EB Odds & Ends

A Newsletter of Eagles Byte Historic Research

April 1997, No.19


When a well-known Transylvanian count decides to move to London, he packs a copy (in his coffin, perhaps.)

When Phileas Fogg sets off from London's Reform Club to encircle the globe, he consults a copy.

But a certain London consulting detective, puzzling out a cipher related to a particular book, has the finest praise:

"Had the volume been an unusual one, he would have sent it to me. Instead of that, he had intended...to send me the clue in this envelope. He says so in his note. This would seem to indicate that the book is one which he thought I would have no difficulty in finding for myself. He had it- and he imagined that I would have it, too. In short, Watson, it is a very common book...So we have contracted our field of search to a large book, printed in double columns and in common use."

"The Bible!" I cried triumphantly."

"Good, Watson, good! But not, if I may say so, quite good enough!...the editions of Holy Writ are so numerous that he could hardly suppose that two copies would have the same pagination. This is clearly a book which is standardized. He knows for certain that his page 534 will exactly agree with my page 534."

"But very few books would correspond with that."

"Exactly. Therein lies our salvation. Our search is narrowed down to standardized books which anyone may be supposed to possess."


"There are difficulties, Watson. The vocabulary of Bradshaw is nervous and terse, but limited. The selection of words would hardly lend itself to the sending of general messages. We will eliminate Bradshaw."

We, however, will take a closer look at George Bradshaw. The game is afoot!

Railroads were still several decades away when George Bradshaw was born, on July 29th, 1801, in Windsor Bridge, Salkford, Lancashire, England. He would pass through his childhood and youth not knowing of locomotives or railways (to use the British version of railroads). And he would simplify their use for thousands of passengers, including the fictional Dracula, Fogg, Watson and Holmes.

He was an only son, (most sources mention no sisters) born to a family without a lot of money, and he would have to learn a profitable trade without taking too much time about it. He must have displayed some aptitude for learning, because his parents apprenticed him to Mr. Coward, a Swedeborgian minister, then transferred him to study in the school of a Mr. Scott, in Overton. Armed with whatever knowledge Scott had to impart, George was next apprenticed to Mr. J. Beale, Engraver. Beale's reputation had been established a short time before, in 1817, when he provided the plates for Duncan Smith's The Art of Penmanship Improved.

A few years later, in 1820, the Bradshaws pulled up stakes and moved to Belfast, hoping to see George established there as a printer, but a living proved to be elusive and they all recrossed the Irish Sea to Manchester the following year, where he set himself up in business as a printer.

Sometime during the next few years Bradshaw discovered two passions, one for the Quakerism, and one for making maps. The former would provide him with a guiding force for the remainder of his life, and the latter would lead to business success, making the name Bradshaw known in households throughout Britain and Europe.

In 1827 he designed, engraved, printed and published a map of his native Lancashire. England's first steam-locomotive railway, connecting the Durham towns of Stockton and Darlington, had gone into operation only two years previously. 1830 saw the publication of Bradshaw's Maps of Inland Navigation. And it was in this same year that the railway came to Manchester, with a vengeance. It was on the opening day ceremony for the Liverpool-Manchester railway, September 15th, that British statesman William Huskisson fell in front of the locomotive Rocket in Manchester, was seriously injured, and died a few hours later. Bradshaw could possibly have witnessedd the accident.

By the mid-1830s the railways were was making inroads in stage and mail coach travel. Between 1836 and 1838 life became more and more complicated as 44 railway companies were established in Britain. London's first terminal, Euston Station, opened on July 20th, 1837. Twenty five years later Marleybone, St. Pancras, King's Cross, Paddington, Victoria and Waterloo terminals connected London with its outlying regions. Isambard Kingdon Brunel pushed through the Great Western Railway between 1838 and 1841, linking London to Bristol. Like superhighways in our own day, railways altered the face of the capital, destroying neighborhoods and displacing their residents. There were compensations for some strata of society. The weekend visits to the country became feasible for those who could afford them. But the country estates, with their army of servants, had to run on a schedule if they were to function at all smoothly. Which meant that the arrival of guests had to dovetail with the houses' routines. The physical and social countryside was being transformed, and new landscapes called for new maps. Maps of both distance and time.

George Bradshaw, Engraver, printed his first railway map in 1838. His first timetable, available in a binding for 6 pence, came out the following year. Being a Quaker, Bradshaw considered the convention of giving names to the months a pagan custom, so a typical date in the schedule would be in the form of, "10th Month, 19, 1839." Religion and Belief before Commerce. 10th Month, 25, 1840, saw the publication of the first edition of Bradshaw's Railway Companion, complete with sectional maps and selling for one shilling. Fourteen months later Bradshaw's Monthly Railway Guide was in terminals and booksellers' shops. The guide itself was reissued only sporadically, but monthly updates could be purchased by the traveler and the shipper. Soon the guide became ubiquitous and Holmes and Watson could easily assume that all but the most humble home would contain a copy, in its distinctive yellow wrapper. In June of 1847 Bradshaw opened a distribution office in Paris for the new Bradshaw's Continental Railway Guide, although it was still printed in Manchester. At it's peak in 1848, Bradshaw's empire also included the Bradshaw General Railway Directory and Shareholders Guide.

