Bradshaw & Blacklock

Bradshaw & Blacklock was established in 1838 when George Bradshaw took on his apprentice William Blacklock as a partner in his printing and publishing business.

The company moved to Brown Street, Manchester in 1839, where they began production of Bradshaw's Railway Time Tables, followed in 1840 by a fuller edition under the new title of Bradshaw's Railway Companion, which included sectional maps. In December 1841, the company produced the first issue of Bradshaw's Monthly Railway Guide, which became famous worldwide. Other publications included Bradshaw's Continental Railway Guide, known colloquially as ‘the foreign Bradshaw’, and Bradshaw's General Railway Directory and Shareholders' Guide.

The small format and small print of the Monthly Railway Guide led to ‘Bradshaw’ becoming a byword for incomprehensibility: the guide was mocked in Punch and Vanity Fair and was the subject of music-hall jokes. Actress Fanny Kemble was asked what she read to send her to sleep, and replied: ‘Why, the foreign Bradshaw, of course.’ The monthly Bradshaw was published until 1961 and played a large part in making the British time-conscious.