Ellenbray PressEllenbray Press https://frome-heritage-museum.org/wp-content/themes/corpus/images/empty/thumbnail.jpg 150 150 Frome Heritage Museum https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/e3f5dcb5404db6d78e713798535c0c8c?s=96&d=mm&r=g
Charles Axford Bray (1855-1923) was born at Waminster, where he served an apprenticeship in printing and bookbinding. In 1876 he came to Frome and later was appointed manager of the printing department of Messrs. W. C. & J. Penny. He started a bill posting and advertising agency which he later sold. In 1899 he established a printing and stationery business in Church Street.
He was assisted in the business by his 12 children, especially his eldest daughter Ellen (or Nell), who was born in 1880. Nell had been crippled at the age of 2 and trained as a dressmaker. When she was 21 her leg was amputated. When her father retired, she took over his business and continued running it until 1938, when she retired, little dreaming she would live to be 100. She sold the business to Mr. F. C. F. Walwin, George Coleman and Mr. Chedgy.
The printing side of the business was later sold to Dowlands Press, and Ellenbray Press concentrated on stationery and toys. When the business moved to Scott Road in 1982, to the former Public Library premises, Ellen Bray was an honoured guest at its re-opening with TV personality Noel Edmunds. She was then aged 101. Her name is still commemorated in the title of the business.