Who's Who Section 11 (Business and Trade): Prominent Leicester men from the past involved in Business and Trade; Section 12 (Leicester Architects): Some of the men responsible for many of Leicester's important Victorian buildings - many of which are still standing; Section 13 (Leicester MPs): Just a few of the many MPs from the Leicester and Leicestershire area.

 

Who's Who in Leicester and Leicestershire

 

Who's Who 14

(Page Fourteen, Sections 11, 12 & 13):

Who's Who Section 11 (Business and Trade): Prominent Leicester men from the past involved in Business and Trade; Section 12 (Leicester Architects): Some of the men responsible for many of Leicester's important Victorian buildings - many of which are still standing; Section 13 (Leicester MPs): Just a few of the many MPs from the Leicester and Leicestershire area.

Section 11: [Business and Trade] Section 12: [Leicester Architects]

Section 13: [Leicester MPs]

 [Return to Page 13] [Return to Index Page] [Forward to Page 15]

 

Section Eleven: Business and Trade

 

Prominent Leicester men from the past involved in Business and Trade

Note: Extensive material on this page was obtained from the website "Leicester Chronicler." run by Stephen Butt. Other material came from Leicester author Max Wade-Matthews. My thanks to both for this material and the permission to use it. Link to "Leicester Chronicler" at the bottom of this page.

Click on the name for additional information (if the name is red)
 

~ Solomon Andrews ~

In 1863, Solomon Andrews introduced a horse drawn omnibus service that ran along Belgrave Road through the City Centre and along London Road to Victoria Park. In 1873, two other Companies applied to the Corporation for permission to operate horse drawn tram services in Leicester. Mr. Busby of Liverpool and Mr. Turton of Leeds formed an agreement between their Leicester Tramways Company and the Corporation in 1873. Payment was £500 to the Corporation. Christmas Eve 1874 saw Leicester's first tram service opened, it ran smoothly to the Folly Inn in Belgrave and returned without a hitch. More lines were laid along Humberstone Road and London Road. Competition was still prominent with Soloman Andrews horse drawn trams being able to continue past the tram line terminus. In 1888, the Leicester Tramways Company bought out Soloman Andrews for £8000. The price included 78 horses, 13 horse buses and his depot on Thurcaston Road. Solomon Andrews was born in Trowbridge in 1835 and by 1851 was living in Cardiff learning the trade of baker and confectioner. He married in 1855 and in the following year took a lease of a shop in James Street, where he set up in business as a baker and confectioner. His business venture was a success and in 1863 he was able to expand into transport when he obtained a licence to operate a cab. This really marked the start of the rapid expansion of his business interests, for by 1865, he was operating nine vehicles. By 1873 the fleet had increased to 35. By December 1867 Solomon had entered the omnibus trade and in 1875 he was operating seven horse buses - about half of the buses licenced. In 1872 he acquired a large and well equipped coach building works where he was able to construct and repair vehicles of all types including buses. Solomon also ventured much further afield also running buses in London, Manchester, Nottingham and Belfast, with colliery ownership, David Evans at Swansea and property developments at Penarth, Pwllheli and Arthog. He was truly a remarkable self-made man.

~ Benjamin Baldwin ~

Benjamin Baldwin, the son of George Baldwin, gentleman, and Frances (née Smith), was born in Nottingham in November 1826. Benjamin kept a shop in Market Place, Loughborough, and on an 1890 billhead describes himself as "Watch and Clock Maker Jeweller Silversmith and Optician." He offers "Watch Clock and Jewelry Repairs Promptly and Cheaply Done, Old Articles Replated, Valuations Made, Antique Silver and Curiosities. Orders by Post or Carrier Carefully Executed. Wedding and Birthday Presents. Engraving." He also dealt in quality chinaware and was an agent for several Insurance Companies. A watch by him is in the Newarke Houses Museum collection, Leicester. Benjamin Baldwin was Secretary of Loughborough Wood Gate Chapel from 1865-78 and was also associated with that chapel's Sunday School from 1841, becoming Superintendent in 1853, a position he held until his deal of Loughborough School Board from his death on 25th January 1893. He was also a Governor of Burton's Charity and a Trustee of Storer's Charity and played a leading part in Loughborough's daily life. It was said upon his death that "the whole town mourns." This entry taken from the publication "Baldwin of Loughborough and Sharman of Market Harborough - A short narrative by Jonathan Wilshere."

~ William Bass ~

The brewer William Bass was born in Hinckley, Leicestershire around the period 1717-20. In the Middle Ages, the monks of Burton Abbey realised that the areas water filtered through the local gypsum surrounding the valley that Burton is situated within. The local gypsum was rich in calcium and magnesium salts making it perfect for making ale. Brewing continued after the abbey was dissolved. In 1774, William Worthington, a Leicestershire business man, established a brewery in High Street. William Bass did the same in 1777, and quickly a reputation for perfect fine quality beers was established. In 1777 William Bass, who owned a carrier's business with a route from London to Manchester via Burton, bought a house in Burton upon Trent which had a brewery attached. This was the start of the Bass Brewery. In 1784 Bass Brewery is exporting beer to Eastern Europe via Hull using the Trent Navigation. Bass and Worthington were soon exporting their beers to the Baltic and Russia, and later India. Burton beers were reputed to be a favourite of Catherine the Great. With the expansion of the railways throughout England in the 19th century the Burton breweries soon began to exploit the home market and beer became the national drink. In 1787 William Bass died and his son Michael Thomas Bass I took over the business. Later, Michael Thomas Bass, the great entrepreneur, turned Bass at Burton into a great Victorian company and before the rise of the American giants, the biggest brewery in the world. William Bass had built his reputation on the excellence of his beers, a reputation which is jealously guarded by his successors and which can be  appreciated in Bass Ale... For more on the brewing industry in Burton, click on the name above.