Poverty long behind him, Bradshaw began using his wealth for humanitarian purposes. In keeping with his Quaker principles he, along with other activists, began sponsoring peace conferences. The establishment of schools for the poorer classes became another pet project. He also lobbied for the creation of a transatlantic postal rate of one penny. In February of 1842 he became an associate of the Institution of Civil Engineers. Business continued to flourish and Bradshaw began to travel himself, presumably with a yellow jacketed volume at hand.

In August of 1853 he traveled to Norway on a combination vacation and business trip. Stopping to visit a friend in Christiania (now Oslo), on September 6th, he complained of feeling unwell. A few hours later he was dead, struck down by Asiatic cholera.

George Bradshaw was laid to rest in Christiania Cathedral, leaving behind his wife Martha, his son Christopher, and a thriving printing/publishing business. His final
timetable, No. 1521, would be published in June of 1961, nearly 108 years later.


This month we'll take a look and see what else was coming off printer's and engravers' presses in the years 1827 through 1830.

James Fenimore Cooper publishes The Prairie in London.

Cooper publishes The Prairie in Philadelphia.

Cooper's The Red Rover is published in Paris and London.

Edgar Allan Poe's Tamarlane and Other Poems is published in Boston.

Friedrich List's Outline of American Political Economy.

Sarah Hale publishes the first U. S. anti-slavery novel - Northwood, in Massachusetts.

European Literature
The serialization of Alessandro Manzoni's I Prommessi Sposi is completed. ** Victor Hugo presents his manifesto of Romanticism in the Preface de Cromwell and sets up Paris' Cenacle group of poets.

Cooper's The Red Rover is published in Philadelphia.

Apr 21
The first edition of Noah Webster's American Dictionary of the English Language (containing 70,000 words) is published in New Haven, Connecticut.

Cooper's Notions of the Americans is published in England.

Cooper's Notions of the Americans is published in the U. S.

Washington Irving writes History of the Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus, his first book on the explorer.

Nathaniel Hawthorne publishes Fanshawe, his first novel, anonymously.

The final annual volume of Rudolph Ackerman's Repository of Arts, Literature, Commerce and Manufacturing is published.

Karl Ernst von Baer discovers the true egg of mammals, founding modern comparative embryology, publishing Uber Entwickelungsgeschichte der Theiere.

Cooper sets out from Florence for Paris to arrange for the printing on The Wept of Wish-ton-Wish. It is eventually published in Rome instead.

German immigrant Francis Lieber begins publishing the Encyclopedia Americana. When completed in 1832 it will contain 13 volumes.

Harvard lecturer and physician Jacob Bigelow publishes Elements of Technology.

European History
François Guizot's History of Civilization in France. ** Washington Irving's A Chronicle of the Conquest of Granada.

European Literature
Honoré de Balzac's first success, Les Chouans.

European Psychology
James Mill's Analysis of the Human Mind.

European Science
Scottish botanist Robert Brown publishes A Brief Account of Microscopical Observations, establishing the movement of minute particles in liquids and gases.

Humorist Seba Smith begins his Jack Downing letters in Maine's Portland Daily Courier.

Robert Dale Owen's Moral Physiology is published - the first U. S. book on birth control.

Art - The Pendleton print of the Battle of Lexington is produced. In this one not all of the Americans are dispersing; a few turn to fire at the British.

Literature - Louis A. Godey begins publishing Godey's Ladies Book, instructing women on etiquette and running the home, in Philadelphia. ** Illinois Monthly is first published, at Vandalia, Illinois. ** Cooper, in Dresden, supervises the printing of The Water-Witch. ** Timothy Flint's Shoshone Valley.** Morgan Neville's The Last of the Boatmen, written for The Western Souvenir, popularizes the adventures of Mike Fink.


Those traveling (or planning to) by train in Britain today might want to take a look at the
UK Railays on the Net site

There you'll find the modern equivalent of Bradshaw - Timetables on the Net. Enter the starting and ending points of your journey (just "London" is adequate for one end; the program will tell you which station there is used for your particular route) and any details as to date (optional). You'll find a schedule online.

The site also contains Press Releases, Train/Freight Operating Companies (link to home pages), public information provided by the Train Operating Companies (Weekend Travel News and Rail route maps), Companies providing rail-related services, a Travel Bureau to assist you in your travels (tourist information to travel and accommodations) and the latest Hot News ( highlights of changes to the site, and notices of promotions, events and happenings throughout the Railway Businesses.)

Whether you tXl in real time and space or just from your computer chair, you'll have fun here.


(More detailed versions available - reasonable rates)

As always, I hope you've enjoyed this issue of Odds & Ends.

© 1997 David Minor/Eagles Byte

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David Minor