The north Essex town of Braintree and its more residential neighbour, Bocking, have a long and fascinating history rivalling that of any ancient English borough.
From the 14th century, the woollen cloth trade brought prosperity to Bocking in particular, and the development of bays and says in the 16th century ensured the township's continued success in the industry.
Bradford Street was identified with the woollen cloth trade, when the name of Bocking described a distinct type of cloth, and large fortunes were made by famous Essex families who owed their prosperity to their mercantile efforts in Bradford Street.
By the C17 at least 7 cloth halls are recorded, where weekly sales of yarn and cloth took place. Many of the wool traders were involved in the management of the Inns and Public houses.
A number of surviving buildings reflect this prosperity, and four of the Wool Halls have now been identified, although all are now hidden behind later facades, and 2 only survive in fragmentary forms.
No doubt as research continues and more facts are revealed so Bradford Street will amply justify its title as "a street of outstanding architectural and historic importance".
This website is intended to make this information available to all, and to also serve as an archive. We will update and add information as it becomes available. We invite you to explore this website to find out about Bradford Street and its importance in more detail.
Many thanks to Braintree Museum and The Essex Record Office for their invaluable help with research, and for their permission to use photographic material from their pictorial archive. All photographs and maps in this website are reproduced with their permission and are copyright protected. Their reproduction for other purposes is prohibited.