~ John Chapman ~

(1801-1854). Born in Loughborough, Leicestershire, John Chapman started in manufacturing and later turned to political writing. He was instrumental in the Great Indian Peninsular Railway project (1844-46), and published the popular "Principles of Indian Reform" in March 1853, as well as several other articles on India.  He died suddenly of cholera in September 1854. John Chapman was an English political writer. After failing in business as a lace manufacturer he went to London and became editor of the Mechanics Magazine, and invented improvements to the four-wheeler. 

~ Nathaniel Corah ~

The Corah family had lived in Leicestershire since before 1600, and like many villagers, by 1800 the family in Bagworth in the north-west of the county had combined framework knitting with their farming enterprises.  Nathaniel Corah, born in 1777,  had trained as a framesmith and whilst still in his twenties, established a small textile business in the nearby village of Barlestone. The deterioration in the country's economy forced Corah into debt. Although he sought to negotiate, and promised to pay back all the monies he owed, one of his creditors demanded his money. Nathaniel faced legal action and was imprisoned.  On his release, anxious to pay his way, he became a worker in a gun factory in Birmingham.Two years later, when finding himself once again unemployed, Corah saw the potential for a new business. Whilst he had been in prison, his wife and children had resided in Leicester. He saw there the growth in small stockingers, and at the same time the dramatic growth in the working class population of Birmingham.  He began buying items of clothing from the Leicester manufacturers, conveying them for sale in markets in Birmingham. From these early beginnings by 1824, Corah was able to acquire a block of buildings in Leicester's Union Street which were then extended in 1827. This factory unit pioneered in the city the concept of organised production management. In 1830, Corah's sons, John, William and Thomas joined the business which was then trading as Nathaniel Corah and Sons. This far-sighted move ensured the firm's future development because just two years later, Nathaniel Corah died at the age of fifty-one.  True to the spirit of their founder, Corah's were always pioneers. As well as being the first textile company to adopt production management and quality control, and the first to build a factory with integral steam-derived power, Corah's were amongst the first to adopt new concepts. They were the first textile firm in Leicester to install electric lighting, and the first in the country to give their workers a week's paid holiday every year. Corah's were always known as good employers, an example to their competitors...  From the website Leicester Chronicler.. Please click on the link (name above) to visit this site and to read more about Nathaniel Corah and the company, Corah's, he founded.

~ William & Thomas Everard ~

Leicestershire has a notable record for brewing beer. The 19th century saw many breweries come and go. From 56 breweries there remain a mere handful, two of the most notable being that of 'Everards' and 'Hoskins.' Everards was founded in 1849 by two brother's, William Everard and Thomas Everard. Along with Thomas Hull, the three gained a Leicester brewery (formerly Wilmot's) and leased premises in Southgate Street, Leicester. Through dedication and hard work the brewery flourished and went onto serve many local pubs and even acquiring some of their own. Several of these pubs still function under Everards today, including 'The New Inn' at Enderby and 'The Railway Inn' at Ratby. It wasn't long before the brewery expanded and Everard's acquired another brewhouse, the 'Bridge Brewery' in Burton on Trent. Burton was and still is considered the brewing center of the UK. In 1898, Everards acquired another Burton brewing facility, the 'Tiger Brewery' and brewed ales there for almost a century. The foregoing from Elizabeth Batt's excellent website "Leicestershire Past & Present." The link (the names above) will take you to "the rest of the story."

~ W. Frank Gadsby ~

Familiar to most for their store in the Market Place, Gadsby's has been supplying ornate framing and artists supplies to the people of Leicester since before the First World War. In the 1890s, after serving his apprenticeship at Langdon's in Waterloo Road, Leicester, young Frank Gadsby was employed as a junior picture framer and gilder at the Advanced picture Framing works on Narborough Road. As his confidence grew in newly0acquired skills, he proved himself able in the intricacies of preparing wooden moulds and applying ornament sizing and gilding. In 1900, at the age of 25, he requested a pay rise of sixpence a week. It was refused, so Frank walked out and started his own business in a shed at the bottom of Marquis Street. Frank's first commission was an enormous task: to re-gild Trinity Church in just three days. Not to be beaten, he worked day and night to complete the job. His reputation was instantly made. Frank's wife, Susannah Basford, whom he married in 1898, was soon drawn into the business herself and their six children were all born above the first premises at 7 Braunstone Gate which survives today as the hub of Gadsby's operation. A second shop opened in the now familiar location of 22 Market Place in 1913, and a third in 1925 at 104 London Road. Third and Fourth generations of the family are now actively involved in the firm, providing continuity matched only by an unwavering reputation for excellence. This entry based on an article, "Putting you in the frame," from the book "Memories of Leicester" Published by True North Books.

