Well, hi, Jonathan (if it truly be you) and welcome to the board. I’d forgotten “bran tub” which in my youth at fairs in the UK were full of wood shavings though clearly bran husks were used earlier, hence the name, so this could have legs.
“Mr and Mrs Veneering were bran-new people in a bran-new house in a bran-new quarter of London. Everything about the Veneerings was spick and span new. All their furniture was new, all their friends were new, all their servants were new, their plate was new, their carriage was new, their harness was new, their horses were new, their pictures were new, they themselves were new, they were as newly married as was lawfully compatible with their having a bran-new baby, and if they had set up a great-grandfather, he would have come home in matting from the Pantechnicon, without a scratch upon him, French polished to the crown of his head.”
You quote part of this in your novel (which I thought excellent and I am not being Uriah Heepish here. I’m surprised no one has lifted the website-Beth-worked-for idea only without the wised-up descriptions, heh heh).
LH, it was clearly presented in the novel as a learned aside, not a fiction, and google confirmed the conjecture hence my post. I once told someone Tiger Beer was a southeast Asian brew from reading Anthony Burgess’s Time for a Tiger and was reprimanded for automatically taking fiction as fact. Admittedly, they could have been right but when I eventually went there it turned out it was a Singaporean beer. Now you can determine this sort of stuff immediately using the internet. This not to say novelists get things wrong or make stuff up. Len Deighton said in one novel JFK’s “Ich bin ein Berliner” was derided because a Berliner is also some sort of pastry. I read a German-speaker denying this and saying it was entirely taken in the spirit in which it was meant.
Mr Raban, in an earlier post I, er, posted:
“Regarding anglicised surnames, I am reading a novel called Waxwings by Jonathan Raban in which a major Brit character called Tom Janeway says his surname comes from Hungarian Szany but the SurnameDB I linked to in my original post has no mention of this. It is a novel, though. http://www.surnamedb.com/surname.aspx?name=janeway Is this site a reliable source?”
It could well be anglicisation to a proximate and already existing English surname unless you made it up which is absolutely your right as a novelist. Fuck us around all you want!