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Brady Bags - Since 1887

Brady Bags - Since 1887

Brady brothers John and Albert started their company in Birmingham in 1887 making leather gun cases. Over the years their range expanded to include fishing and game bags and Brady became world renowned as makers of the finest quality sporting leather goods.

We are proud to maintain the traditions, values and standards established more than a century ago. Brady bags continue to be hand-made in Walsall, from best quality canvas, brass components and English bridle leather. Many styles first introduced in the 30s and 40s are still made to original patterns and remain some of the most popular Brady styles.

1870-1930

Brady Brothers was founded by John and Albert Brady in Price Street in Birmingham, England in the 1870s. They made leather goods for use in field sports, including high-quality gun cases. John’s son Ernest and Albert’s son, Leonard both joined Brady Brothers later and in 1928 Ernest took over the business.

The business prospered under Ernest’s direction and in the 1930’s Ernest and Leonard moved to larger premises in Shadwell Street in the heart of Birmingham's gun quarter. It was there Ernest first designed and personally made a range of fishing bags all named after English rivers.

These bags were to become the mainstay of the company and the source of its prosperity and fame in future years. Hand-made Brady gun cases were also greatly prized throughout the world. Oak and leather cases were made for movie and theatrical celebrities and royalty, including the Sultan of Oman and the Duke of Westminster.

Leonard left Brady Brothers and moved to Hollywood. He was a fine craftsman and set up in business making props for films. Below are two photographs from the Brady archive showing Leonard with two props he made for famous actors. The inscription underneath is from the writing on the reverse of each picture.

1940-1980

During the war Ernest was forced to move the business into his house, with the help of one stitcher and one part-time machinist. The house was bombed during the war and so was Birmingham. The city was going to have to be reconstructed and Shadwell Street was to be demolished, so Ernest decided to start up in business again by moving in 1946 to Halesowen, a small town in the industrial Black Country. It was vital at this time that new outlets be found to rebuild the business.

Ernest built a caravan and took his family to London for a month. Every day Ernest went into central London with a large wheeled truck he had constructed, loaded with samples of all the things that Brady Brothers made. He called at all the big stores and as many small fishing and gun makers shops he could find, showing them his goods and taking many orders. This saved the business and caused not a little amusement and was often referred to by Brady customers over the years.

Brady Bags had a reputation for quality and longevity – Ernest’s daughter Helen remembered, " As a girl I went into work one day in the 1950's and found the hallway full of what looked like a lot of broken-down cases and in some instances blood-stained game and fishing bags. Thinking they were all rubbish and that I should be deputed to put them in the dustbin, I luckily made some enquiries about the matter first. I discovered that they belonged to the Duke of Westminster and his son, who had just inherited them and Brady were to repair them and suitably initial each item.”

1990 to Present Day

After Ernest died in the 1980’s his daughter Helen and his brother Philip ran the company until 1993 when it was acquired by Goold Holdings. Goold Holdings was based in Walsall, the centre of the saddlery and leathergoods trade in England and had already acquired Jeffries Saddlery together with the Falcon, Eldonian and Wembley brands. Brady complemented the existing business.

Brady’s manufacturing operations was moved from Halesowen and integrated into production with Jeffries Saddlery, using the skills synonymous with the leather industry based in Walsall. The new management introduced new bags into the range and found that the quality values of Brady bags appealed to a much wider audience.

Every Brady bag is made by hand in our factory in Walsall, England. We start by selecting the best materials; Drill Canvas from Italy, Harris Tweed from Scotland or Milled Cruiser leather from England. We add buckles, pression studs and slides made from solid brass. Shoulder straps and handles are made from military grade cotton webbing. Our fishing bags liners are made from natural rubber backed with cotton.

Even with the best materials there are no short cuts to making a Brady Bag. It takes seven separate processes - and years to learn how to do them. The men and women that make Brady bags have learnt their skills over time - we have 627 years of experience between us and all that knowledge goes into making every bag. The result is rugged and individual, and with a little care it will last you a lifetime.
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