~ George Frederick Hayes ~

George Frederick Hayes began supplying emery products to the local Leicester shoe trade in 1897. At this time, Britain was the wealthiest and most powerful nation in the world despite having only half the population it does today. From the start, George relied on his two sisters Helen and Kate to help run the business in the true tradition of a family-run firm. Initially the business was located in a small premises in the rear of Williams Printers in King Street. An important milestone was passed when George Frederick sailed to America, in 1907, to visit the new Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company (later the mighty 3M organisation) with which he formed an alliance. This enabled George Hayes to become the sole distributor (no pun intended) of emery products to the boot and shoe manufacturers in the United Kingdom. To this day, there is still pride at G.F. Haynes and Company as they have been distributing 3M's products longer than any other company in the world. Success and expansion made relocation to a larger premises necessary, first to Silvan Avenue and later to Cobden House. Sales benefited greatly during the two World Wars due to the demand for military footwear. In the 1950s, as there was no heirs to the family business, ownership passed to the Bream family headed by Mr. Michael Bream. This entry based on an article, "Smoothing the road to success," from the book "Memories of Leicester" Published by True North Books.

~ Tom Hoskins ~

Hoskins remains the only brewery still making beer within the actual city limits of Leicester. It gained this recognition in 1969 when over fifty other local home brewed pubs gradually fell in number until only Hoskins remained. The brewery was originally founded by Jabez Penn who built the present 1895 brewhouse in Beaumanor Road. In 1904, Penn entered into partnership with Tom Hoskins. Their partnership lasted just two years before Hoskins took control and brewed beers which went on to win many reputable awards. In 1983, the brewery was sold and Philip & Stephen Hoskins and another partner Simon Oldfield, established Hoskins & Oldfield Brewery Limited. Producing cask conditioned beer since 1986, their first and most popular beer, 'HOB Bitter' still retains the title of the 'largest selling beer' within their range. The foregoing from Elizabeth Batt's excellent website "Leicestershire Past & Present." The link (the names above) will take you to "the rest of the story."

~ James & Herbert Jelley ~

James Jelley and Herbert Jelley. Everyone's heard of James Jelley - right? How about the company he formed with his son Herbert: J. Jelley & Sons? No? Well, what about the evolution of that name into Jelson Ltd? Now you know who we're talking about, for what Leicester-person has not heard of the builders Jelsons? The story of Jelson Ltd. and its rise to prominence as an award-winning house-builder is a tale of family-endeavour, self-reliance, commitment to craftsmanship and an abiding sense of loyalty between management and workforce. In 1889, James Jelley, the 24-year old son of an engineer, was living with his wife at 24 Shenton Street in Leicester and decided to set up in business on his own account as a self-employed joiner and shopfitter. Operating from his home, the business soon prospered and by 1897 employed seven staff. James began to generate work throughout the region - principally in shopfitting - and his diligence soon paid off as contracts started to flow in. He was even making a name for himself as an undertaker by the early 1900s. The establishment in Shenton Street was expanded and stores on the other side of the street were purchase along with a funeral parlour and shop in nearby Charnwood Street. The firm continued to grow and the company's fortunes improved with the arrival of James' son, Herbert, who served with the Leicestershire Yeomanry in the First World War, and showed a keen aptitude for the building business. With his sister Florence (later Mrs. Stubbings) at his side and taking responsibility for office work and sales, Herbert soon had a building operation up and running. Early projects consisted of single houses or pairs in the Humberstone Road area. By 1925, J Jelley & Sons was a much sought after local builder employing 40 staff in the joinery shop and on a growing number of building sites. Herbert lived in Greenland Drive in Leicester and is remembered as a forthright yet fair individual who was a stickler for good time-keeping. He inspired unfailing loyalty from amongst the workforce by his many acts of kindness and genuine concern for their well-being and welfare. Every Friday afternoon he would personally visit the building sites with his Gladstone bag and hand out the wages to all his men. By the late 1920s, Leicester Corporation were increasingly turning to J Jelley & Sons for construction of housing estates and by the late 30s annual housing production had risen to 400 to 500 properties. The average price at the time for a semi-detached house was in the region of £375 and the average wage for an apprentice was 10 shillings and tuppence for an 48-hour week. This entry based on an article, "Family foundation" from the book "Memories of Leicester" Published by True North Books. 

~ Alderman W. A. Lisney ~

Fenny Drayton, or Drayton-in-the Clay as it was known back in the early 1600s, was the home of George Fox, founder of the Quakers, as well as one of the places the Elizabethan poet, Michael Drayton (who took his name from the village) lived as a youth. Today, the Royal Haven pub in Old Forge Street is one of the village's most striking features and it was once  the home of the late Alderman W A Lisney. He was chairman and managing director of the Measham ceramic and brickmaking concern, the Red Bank Manufacturing Company,  and he was also the publisher of trade journals. He was also a member of the county council. W.A. Lisney had noticed three old cottages that stood just off the road and there was plenty of space at the back. He bought them and retained their beams. He redesigned the place himself and bought more old beams to use in the renovations. The outer design is Moorish and the inside is Elizabethan. It was finished in 1937.

