Brady Bags, a family business

Brady Sandringham Bag on Wooden Crate

Brothers John and Albert Brady started up their business in Price Street, Birmingham during the 1870s where they made high-quality gun cases and other leather goods for use in field sports. As soon as they were old enough John’s son Ernest and Albert’s son Leonard both joined Brady Brothers with Ernest eventually going on to take over the business in 1928. Under Ernest’s guidance the brand expanded and moved into larger premises on Shadwell street in the heart of Birmingham’s gun quarter in the 1930s. Which is where Ernest first designed a range of fishing bags all of which were named after English rivers. 

The fishing bags proved incredibly popular and became the mainstay of the company alongside their world-renowned hand-made gun cases. In fact, such was their reputation that they had requests for oak and leather cases from royalty including the Sultan of Oman and the Duke of Windsor. Their skills were highly in demand from the world of theatre and cinema too which resulted in Leonard eventually leaving the business to start a new life in Hollywood where he made accessories and props for legendary movie stars such as Douglas Fairbanks Junior and Greta Garbo.

Throughout the 1930s and 40s, many of the styles that are still in production today made their first appearance despite Ernest having to move the business into his house during World War II. Despite the house being bombed and only having one stitcher and a part-time machinist at their disposal Brady Brothers managed to survive. Soon after the war Ernest built a caravan and took his family to London for a month where every day he would go into central London with a large wheel trucked (also made by him) loaded with samples of their entire range. Leaving no stone unturned Ernest visited everywhere from the largest department stores to the smallest fishing and gun maker shops throughout the capital. It was this persistence and hard work that both saved the business and became part of Brady Brothers folklore that would continue to raise a smile amongst Brady customers for many years to come.

Ernest died in the 1980s where his daughter Helen and brother Philip continued to run the company up until the 1990s when it became part of Goold Holdings also based in the midland in Walsall itself the centre of the saddlery and leather goods trade. A place where even the local football team (Walsall FC) are affectionately known as the saddles and the Brady name continues to be a byword for high quality and premium products.

Written by Neil Summers

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