commercial agreements, patents
  • DO Drawings
  • ET Technical records of products
  • MP Production records - drills, elevators, carts
  • P Publications PH Photographs
  • SH Records of shows
  • SP Social and personal records

Conditions Governing Access

Available for consultation


Compiled by Zoe Watson, March 2004

Other Finding Aids

A detailed catalogue is available at the Museum of English Rural Life

Conditions Governing Use

Please contact the Archivist

Related Material

Material is also held by the Wiltshire and Swindon Record Office, reference number 951