In the 130 years plus of its existence, Bratt & Evans has been owned by 3 families, the Bratts, the Evans’s and the Grays.
The store was founded by Henry Bratt in 1860 on more or less the present site and was called H. Bratt & Son. He was joined in the firm by his son, Miles, who sadly, predeceased him. Henry lived originally at Riddings House but spent the latter part of his life at the Prince of Wales Hotel, Southport and died whilst on a world cruise in Melbourne, Australia.
He took into partnership his Fabric Buyer, Jack Evans, the firm was renamed Bratt & Evans and it was from Mr Evans that John Arthur Gray purchased the business in 1928.
John (Jack Lancaster) Gray, the elder son, joined his father (John Arthur) in 1936 from Harrods, and Donald came into the firm in 1946, both sons having served 6 years in the Services.
A complete modernisation and refit was carried out in 1949 but in 1951 J.A. Gray died after a long fight with cancer.
The store was trebled in size in 1961 when a new building on 2 floors was erected to the rear of the original. A further floor and lift were added in 1967.
In 1958 a travel agency was started in the store but soon outgrew the site and moved into the precinct in 1972. Knutsford was added in 1968 and Nantwich in 1979.
The Nantwich store, established in 1835, was purchased from the Harlock family in 1971 and, after modernisation has been a steady contribution to the prosperity of the company.
John Gray died in 1980 and Donald retired in 1987 but continued as Chairman until his death in February 2015 at the age of 92.
In September 2004, on reaching the end of the lease for the premises in the precinct, the Northwich travel agency came back into the Northwich Store and at the end of August 2005 it was decided to lease out the Knutsford building so consolidating the business into the Northwich and Nantwich Offices.
In 2008, after seeing the steady migration of business on to the internet, it was decided to close the Gray Travel after 50 years in the travel trade. In March 2014 the Knutsford Travel building was sold. The Bratts Company is now in the capable hands of Mr Tim Gray, Donald Grays son. Tims wife, Judy Gray has recently retired from the business along with Kate Burrows, Donald Grays younger daughter. Mr Martin Gray, John Grays son, retired in March 2014. Judy, Kate and Martin remain Directors of the company.