Helen Layfield Bradley was born November 20, 1900, in the village of Lees, near Oldham, Lancashire, in what is now the United Kingdom.
When Bradley was in her sixties she started painting landscapes of scenes remembered from her childhood to illustrate for her grandchildren what it was like for her growing up. Her work is characterized by cityscapes, often-industrial scenes, populated by people going about their daily routines. Helen Bradley made her paintings in oil mainly using her hands and fingers. She always included a detailed description of the background for each of her paintings, along with the date and miniature black fly emblem.
Bradley first exhibited at The Saddleworth Art Society, in 1966 in London, and in 1968 at the Carter Gallery in Los Angeles, California. A series of books with her paintings was published in 1970 becoming popular in Europe, Japan, and the United States. She was posthumously awarded an M.B.E. for services to the arts in 1979 after her death on July 19th of that year.