~ Sir Patrick Lowry ~

Sir Patrick Lowry, who died aged 81 (June 2001), occupied two of the most demanding and thankless posts in British industry: that of director of industrial relations at British Leyland during the 1970s, and later that of chairman of Acas during the intense union unrest of the early Thatcher years. As British Leyland's first director of industrial relations from 1970 to 1981, first under Lord Stokes and later Sir Michael Edwardes, Lowry played a crucial role in keeping the company alive during one of the most difficult periods in the history of the car industry. John Patrick Lowry was born in Leicester on March 31 1920, the son of a former Ministry of Labour official who became head of the Engineering Employers' Federation (EEF) office in the city. After leaving Wyggeston Grammar School, young Patrick spent six months in a stockbroking firm before following his father into the EEF as a statistical assistant. During the Second World War, he served in the Army, rising from the rank of Private to Captain. In 1940, he was in the British Expeditionary Force evacuated from Dunkirk; later he saw service in Normandy and in Burma. Rejoining the EEF after the war, Lowry took a degree in economics, studying as an evening student at the London School of Economics. By 1965, he had become the EEF's director of industrial relations, responsible for negotiating the terms of employment for four million workers and involved in handling collective bargaining on behalf of around 4,500 engineering companies.

~ Richard Morley ~

Many people will recall Morley's draper's shop in Cheapside. Richard Morley established the business first in Loughborough in 1828. Ten years later he moved to Leicester and took the premises in Cheapside, facing up Cank Street, that remained the firm's head-quarters for the rest of its life. (They had formed part of the stables off the Angel, the most historic of all Leicester inns.) The business prospered, and in the sixties Mr. Morley determined to reconstruct his premises, moving into the sale of carpets and soft furnishings as well as his original draperies. This in turn led Mr. Morley's son, who succeeded him as head of the firm in 1867, to acquire other property, in Cank Street and the Market Place, in which the whole range of furniture could be displayed and sold. The heart of the firm, nevertheless, remained in the drapery trade, and when, having come through two World Wars and stoutly fought the competition of the multiples, the business contracted, it returned in its last years to concentrate wholly on that trade in the shop in which it had started. The firm continued to the end to be much respected for the quality of the goods it sold, and their reasonable prices. But though it is now shut down, the shop converted to other commercial purposes, it has left its memorials behind. The passage beside it, leading from Cheapside down into Gallowtree Gate, is still named, in the fancy ironwork in the arch, "Morley Arcade"; the firm's initials are worked into the balcony over the shop-front. And the second Morley, Frederick John, deserves a place in the regard of every shop assistant in Leicester. For he was a pioneer of the half-day closing movement. Already in the 1880s his firm proclaimed that it closed at 2. o'clock on Thursdays. When in 1912, by national legislation, such closing became obligatory, it was due to the example set by such men as Frederick John Morley and to the pressure they exerted on behalf of their employees. He died in 1911, just a year too soon to see the fulfilment of his hopes. He may stand as a type of the Victorian shopkeeper of Leicester at its best - enterprising, public-spirited, and successful. From the book "Life in Victorian Leicester" by Jack Simmons.

~ Harry Peach ~

Harry Peach, a Leicester businessman who died in 1936, was a generous supporter of the University College, which became the University of Leicester. He also supported the Literary and Philosophical Society, the Museum and Art Gallery, the College of Art and the Little Theatre. He was one of the founders of the Council for the Preservation of Rural England and also of the Design in Industry Association. Old Wyggestonian Harry Hardy Peach tried to bring together what many people felt were two distinct and antagonistic activities, art and industry. The close of the nineteenth century was marked by a growing interest in traditional arts and crafts, an interest partly provoked by the fear that growing industrialisation would destroy such skills. Harry Peach was one of those who felt that the efficiency of industry was not incompatible with the individual flair of the artist. This faith led him to found the Dryad Works for Handicrafts and Metal Work. Leicester is noted for its contribution to the arts and crafts movement through the work of the architect and designer, Ernest Gimson, but if one was to do full justice to the role of the city in the history of design in the early twentieth century, Harry Peach, through his company, his lectures, his articles, would be given a very prominent position. He was born in 1874 and attended the school till 1886. He had many interests which though not directly associated with his work were in sympathy with the spirit that lay behind Dryad. He was a rambler, a member of the Leicestershire Footpaths Association, a Fabian, President of the Literary and Philosophical Society, an ardent campaigner for the preservation of rural England, and a keen folk dancer. There have been many Wyggeston old boys who were famous, but few of whom the school ought to be more proud. He died in 1936. The foregoing (in part) courtesy of the "Old Wyggestonian Society" website.

