Weaste Cemetery

Biographies of people buried between 1900 & 09

Sarah Bradbury (1839 - 1905)

Sarah Bradbury founded the Manchester and Salford Blind Aid Society's Braille Library in 1898 and was its honorary Librarian until her death in 1905.

She was born in Ireland in 1839 as Sarah Topley. In the 1851 census, Sarah was living in Ordsall, East Retford, Nottinghamshire with her parents William Topley (b.1814 in Ireland) who was a Tailor, mother Sarah Topley (b.1811 in Devon), and younger brother William (b.1842 in Ireland).

In 1859, Sarah married Abel Bradbury (born 1833 in Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire), at East Retford, Nottinghamshire. Abel was the son of Ann Bradbury (b.1796 in Ashton-under-Lyne, who appeared to be a widow in the 1841 census and by 1851 had remarried to Abraham Ogden).

The 1861 census shows that Sarah and Abel lived at Cotton Hall, Blackburn, Lancashire. Sarah was aged 21 and a Teacher. Abel was aged 28 and a Schoolmaster. They had a son James who was 3 months old, born at Lower Darwen, Lancashire, who sadly died the following year aged 1. In 1871 the couple lived at Everton Place, Chorlton-upon-Medlock, Manchester. In 1881 they lived at Boys Home, 8 Camp Street, Salford. Sarah was aged 40 and a Matron (School Serv.). Abel was aged 45 and a Commercial Traveller. They had a son Harry Herbert (b.1874 in Manchester) aged 7.

In 1891 they lived at 33 York Street, Broughton, Salford, where Sarah was 51, Abel was 57 and a Commercial Traveller and Harry Herbert was 17 and a Library Assistant. In 1900 Harry Herbert married Elizabeth Dulson Porter by Registrar in Salford.

In 1898 Sarah inaugurated a Braille Library for the Manchester and Salford Blind Aid Society. On 28th September 1905 (just two months before she died), the Manchester Courier reported on the recent expansion of the Library. The Hon Secretary of the library, Miss Heywood, presented a report that praised Sarah Bradbury who started the Library with a few books and little funding in 1898. From the start, employment was given to blind persons, writers, correctors and latterly bookbinders. The previous year (1904), thirty three blind persons were given employment. The new Library, housed in a disused ward at the old Eye Hospital, had been modified to suit its new purpose. The new Library was formerly opened by Sir W H Houldsworth, MP who was President of the Society, with the Mayor of Salford, Sir William Stephens presiding. Sir William Houldsworth made a presentation on behalf of the Society to Mrs Bradbury, the founder of the Library and until recently the hon Librarian. It consisted of an illuminated address, expressing appreciation of her valuable work, and a purse of gold. Unfortunately Sarah was unable to attend owing to ill-health, and the formal presentation was accordingly made to Mr Abel Bradbury.

Sarah died just two months later on 20th December 1905 in her 66th year. She was buried at Weaste Cemetery with the inscription, "Founder of the Manchester and Salford Blind Aid Society's Braille Library." Her husband Abel, died six years later on 9th February 1912, in his 79th year, and was re-united with Sarah at Weaste Cemetery.