Leaving York after 72 years: Family-run shop goes online only

Going from Goodramgate: Frank Wood in RA Braithwaite jeweller
2 Oct 2018 @ 3.43 pm
| Business, Shopping

A business that opened shortly after the end of the Second World War will soon vanish from York city centre.

Jewellers RA Braithwaite is closing its Goodramgate shop as owners Frank and Dianne Wood go digital only.

Braithwaite’s will continue sell jewellery, watches and clocks, book in repairs and offer valuations – but all through the website.

And to mark the transition, the shop is holding a major sale, with big discounts on all lines.

Future proofing the business

The shop on Goodramgate
RA Braithwaite’s online business has already proved a success with fairly minimal intervention and investment, Frank said.

This move to solely online retailing will “enable the business to be future-proof and continue to build the brand of RA Braithwaite for years to come,” he added.

The website already sells to Europe, the USA, Australia and beyond. It is to be updated and you can also follow the business on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.


RA Braithwaite will continue to operate a collection and delivery service for most customers, including for battery replacements.

Frank said: “We would like to thank all of our clients and customers for their continuous and loyal support over the last 72 years and we plan to maintain the service of their needs over the next 72 years!”

How it all began

This postcard shows Gillygate in the 1940s
Reginald Arthur Braithwaite was an instrument maker and rear gunner in the RAF during the war.

When he was demobbed in 1946 he applied his instrument repair skills to clocks and watches, founding RA Braithwaite. Together with his wife Joyce, he began by renting a small shop in Gillygate.

Here he cut up and draped one of her black silk petticoats over some empty boxes in the window, and displayed some of her jewellery.

The company quickly expanded to eight shops situated across York, Driffield, Scarborough and Bishop Auckland, and was primarily driven through a high volume of trade repairs including those from the most York retailers.

The company also grew a strong postal business with orders coming in from all over the country.

Reginald Braithwaite’s meticulous attention to detail saw him regularly visit all the shops to ensure customer service remained at a high standard.

Sadly, he died aged only 61. However his wife, daughter and son-in-law continued the momentum of the business to where it is today.