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.
The ancestry of William Eli: The Bradleys
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.
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.
The descendants of William Eli Bradley and Catherine Gray Simpson
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.
|Bradley's Spanish Bar
||Bradley's Spanish Bar
||Hanway Place, looking towards Hanway Street.
The site of the business is on the left.
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. The Bradley Diamond Wedding
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!