~ J. Pick & Sons ~

There had been as many Picks as haystacks in the Leicestershire villages of Thorpe Satchville, Ashby Folville, Twyford, Barsby, Billesdon and Barkby for hundreds of years before John Pick went off at a tangent for Leicester and the wool trade. The family has been traced back, rooted always in this soil, to 1500 and beyond, a long procession of farmers, tailors and carpenters without a tramp, a harpist or a sea-captain among the lot. William Pick of Barkby lived while Lee's stocking-frame was turning life in the English Midlands upside down. The first one entered Leicester without a civic welcome in 1630; by 1750 there were 1000 in the town, and if William Pick, who died in 1794, didn't worry his conservative head about that, his son William joined the revolution. Born in Twyford and apprenticed as a carpenter, he made himself a frame and bore it off to Barrow-on-Soar, where, like many others modestly seeking fortune at a time when fortune was more elusive than the Abominable Snowman, he became a framework-knitter and suffered bitter hardship as a result. Until 1800 most Leicestershire knitters owned their frames, but were not always wise in ownership, taking too many apprentices, to whom when they became journeymen, frames were rented at a crippling rate by sharp-witted, tight-fisted middle-men. The Mayor of Leicester spoke in 1836 of the "legalised slavery" of this apprentice system, by which boys produced hose in return for bare board and hard lodging; it brought degradation to all stockingers, innocent and guilty alike. The frame-renters were willing to accept improved machinery but the stockingers saw it as a threat to the rickety structure of their livelihood. During William Pick's lifetime in Barrow-on-Soar Luddite extremism flared and died. He must have looked back to Twyford like Adam to the Garden. By 1820, when William's son John was born, the Luddite corpse was cold... From "The Story of Pick Knitwear" Part One (1856-1956) and Part Two (1956-1991). This fascinating account about the Pick family and Pick Knitwear (later J. Pick & Sons) continues; just click on the name above. 

~ Thomas Norman & John Underwood ~

Norman & Underwood of Leicester are the oldest and largest cast lead roofing company in the United Kingdom. The company was established in 1825 when the brothers-in-law and plumbers Thomas Norman and John Underwood formed a partnership. At first, their work consisted of general plumbing, glazing decorating and some building. Their premises were in Free School Lane from where the business is still run today. The lead is still cast in open sand beds in a process that has changed little since roman times. It ensures even thickness and high quality resulting in the longest possible life. In 1971 the company introduced stainless steel roofing into Britain and has since completed work on several major projects including the award-winning Swan Theatre in Stratford. Norman & Underwood's work in copper, zinc and aluminium has been a feature of many projects including Leicester Cathedral, Derby Civic Centre and Loughborough University. The company has recast and re-laid many roofs on York Minster including the fire-damaged South Transept. Other work includes Caernarvon Castle, Selby Abbey, Westminster Abbey, St Paul's Cathedral, the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem and the new British Embassy in Moscow. Today, the fourth and fifth generations of the Underwood's family actively participate in the group's affairs and the small partnership of 1825 has grown into a group employing more than 240 people at a 2-acre site in Leicester and a 4-acre site in King's Lynn, Norfolk.

~ William & Thomas Smithies-Taylor ~

A Leicester success story. Brothers William and Thomas Smithies Taylor founded the company in the 1890s with the intent to manufacture lenses with meticulous attention to detail.  Their firm, Taylor, Taylor & Hobson, developed a reputation for optical quality from the outset that continues to this day. Explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton took the company's still-photography lenses on his 1907 expedition to the South Pole. Cooke's light-enhancing Speed Panchro lenses, developed in the 1920s, were a hit when motion pictures with sound arrived on the scene 20 years later. Along the way, one of Cooke's founding fathers also invented the dimpled golf ball, patenting it in 1905. In 1946, Rank Organization PLC, now the parent of the Hard Rock Cafe chain, bought Cooke's parent, Taylor, Taylor and Hobson, the Leicester company that made industrial measuring instruments. Cooke's zoom lenses were industry leaders in the 1960s and 1970s. As a part of a product rationalisation programme to focus on the manufacture of Metrology instrumentation, the Cine Optics division was sold in July 1998 to operate independently as Cooke Optics Limited.  Today, Cooke Optics Limited is the only company in the world dedicated solely to the support of the film industry with the design, manufacture and service of cine lenses. The link above will take you to the companies own website and to more on the history of the company.

~ Henry Wood ~

Wolsey Limited is one of the oldest recorded textile firms in Britain. The company dates back to 1755, when Henry Wood, a hosier with property in Friar Lane, set up his own business. After Wood died in 1768, his wife, Ann, and eventually his sons carried on running the business, which became known as Ann Wood & Sons. In 1842, Robert Walker became a partner, and in 1849, after the retirement of Richard Wood, the Company name was changed to Robert Walker & Co. with a warehouse in Rutland Street. The name was changed again in 1897 when the present name Wolsey was adopted. By now it was the largest hosiery company in the Leicester region with goods exported worldwide. In the early 20th century the Company began to be associated with sport and leisure activities. One of Wolsey's first big publicity coups was when Captain Scott and Roald Amundsen both wore Wolsey underwear on their trips to the South Pole. Sir Ernest Shackleton also wore Wolsey underwear on his trip to the North Pole. In 1910, the Company moved to new premises at Abbey Meadows, which are still the Company's headquarters today. In 1920, the Company merged with W. Tyler & Sons and the name Wolsey Limited was adopted. In 1967 Wolsey became part of the Courtaulds Group, one of the largest textile companies in Europe. In 1996, following a management buyout from Courtaulds Textiles,Wolsey once again became an independent Company - trading as Wolsey Limited. This entry is from the CD "A Walk Round Leicester" - author Max Wade-Matthews.

