W Bryer & Sons were a firm of gold refiners. The business is said to have been established in 1815, probably by a Thomas Sirrell, and was located at 54 Barbican. In the early 1870s Sirrell’s firm, by then at 53-4 Barbican, was taken over by John Bryer, a former watchmaker.
Bryer was listed as a gold and silver refiner and smelter. He had a chronometer-making business in the adjoining house. After John Bryer’s death in 1894 at the age of 87, his business was carried on by William, Thomas and Henry Bryer.
The firm was at this time listed as being “gold and silver refiners, wholesale and retail jewellers and watchmakers – diamonds, jewellery and plate bought or valued; bookbinders’, dentists’, jewellers’ and photographers’ waste refined and purchased”. Their premises were rebuilt in 1900.
A frieze showing the process of gold refining which was saved from the original building is to be found in White Lyon Court facing the Barbican YMCA.
There’s still a W Bryer & Sons at 25A Hatton Garden London EC1, who are now wholesale jewellers and silversmiths.