8. 1945 to 2005: company history
The firm was originally owned by Walter S. Bradley and, on his death, his eldest son, Hermon Bradley had become the Chairman. He presumably remained as Chairman until his death which was certainly after 1953. It is also known that Walter Bradley was a part owner of the Caponfield Furnaces so that this company was not his only interest. It is perhaps not surprising therefore that the Beldray firm came to lead a group of companies.
This letter head from 1953 (kindly provided by the Booth family) refers to the company as having been founded in 1872 and to it's being the "proprietors" of the Globe Tank & Foundry (Wolverhampton) Ltd. and General Galvanisers Ltd.. It gives the directors as Hermon Bradley (Chairman), T. A. W. Allen (Vice Chairman), T. T. Hood M.I.Mech.E., M.I.P.E (Managing Director), T. L. Perry, F.C.A., A. H. Thompson and R. F. Walton, B.A.. It also refers to their London address as 321/3 Grand Buildings, Trafalgar Square.
Mary Southall says that in 1959 the Bradley Group consisted of Bradley & Co. Ltd., General Galvanisers Ltd., Globe Tank and Foundry Ltd., Halladays Drop Forgings Ltd., Halladays Ltd. and Weston Works Ltd. When and why any of these companies was acquired is not known.
Mary Southall adds that "In the latter part of 1959 the Bradley Group ... was absorbed into the Butterfield Group". The Butterfield Group was a burgeoning conglomerate but nothing else is known about this development.
A search in A2A produces an entry from the Worcestershire Record Office, showing, in the papers of Messrs. Ivens and Hall of Kidderminster, dated 1962-63, documents relating to the sale of Lamb, Hingley & Co. Ltd. to Bradley & Co, of their business of the manufacture and sale of hollowware pressed metal articles. Nothing more about this takeover has yet been found.
Brian Davies says that "the company was bought out by Butterfield-Harvey Ltd, a conglomerate, in about 1972. I joined Bradleys on 5th January 1976 as Personnel Manager and Staff Controller in 1976. At that time John Barnes was the Managing Director and Anthony Corbett was the Chief Production Engineer, having started at Bradley's just a month before me".
On Thursday 1st December 1977 the company officially changed its name from Bradley and Company Ltd. to Beldray Ltd. "Beldray" was an anagram of Bradley and had been used as the firm's trade name since at least the turn of the century.
Brian Davies continues the company story:
On 27th September 2002 the Express and Star reported that the firm had made 47 of its workers redundant as part of a restructuring process and the company still retained 324 people. However in March 2003 the company announced that it was moving production to the Far East and was reducing its work force from 300 to 100. But this never happened. On 21st August 2004 it was announced that the company had called in the receivers, a spokeswoman saying that the company had fallen into difficulties "due to financial underperformance, which was compounded by competition from China". The usual hope was expressed that the company could be sold as a going concern, but the workers were sent home, unpaid. There was then a brief splutter of renewed life but in 2005 the whole company closed for good.
The company's trade names, including "Beldray", were bought by Martin Yaffe International Ltd., of Rochdale. They propose to use the name on a new range of products, including ironing boards, laundry accessories, clothes airers and ladders. So Beldray might, in some guise, live on.