~ William Worthington ~

The founder of Worthington & Co. Ltd., William Worthington, was born at Orton-on-the-Hill, Leicestershire, and, according to records "in early life evinced a desire for commercial pursuits."  It was this desire that caused him to migrate to Burton upon Trent, where in 1744 he established a brewery on the East side of the High Street and, again according to records, "did considerable business." In the Middle Ages, the monks of Burton Abbey realised that the areas water filtered through the local gypsum surrounding the valley that Burton is situated within. The local gypsum was rich in calcium and magnesium salts making it perfect for making ale. When William Worthington died he was succeeded by his son William, born in 1764 who subsequently married Martha, daughter of the brewer Henry Evans. The result of the marriage was eventually the amalgamation of the two breweries, to which a third one was added (that of J.W. Wilson & Co.) in 1790, and a fourth (that of J.W. Wilson & Co.) in 1790, and a fourth (that of Dobson & Co.) in 1879... Continued, just click on the name above.

 

Section Twelve: Leicester Architects

 

Some of the men responsible for many of Leicester's important Victorian buildings - many of which are still standing. Most of the following entries are courtesy of Leicester author Max-Wade Matthews and are taken (in part) from his CD: "A Walk Through Leicester."


Click on the name for additional information (if the name is red)
 

~ Isaac Barradale ~

Isaac Barradale (1845-92). He had an important influence on the appearance of Leicester especially in Stoneygate where he popularised the Domestic revival style for housing. influenced by the works of Norman Shaw. First to build in the new English revival style 'Leicester Style' with tall gables, roughcast, heavy timbering and small paned windows. His assistant was Amos Hall who took over the business in 1892 Examples of Barradale's work in Leicester include: 3 Greyfriars (1880); Fenwick's, Market Street (1884); Wharf Street pawn shop (1880). St George's Chambers (3 Grey Friars) was designed in 1876 by Isaac Barradale as his own office. It was built in 1880. The feature of this wonderful building is that the first floor canted bay window stretches the entire length of the façade. This floor was used as the drawing studio and the window was built to give maximum light for the architects. The large corner building, now occupied by Fenwicks, in Market Street, was originally built in 1880-83 by Isaac Barradale for Joseph Johnson. It is a quasi Queen Ann building with rustic features thrown in. Author: Max Wade-Matthews. Taken from the  website "Leicester Chronicler." run by Stephen Butt.

~ Edward Burgess ~

Edward Burgess, a Quaker, was responsible for many of Leicester's important Victorian buildings, many of them still standing. Examples of his work in Leicester include: Gas Office, Millstone Lane (1864); Victoria Coffee House, Granby Street (1887); Eastgates Coffee House (1885); High Cross Coffee House (1885 - demolished 1901); Bank of Ireland (1873); Library, Bishop Street (1905); Liberal Club, Bishop Street (1887); Alexandra House, Rutland Street (1895); Clarence House, Humberstone Gate (1877); Charnwood Street school 1875. This majestic Victoria Coffee House, on Granby Street, with its wonderful slated dome was opened by the Duchess of Rutland in the year of Victoria's Golden Jubilee. It is built of Santon stone with walls of polished Aberdeen granite and staircases lined with glazed tiles. It was one of twelve premises built for the Leicester Coffee and Cocoa House Company, which had been formed in 1877. The company, which went out of business in 1922, was closely linked with the temperance movement and operated on commercial lines as an alternative to the public house. On the corner of East Gates and Church Gate is the former East Gates Coffee House, which was opened by the Duchess of Rutland on 15 June 1885. Built with half-timbered gables the lead-capped cupola above the ground floor was originally arcaded with curved oriels. In the last quarter of the 19th century, in an effort to encourage the workingman to go to the 'pub' for his lunch, many public houses began to sell food at midday. Middle class temperance advocates saw this as a threat to the well being of the "lower orders" and began opening coffee-houses where the men could have all the social life of the tavern without the "evils of alcohol." The men were allowed to bring in their own food and newspapers and indoor games were available. Author: Max Wade-Matthews. Taken from the  website "Leicester Chronicler." run by Stephen Butt.

