Samuel Fox's House, Bradwell
Samuel FOX was born in 1815, in this cottage in Church Street Bradwell, formerly known as ‘Water Lane’. He was apprenticed to Samuel Cocker's firm of wire-drawers in Hathersage, then in his early thirties started his own business in Stocksbridge, in Sheffield.
A successful business encourages innovation, and with the invention of a hollow (‘U’-shaped), flexible wire by one of Fox's employees, Joseph HAYWARD, the world's first successfully collapsible umbrella frame was born.
Previously, umbrellas were either too cumbersome (made of steel or whalebone), or too fragile (made of cane). However “Fox's Paragon Umbrellas”, with frames made out of this special new wire, were an immediate success.
The same strong, yet lightweight wire was perfect also for stiffening the fashionable crinoline skirts of the 1860s, and Fox's of Stocksbridge also opened their own ‘Crinoline Shop’.
In spite of his success, Samuel never forgot his roots, and he visited Bradwell frequently, providing regular ‘anonymous’ donations to the poor people of the parish. Then in 1868 he gave land for a vicarage and churchyard, plus a sum of £100 towards building a church. He died on 26 February 1887, leaving a £1,000 legacy to provide income to the needy of Bradwell ‘for ever’.
(Information provided by Rosemary Lockie)
Image contributed by Andre Hallam on 11th August 2005.