Bradshaw's was a series of railway timetables and travel guide books published by W.J. Adams and later Henry Blacklock, both of London. They are named after founder George Bradshaw, who produced his first timetable in October 1839. Although Bradshaw died in 1853, the range of titles bearing his name (and commonly referred to by that alone) continued to expand for the remainder of the 19th and early part of the 20th century, covering at various times Continental Europe, India, Australia and New Zealand, as well as parts of the Middle-East. They survived until May 1961, when the final monthly edition of the British guide was produced. The British and Continental guides were referred to extensively by presenter Michael Portillo in his multiple television series.[a]
In December 1841, acting on a suggestion made by his London agent, William Jones Adams, Bradshaw reduced the price to the original sixpence, and began to issue the guides monthly under the title Bradshaw's Monthly Railway Guide. Many railway companies were unhappy with Bradshaw's timetable, but Bradshaw was able to circumvent this by becoming a railway shareholder and by putting his case at company AGMs. Soon the book, in the familiar yellow wrapper, became synonymous with its publisher: for Victorians and Edwardians alike, a railway timetable was "a Bradshaw", no matter by which railway company it had been issued, or whether Bradshaw had been responsible for its production or not.
By 1918 Bradshaw's guide had risen in price to two shillings (10p) and by 1937 to half a crown (12½p). Although historic money values are difficult to calculate, this would have been equivalent to perhaps £6.00 at 2009 values.
When the railways were nationalised in 1948, five of the six British Railways Regions followed the companies' example by using Blacklock to produce their timetable books, but production was eventually moved to other publishers. This change must have reduced Blacklock's revenue substantially. Parts of Bradshaw's guide began to be reset in the newer British Railways style from 1955, but modernisation of the whole volume was never completed. By 1961 Bradshaw cost 12s 6d (62½p), and a complete set of BR Regional timetables could be bought for 6s (30p).
In Jerome K. Jerome's 1891 novel Diary of a Pilgrimage, contains an aside called A Faithful Bradshaw. This section describes a comical incident where the author always gets misled by referring to outdated guides.
In June 1847 the first number of Bradshaw's Continental Railway Guide was issued, giving the timetables of the Continental railways. It grew to over 1,000 pages, including timetables, guidebook and hotel directory. It was discontinued in 1914 at the outbreak of the First World War. Briefly resurrected in the interwar years, it saw its final edition in 1939. The 1913 edition was republished in September 2012. A travel documentary series named Great Continental Railway Journeys has been made based on the 1913 edition. 2b1af7f3a8