~ William Firmadge ~

William Firmadge (1755-1836) was a builder-architect who is variously described as architect, surveyor, stone-mason, painter, engraver, slater, plasterer, joiner and builder. This was a time when professional builders were expected to be able to do most jobs connected with their calling. It was not until the mid-nineteenth century that men began to specialise in only one branch of the trade. William trained with his father and was admitted a Freeman in 1778. He became a member of the Leicester Corporation and was Mayor in 1809. In 1785 he made a survey for a canal to link the Soar and Trent rivers with the Grand Trunk Canal. Most of his surviving work are wonderfully engraved slate headstones and church monuments, including one to his first wife Ann in All Saints, Scraptoft. He is buried at Scraptoft where a monument remains to his memory. Examples of his work in Leicester include: Slate headstone, Great Meeting, Bond Street (1784); Slate headstone to Charles Rozzell, St Mary's Church (1792); Slate headstone to John Dalby, St Margaret's Church (1795); Slate headstone to John and Elizabeth Ireland, St Margaret's Church (1804); Mason in charge of rebuilding the Borough Gaol (1792 demolished 1835); The Crescent, King Street (1826, restored 1971); Extended the 'Lunatic Asylum' (1794). Author: Max Wade-Matthews. Taken from the  website "Leicester Chronicler." run by Stephen Butt.

~ William Flint ~

William Flint (1801-1862), the son of a school teacher, was articled to the architect William Parsons in 1818. His first main job was as clerk of the works to the building of St George's church in Rutland Street, which was designed by his master William Parsons. Appointed Architect and Surveyor to the Borough in 1836, with his office at 18 Friar Lane, Flint had many pupils including Shenton, Baker, Sawday, Herbert, Tait and Barradale. examples of Flint's work in Leicester include: Charles Street Methodist Chapel (1830); New Hall (City Library), Belvoir Street (1831); Crescent Cottages, King Street (1836, restored 1973); General Newsroom, Granby Street (1838 - demolished 1902); Factory, King Street (1848);Exchange, Market Place (1851); Leicester Union Workhouse (demolished in the 1980s), Sparkenhoe Street (1839); West Bridge, replaced 1890); St George's Church 1823-27 (1841); Richard Harris Monuments, Welford Road Cemetery; Phoenix Fire Assurance Building, Welford Place (1842); Row of five houses in Regent Road which became the Fielding Johnson Hospital (1844-49); Independent Chapel, Market Harborough (1845); West Bridge Mills (1849). The library (formerly the "New Hall") occupies a building, which was built for the local Liberals who needed a place for their meetings, as the Tory corporation denied them use of Town property. In May 1831, local architect William Flint was selected to draw up plans, and an invitation extended to builders to submit tenders. The cost of fifteen thousand pounds was raised by selling shares at twenty pounds each. The hall, which was built in Greek revival style, with giant Doric pilasters, opened in May 1832. At first it was commonly referred to as the Green Rooms, the party colour of the Radicals, but it was not long before the building became generally known in the town simply as the "New Hall." The New Hall was also used by the Mechanic's Institute and until the building of the Temperance Hall, was the main concert hall of early Victorian Leicester. Many famous names played here including Franz Liszt and Paganini. In 1869 the building was purchased by the town council who converted it into the town library, which opened in 1871. The bulk of the new library's stock was comprised of the Institute's collection of books that they had donated to the town. Author: Max Wade-Matthews. Taken from the  website "Leicester Chronicler." run by Stephen Butt.

~ Henry Goddard ~

Joseph Goddard (b.1751) came to Leicester from Kirby Muxloe and settled around Belgrave Gate. Henry Goddard was born in 1792, an era before the idea of an architect, as we know it, existed. Like Joseph, he would have to have been a jack of all trades - carpentry, surveying, etc. - and in 1807 he was articled to father. Henry's first known work was in 1817 when he designed some tenements in Belgrave Gate for his father. Various other houses and farm buildings followed including the Fish and Quart pub in 1832. In 1840 Henry's son Joseph was born and 16 years later he was articled to his father (this story is complicated slightly by the main characters all having the first names Henry or Joseph - pay attention). The 1860s saw an upturn in the fortunes of the practice and in 1862 Joseph became a partner in the firm, but a few years later in 1868 Henry died and Joseph was in business by himself. Buildings of this period include Tur Langton church 1865-6 and the Clocktower 1868, and Joseph often worked in a Gothic style, as in the schools of the 1860s and '70s. Up to this point a lot of the practice's work was church restoration, but things became more varied into the 1870s. Joseph became a Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1871, the same year as he designed Tintern House. The Leicestershire Banking Co HQ followed in 1872-4 and marked the high point and end of his use of Gothic for secular work. In 1874 AH Paget became a partner in the practice, which became known as Goddard & Paget. Joseph became President of the Leicester & Leicestershire Society of Architects in 1879-81 and buildings of this period including Brookfield 1876-7, the first use of half-timbering in Leicester and a pointer to the Domestic Revival of the future.  For more on the Goddards follow the link (name above) to the article "The Goddard Trail - Chronology to 1914".

