George Bradshaw was born in Pendleton, Lancashire in 1801. He moved to Manchester where he found work as an engraver. In 1830 Bradshaw had the task of producing maps of British canals, rivers and railways. This gave him the idea of forming a company to publish railway timetables. The first issue of Bradshaw's Monthly Railway Guide appeared in 1838. Bradshaw also published the Continental Railway Guide, the Railway Manual and the Railway Shareholders' Guide.
Bradshaw was a Quaker and was involved in several of the movement's campaigns. George Bradshaw died of cholera while visiting Oslo in 1853.