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William Eli Bradley

William Eli Bradley and Catherine Simpson married on 5th June 1892 at St. Peter’s Church in Clerkenwell. They both gave their address 305 Bartholomew Buildings. William’s occupation is glasscutter, Catherine’s isn’t stated, which was not unusual at that time. William’s father, Joseph, is described as a carman and James Simpson as a London Porter. The witnesses were James Simpson and Hannah Irons.

William seems to have broken away from the family trade of draymen, left Staffordshire and by 1891, was boarding in 5 Upper Vernon Street, St James, Clerkenwell, London, working as a glass cutter. (Next door at Number 6 is a William Lea, also a glass cutter, born in Stourbridge).

It is very speculative of course, but maybe he originally went to work for one of the glassworks in the Wordsley Green area:
“Wordsley, on the Stourbridge road, about a mile SSW of Kingswinford, and one and a half miles W of Brierley Hill, is a large modern village, and has in its vicinity several glass, coal, and iron works. Wordsley Glass Works, first established by Messrs Bradley, Ensall, and Holt, are the oldest in the county, and there are some old established glassworks at Audnam, now belonging to M & W Grazebrook.”  [From History, Gazetteer and Directory of Staffordshire, William White, Sheffield, 1851]

Farmiloe’s lead and glass factory was a little further south of Upper Vernon Street, in St John’s Street –  is it possible that this was where William worked and met his future bride, Catherine Simpson? Both Catherine and her father, James, worked as glass warehouse assistants and were living in Clerkenwell in 1891.

Hanway Place, looking towards Hanway Street. The site of the business is on the left.

William and Catherine had ten children. Their four eldest children were born in Clerkenwell and by February 10th, 1900, the family were living in Walthamstow where Alice was born, followed by five more children.

In 1901, they were living at 1 Thorpe Terrace. In 1911, they were living at 57 Hale End Road. Their second son, Albert James, died when only a year old and Samuel died in 1911, a couple of months before the  census when he was only 9 years old. Their youngest chid, Frank, was born after the 1911 census in the following September.

William set himself up in Hanway Place as a glass decorator. Round the corner in Hanway Street, he started a social club for his workers which still exists today and is known as Bradley’s Spanish Bar.

His picture is still there on the wall opposite the door as you go in, and next to the bar, there is a family photograph of him, Catherine and their children, taken on the day of their Diamond Wedding celebrations in 1952.

After successfully fighting the developers over the years, the bar launched an appeal in April 2020  during the coronavirus pandemic, and the enforced closure of bars, to enable them to keep going. Proprietors of historic pub on Hanway Street launch crowdfunder to re-open after lockdown.


We have a copy of a large group photograph of the guests at their Anniversary celebration in 1952, but we do not know who most of the people are. Were Catherine’s Simpson siblings or her Whitehill cousins there? Perhaps William’s siblings were guests.

We also have a set of pictures which we think might date from c1948 and again don’t recognise many of the people: Bradley Gallery
If anyone knows who they may be, we will be very pleased to hear from you!
Week 10: Strong Woman

Week 10: Strong Woman

I have been fascinated by the story of my great x2 grandmother, Catherine Whitehill, born in Glasgow on the 31st May 1847. She had a tough life judging by where she lived, yet she raised 9 children to adulthood in 3 cities, Glasgow, Edinburgh and London, at a time when infant mortality was high.

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The Bradleys of Shropshire

  Bradley is far from an unusual surname and tracing them has been difficult, especially when births and marriages cannot be found!! This research follows the line back through certificates, census returns and parish registers. Neville Lewcock, grandson of...

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Alice Mary Bradley 1900-1993

  The paternal ancestry of Alice Mary Lewcock née Bradley. Carpet weavers, draymen and glassworkers from Shropshire to Walthamstow via Kidderminster and Camberwell. Alice Mary Bradley married Francis James Lewcock, son of James and Amy Lewcock. She was the...

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The Bradley Diamond Wedding 1952

  We do not know who most of the people are in this picture of the guests at their Diamond Wedding Anniversary celebration in 1952. Were Catherine's Simpson siblings or her Whitehill cousins there? Perhaps William's siblings were guests. 1. Irene Lewcock née...

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Kidderminster weavers

  Sarah Gamson, future wife of Joseph Bradley and grandmother of William Eli, was the daughter of Thomas Gamson and Sarah Nott. She was born in Kidderminster on the 3rd December 1837 and baptised on the 26th of December at St Mary’s, in Kidderminster. Thomas and...

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Bradley Gallery

  These photographs all seem to have been taken at the same time. We can recognise Kate and William Bradley, Frank and Alma Bradley and Alice and Frank Lewcock. Who are the other people? Where were the pictures taken? What was the occasion? We think it might have...

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Catherine Gray Simpson

Catherine Gray Simpson, future wife of William Eli Bradley, was born on the 6th September 1872 at 10 David Street in Bridgeton, Glasgow, the oldest child of James Rae Simpson and Catherine Gray Whitehill.

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The Whitehills of Rottenrow

  Catherine Gray Whitehill's parents as named on her marriage certificate were John Whitehill and Elizabeth Christie.  In the census returns after her marriage, her year of birth is consistently given as 1847, unfortunately just before official registration began...

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