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Bradshaw, George Smith (1717–1812)

Bradshaw, George Smith

London; cabinet maker, upholder and tapestry maker (b.1717–d.1812)

George Smith Bradshaw was a relation of William Bradshaw (1700-1775), although the exact nature of the connection is unclear. William Bradshaw never married and had no legitimate children but when William died in 1775 George Smith was named as one of his executors.

His first known London address was in Greek Street, Soho (1737– 59); from 1755 if not earlier the number was 59, which was previously the address of William Bradshaw. William had semi-retired to Lancashire in 1743 and seems to have been in effect a sleeping partner from then on. George Smith Bradshaw was also recorded at 80 Dean St with store room at Sutton Street, Soho Square (1755); Dean Street (1759–93); at Crown Court, Dean Street (1769– 87); as Bradshaw, Smith & Son at 69 Dean Street (1784–95); and no. 91 (1795).

Either he or William was probably the ‘Mr. Bradshaw tapestry weaver in Soho Square’ mentioned in the notebook of John, brother of Robert Adam, on his visit to London in 1748. Between 1757 and 1766 Bradshaw registered apprentices with the Joiners ‘Company with a premium of between £31 10s and £84 {Kirkham, Furniture History (1988), Appendix I, p. 178. Genealogy Index].

Bradshaw was in partnership with Paul Saunders as Smith Bradshaw & Saunders, probably from 1751. Together they supplied tapestry panels of ‘Pilgrimage to Mecca’, dated 1756 and 1758, to Holkham Hall, Norfolk. In 1755 a fire occurred at the firm's workshop, reported in the Public Advertiser, 8 February 1755; presumably the same Messrs. Bradshaw & Co. whose workshop and house adjoining ‘in Hog Lane, Street. Giles, was consumed by fire. ’In that year Bradshaw and Saunders took out a Sun Fire policy for £2,500, £2,000 on stock in warehouse and sheds, and £500 on that in storeroom at Sutton Street, Soho Square.

The partnership between Bradshaw and Saunders was dissolved on 15 October 1758 [London Gazette] with Bradshaw continuing in Greek Street and Saunders, trading from Soho Square at the corner of Sutton Street, with William Ince, whose later partner, John Mayhew, was apprenticed to Bradshaw and in his service in 1756.

An enterprising and apparently fairly wealthy tradesman, Bradshaw acquired a number of sites in what is now Carlisle Street in 1756, rebuilding houses and workshops there in 1757, and moving in in 1758, having left 59 Greek Street and 80 Dean Street. Perhaps to pay for this rebuilding, he mortgaged all his property to William Bradshaw (for whom he was to act as executor and trustee of estates) and Robert Andrews of Hanover Square on 25 March 1758. He was able to assign it back on 23 November 1763. He was again buying up leases and rebuilding houses in Carlisle Street between 1764– 74. He purchased insurance policies on house and stock for £4,200 in 1763 and in 1765 on his house, warehouses and stock of wood for £3,600, and on 5 July 1786 for £2,800, of which utensils accounted for £2,200.

In 1766 he was involved in a matter of arbitration between Lawrence Dundas and Samuel Norman, the upholder. In 1768–69 he was admitted freeman of Lancaster. From 1760 onwards supplied furniture to Robert Clive, fitting out his London House in Berkeley Square in 1760 (£900) with further small payments in 1765-66. He also held East India stock in 1764, probably on Clive’s behalf. In 1795, aged 78, he retired to Pershore, Worcestershire, but was still purchasing property in 1799 at 1 Crown Court from the Duke of Portland.

He died in In 1812, at age of 95, leaving two sons and two daughters, all legitimate; £1,500 to his eldest son, John Bradshaw Smith, and £2,500 to his second son, and perhaps successor, George Smith Bradshaw.

The firm of G. S. Bradshaw & G. Smith worked for the Rt Hon. Mrs Leigh (1791–92), supplying carpet, hanging curtains and bedcurtains, and calico cases for furniture at Grove House, Stoneleigh, Warwickshire. Otherwise little is known about Bradshaw's furniture or commissions, with the exception of furniture supplied between 1764–74 to the 1st Lord of the Admiralty.

Source: DEFM; Kirkham, ‘London Furniture Trade’, Furniture History (1988), p. 74; Fairclough, ‘A Suite of Furniture for Clive of India’, Furniture History (2000).

The original entry from Dictionary of English Furniture Makers, 1660-1840 can be found at British History Online.