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British Industrial History

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John Bradley

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John Bradley (1769-1816)

1769 John Bradley was born; he was son of a Stourbridge ironmonger, Gabriel Bradley (1726-1771).

1795 Bradley entered the iron business, trading at the Stourbridge Forge.

1802 He founded a new company, John Bradley and Co. He was the managing partner; finance was provided by Thomas Jukes Collier (1761-1845) and the trustees of his stepfather, Henry Foster (1743-1793), each with a third share in the company.

The company soon set up a forge, steam engine and mills and began by converting pig iron into wrought iron plates and rods for local industry. Expansion was rapid and leases were secured on further forges and land.

1813 the Stourbridge Iron Works obtained a contract to purchase the entire production of pig iron from New Hadley Furnaces for seven years at a guaranteed price

1816 John Bradley died[1].

1818 James Foster (1786-1853), son of Henry Foster and half brother of John Bradley, oversaw the construction of two new blast furnaces, thereby controlling all stages of iron production.

1819 James went into partnership with John Urpeth Rastrick in 1819 to expand Bradley's involvement in machinery production. Rastrick was the resident managing engineer of a new company, Foster, Rastrick and Co, built alongside the Stourbridge Iron Works.

1821 A new foundry was built to cope with the expansion of the business. The company produced: bedsteads, cooking plates, wheels and tools, rails and railway sleepers.

1831 Foster, Rastrick and Co. was formally dissolved on 20, June 1831. The assets were transferred back into the Stourbridge Iron Works with the foundry business continuing under the management of John Bradley and Co.

1837 James Foster became the sole owner of John Bradley and Co. The Stourbridge Iron Works continued to produce rods, bars and wires while the foundry worked on specialist rolling machines.

James's nephew William Orme Foster (-1899), inherited the £700,000 estate and under his stewardship, John Bradley and Co. continued to grow.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Correspondence of the Stourbridge Iron Works in 1830, edited by Paul Kelly[1]
  • Administrative/Biographical history of John Bradley and Co, Senate House Library, University of London [2]
  • Stourbridge & Its Historic Locomotives, by Paul Collins (Dudley Leisure Services. 1989))