Bradfer-Lawrence - a rather different kind of collection

About H. L. Bradfer-Lawrence

Harry Lawrence Bradfer-Lawrence

Photograph of Mr Bradfer-Lawrence
© Courtesy of British Beer & Pub Association

Harry Lawrence Bradfer-Lawrence was born in 1887. Educated in King's Lynn, he first worked as a land agent in Norfolk and was responsible for the management of a number of large estates. After service in the R.N.V.R. during the First World War he returned to his former calling, but moved to Yorkshire in 1935 on taking up the post of land agent to Sir William Aykroyd, Baronet, whose estate was at Grantley, near Ripon. He also took up the position of managing director of Hammond’s Bradford Brewery Company, the business which Sir William’s late father-in-law had owned. The Company flourished and expanded under his direction - and in fact Bradfer-Lawrence had complete control over it between 1937 and 1960 when, upon merger with United Breweries Ltd, it ceased to exist as an independent brewery. He was chairman of the Brewers’ Society in 1957-1958 and chairman of United Breweries until 1962. He died three years later.

His Collections
From his early years Bradfer-Lawrence was a keen antiquary, and fascinated with the local history of Norfolk and later, Yorkshire. He was a great collector of books and manuscripts (as well as of furniture, china and early English water colour paintings). He amassed many boxes and files of original records relating to Yorkshire and Norfolk, amongst other manuscripts, which he bequeathed to the Yorkshire Archaeological Society and Norfolk Record Office respectively. His children confirmed his Yorkshire bequest as a gift a few years later.
Since the early 1970s historians and researchers have delved into the riches of the collection, and a number of box lists were drawn up to aid finding and identifying material.

Harry-Bradfer-Lawrence was always keen to show his collection of documents to interested people and gave several lectures on them. Click here for the lecture he gave about the Thomas Lister and the Gisburn estate.

Further information:
Obituaries published in Norfolk Archaeology, 1966-1969; and in the Antiquaries Journal vol 46 (1966)
‘The Bradfer-Lawrence Collection of Medieval Manuscripts’ by A.S.G. Edwards (The Book Collector, volume 53 No 1, Spring 2004)
‘H.L.B.L. and the Fountain Brewery’ by Antony Avis (Aspects of Bradford 2, edited by Bob Duckett, Wharncliffe Books, 2000)