Finding Number (Click this to view full catalogue structure)MS65
TitlePapers of Robert Bradshaw
Extent2 files
DescriptionCorrespondence and other papers of Robert Haldane Bradshaw MP of Worsley, Manchester relating to his career as an MP, landowner and agent for the 2nd Marquis of Stafford. The collection includes letters to Bradshaw from the Marquis and Marchioness of Stafford, 1804-1822. The letters from the Marquis, George Granville Leveson-Gower relate largely to business matters including his extensive estates, while the letters from Elizabeth, Marchioness of Stafford are of a more personal and descriptive nature. Both refer, in their letters to Bradshaw, to the management of their Scottish estate lands and the policy of relocating tenants to make way for the lucrative development of land, a controversial policy which became known as the Highland Clearances. Other papers relate to Bradshaw's support of local trade and manufacturing industries in Manchester, Liverpool , the Staffordshire Potteries and elsewhere and there are also two items in the collection relating to his period as Deputy Paymaster of the Forces in the West Indies, 1782-1783. The collection includes material of interest for the study of industrial and manufacturing history and significant research value for the study of Scottish history and in particular the part played by the Marquis and Marchioness of Stafford in the controversial issue of the Highland Clearances. The papers,overall, also provide examples of the common use of the patronage system in public and political affairs at the time.There are also interesting contemporary references to national events such as the trial of Queen Caroline.
ArrangementArranged into three series of personal papers and correspondence, papers relating to Bradshaw's business interests and public duties and records of accounts and finances
Access ConditionsAccess to all registered researchers
Finding AidsA catalogue of this collection is available on the online archive catalogue. Click on the Finding Number to display the summary contents list of the catalogue and to view the full catalogue. A paper copy of this catalogue is also available for consultation at Special Collections.
Access StatusOpen
Administrative HistoryRobert Haldane Bradshaw MP (1759-1835) was the son of Thomas Bradshaw one time Secretary to the Treasury. Little is known of Bradshaw's early life but by 1782 he was Deputy Paymaster of the Forces in the West Indies and Auditor General of plantations and it was in Barbados that he married Cornelia Thornhill Rowe in 1783. By 1802 Bradshaw had secured the patronage of the Duke of Bridgewater and was appointed MP to the pocket borough of Brackley, a seat he retained until it was disenfranchised in 1832. After the Duke's death in 1803 Bradshaw was the first superintendent of the Bridgewater Trustees established to administer the the Duke's estate which included the coal mines and the Bridgewater Canal near Manchester with the income from the Trust going to the Duke's nephew, George Leveson Gower, Marquis of Stafford (1758-1833). Bradshaw acted as agent for the Marquis and Marchioness of Stafford and appears to have maintained a close working relationship with the family being consulted and informed about all their estates business. Naturally, intensly conservative and resistant to change Bradshaw was fiercely opposed to the development of railways which he saw as competition to his canal system but when the Marquis was persuaded of the merit of the railway system and bought shares in the project Bradshaw was forced to accept the inevitable. Despite his attempts to cut canal tolls to compete with the opening of the Manchester to Liverpool railway line in 1830 the profitability of the canal system started to decline. In 1831 Bradshaw suffered a stroke which left him unable to continue managing the Bridgewater Trust affairs. He was persuaded to retire in 1834 and appoint James Sothern as his successor. He retired to his Hertfordshire residence and died there in January 1835.

Reference:; (accessed 23 August 2012)
AcquisitionThis collection was purchased in November 2001.
Related MaterialThe Special Collections Department holds Lady Stafford's Letters (GB 0150 STA), the mother of George Granville Leveson-Gower, 2nd Marquis of Stafford.


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