George Bradshaw

It might be thought that Michael Portillo's television series has raised the status of Bradshaw in the steamindex valhalla, but no—it was a chance find of Jack Simmons The express train in a Cromer seondhand bookshop. It is an excellent book, although it had obviously not been read by its previous owner. Before proceeding further it must be noted that Michael Portillo and his entertaining series on railway journeys are not based on the primary Bradshaw product, namely the timetable, but on a series of travel guides developed by Bradshaw as a sort of by-product: many of these are now being reprinted

Marshall states that born in Salford on 29 July 1801 and died in Christiania (now Oslo) from cholera on 9 September 1853.  Rly. Mag article (2, 243) gave brief details of his business. He was a member of the Society of Friends and an engraver. In 1820 he opened a business in Belfast, but returned to Manchester in 1822 and engraved maps. He married on 15 May 1839 and had two sons. His first Monthly Railway and Steam Navigation Guide was issued on 1 December 1841. Article mentions Robert Diggles Kay who worked with Bradshaw, but was treated as merely an employee.

Bracegirdle (Backtrack, 8, 210) article about Bradshaw appears to consider that Kay failed to be acknowledged, but one wonders how well researched this was as the place of birth is imprecise (the Railway Magazine article ibid firmly states Windsor Bridge, Salford. Bradshaw was apprenticed to Beale, an engraver in Manchester and was noted for his illustrations to Duncan Smith's The art of penmanship. Following work in Belfast he returned to Manchester and established a publishing and printing business which eventually became Henry Blacklock & Son. Robert Diggles Kay was the editor, and possibly the creator, of the railway guide. Kay was sufficiently well-known to justify memorial windows in the Weslyan chapel in Birkdale and a Methodist chapel in Salford. The date of the first edition of the Guide was either 1838 or 1839. Bradshaw was a Quaker and early issues avoided using the names of months based upon Roman deities, but these scruples were eventually thrown own. The author notes some of the changes made to the title. By 1850 "Bradshaw" had become a household word. Originally there was hostility from some of the railway companies and Bradshaw circumvented this by becoming a railway shareholder and by putting his case at company agms. In 1848 the abbreviations mrn and aft replaced am and pm and these were not altered back to the more general until the immediate post-WW2 period. There was a gap from No. 40 to Number 141 (March to April 1845) - presumably due to a typographic error, but rather than admit to a mistake the series continued from 142. Station names were subjected to fierce abbreviations: Cmbe, for instance. The Victorian issues were characterized by small type and poor paper. The writer notes some mentions to Bradshaw in fiction.

ODNB entry by G.C. Boase revised Philip S. Bagwell.
Peter J. Rodgers (Backtrack, 2007, 21, 253) cites: Lee, Charles, E. The Centenary of Bradshaw. Railway Gazette, 1940.(Ottley 7943).
John Rylands Library in Manchester has an extensive collection of the Guides.