Bradshaw, George (DNB00)

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BRADSHAW, GEORGE (1801–1853), originator of railway guides, only son of Thomas Bradshaw, by his wife, Mary Rogers, was born at Windsor Bridge, Pendleton, Salford, on 29 July 1801. His parents taxed their limited means to give a good education to their only child by placing him under the care of Mr. Coward, a Swedenborgian minister; thence he removed to a school kept by Mr. Scott at Overton, Lancashire. On leaving school he was apprenticed to Mr. J. Beale, an engraver, who had acquired some reputation by the execution of the plates of 'The Art of Penmanship Improved,' by Duncan Smith, 1817. In 1820 he accompanied his parents to Belfast, and there established himself as an engraver and printer, but, not finding adequate occupation, returned to Manchester in the following year. His attention had been for some time directed to the engraving of maps, and in 1827 he determined to devote himself more especially to that branch of art. The first map projected, engraved, and published by him was one of Lancashire, his native county. This was followed in 1830 by his map of the canals of Lancashire, Yorkshire, &c. This map eventually became one of a set of three known as 'Bradshaw's Maps of Inland Navigation.' Soon after the commencement of the railway system, Bradshaw, the originator of railway guides, produced 'Bradshaw's Railway Time Tables' in 1839, a small 18mo book, bound in cloth, price 6d. In 1840 the name was changed to 'Bradshaw's Railway Companion,' which contained more matter, with sectional maps, and was sold at 1s. It was not published periodically, but appeared occasionally, and was supplemented by a monthly time-sheet. The agent in London for the sale of this work was Mr. William Jones Adams, who, it would appear, was the first to suggest the idea of a regular monthly book at a lower price, as an improvement on 'The Companion.' This idea was taken up by Bradshaw, and the result was the appearance in December 1841 of; No. 1 of 'Bradshaw's Monthly Railway Guide,' in the well-known yellow wrapper, a work which has gained for itself a world-wide fame. Another undertaking was 'Bradshaw's Railway Map,' produced in 1838. Among his other publications may be mentioned 'Bradshaw's Continental Railway Guide,' printed in Manchester, but of which the first number was published in Paris in June 1847; and 'Bradshaw's General Railway Directory and Shareholder's Guide,' which first appeared in 1849.

Bradshaw when a young man joined the Society of Friends, and was an active co-adjutor of Cobden, Pease, Sturge, Scoble, Elihu Burritt, and others in holding peace conferences, in the attempts to establish an ocean penny postage, and other philanthropic labours. Part of his time he devoted to the establishment of schools for the poorer classes. Bradshaw joined the Institution of Civil Engineers as an associate in February 1842. In August 1853 he went to Norway on a tour combining business and recreation, and on 6 Sept., while on a visit to a friend in the neighbourhood of Christiania, he was seized by Asiatic cholera, and died in a few hours. He was buried in the cemetery belonging to the cathedral of Christiania.

He married, on 16 May 1839, Martha, daughter of William Darbyshire of Stretton, near Warrington, and left a son, Christopher.

[Manchester Guardian, 17 Sept. 1853, p. 7; Minutes of Proceedings of Institution of Civil Engineers (1854), xiii. 145-9; Athenæum, 27 Dec. 1873, p. 872, 17 Jan. 1874, p. 95, 24 Jan. p. 126; Notes and Queries, 6th ser., viii. 45, 92, 338, xi, 15.]

G. C. B.