~ Joseph Wallis Goddard ~

Joseph Wallis Goddard, the son of Henry Goddard, was a third-generation architect. He was articled to his father in 1856 and commenced practice with him in 1862. Joseph Goddard was very keen on the Gothic style and was responsible for some of Leicester's best-known buildings. As well as engaging in a profitable architectural practice Joseph Goddard also made a lot of money out of property development, especially the Highfields Street area, which at that time was one of the more highly thought of places to live in Leicester. Joseph Goddard founded the Leicester Society of Architects and, outside business, the Leicester Art School. A man who was small of stature, at one time there was a rhyme: "Here is the architect not very tall, who made the estimates ever so small." Examples of Joseph Goddard's work in Leicester include: Clock Tower (1868); St Mary's Church School (1869 - demolished 1964); Midland Bank, Granby Street (1872-74); Trustee Savings Bank, Horsefair Street (1891); Thomas Cook Building, Gallowtree Gate (1894); Newsroom and Library, Granby Street (1898); Trinity Hospital, Newarke (1901). For many 'Lestrians,' the 21-meter high Gothic Clock Tower is not only the centre of the city but of the universe itself. It was erected in 1868 at the cost of about £1,000, three-quarters of which was raised by public subscription and the rest donated by the town council. In 1926 the tower was the centre of the England's first road traffic roundabout. In 1992 it was cleaned and renovated and in 1999 the tall trees were cut down and smaller ones planted to form the wide-open space that we enjoy today. Author: Max Wade-Matthews. Courtesy of the website "Leicester Chronicler." run by Stephen Butt.

~ John Johnson ~

The most celebrated architect to be born in Leicester visited Italy and introduced the art of stuccoing into England - probably the first instance of its use in England all work in the Palladian style. It was 1812 that John Johnson, the architect of the City Rooms, Hotel Street, was finally paid the twenty guineas owing to him for his work. Examples of his work include: County Gaol, Highcross Street (1791 - demolished 1880); Whatton house, long Whatton (1802); Comsang (1745); City Rooms, Hotel Street (1800); Monument in St Martins 1814 - standing figure of Hope with an anchor carved by John Bacon. The County Gaol, designed by John Johnson, was built in 1791 at a cost of £6,000. On the front of the building, supported by four elegant pilasters, was a block with the legend Moneypenny Arch. George Moneypenny was the name of the builder and an ironical twist of Fate saw poor George become the gaol's first occupant - as a debtor! Although the gaol was demolished in 1880, there is a piece of the old masonry remaining between numbers 21 and 23. The Assembly Rooms: in 1791 the gentry of the county proposed to build a new hotel and assembly room in Leicester. However, with the high increase in taxation and the introduction of income tax at two shillings in the pound, made necessary by the wars with France, which by 1797 had cost the country some nineteen million pounds, the plan had to be shelved for another seven years. In spite of strenuous efforts, the building, designed by local architect John Johnson, and built on the site of the former cockpit, could not attract a purchaser. It was, therefore decided to subdivide the ground floor and let the rooms to various concerns, such as bookseller Thomas Combe, and use the first floor as the Assembly Room. The first floor ballroom, which runs the whole length of the building opened in time for the 1800 race week. Author: Max Wade-Matthews. Taken from the  website "Leicester Chronicler." run by Stephen Butt.

"Knighton Hall, once in the country but now completely engulfed by Leicester remains undisturbed in a charming small park where nothing of the town intrudes. The older part of the house, at the back and facing north, is a typical gabled building of the first haalf of the seventeenth century, The present brick front was added in the eighteenth century , when the house was turned around to face South over the newly-planted park. It is almost certain that this later work, notably the drawing room, was done by John Johnson." From the book "The Heritage of Leicestershire" by W. G. Hoskins.

~ William Parsons ~

William Parsons  (1796-1857) was born at Scraptoft. In 1809 he was apprenticed to William Firmadge and in 1823 was appointed County Surveyor. By 1827 he was living at 21 St Martins where he remained all his life. He is buried in Scraptoft churchyard. Examples of his work include: Leicester Gaol, Welford Road (1825-28); St George's Church, Rutland Street (1825); Borough Asylum (1837) now the Fielding Johnson Building, Leicester University; Theatre Royal, Horsefair Street (1836 - demolished 1958); Midland Railway Station, Campbell Street (1840 - demolished 1894).   The Campbell Street Railway station is believed to have been named after Colin Campbell Macaulay, the Midland Railway's Leicester solicitor. It was demolished in 1894 after being replaced by the present London Road Station. The station was first used on 4 May 1840 when a train of four first and six second-class carriages, pulled by the 'Leopard' steam engine, arrived from Nottingham. Many people were assembled at the station, which was then on the edge of the town, and along the embankments to see the train, whose passengers were all connected with the railway company - directors, engineers, surveyors etc. After the officials who lived in Leicester had joined the train it set off for Derby where the party dined at the Kings Head before returning to Leicester. The next day the station and all the surrounding areas were crowded with spectators to witness the public opening. At seven-thirty the train, with its fifty passengers bound for Nottingham and Derby, started on its epic journey, reaching Syston, a distance of six miles, in twelve minutes. The train reached Loughborough at eight o'clock where, once again, vast crowds were waiting to see the train, which reached Nottingham at nine o'clock. The following week the line was extended to Sheffield, a journey of seventy miles that took just over four hours. Author: Max Wade-Matthews. Taken from the  website "Leicester Chronicler." run by Stephen Butt.

~ Albert Edwin Sawday ~

Albert Edwin Sawday was born in Sidmouth, Devon. He was educated in London, where he was articled to J E Goodchild. In about 1872 he moved to Leicester where he commenced his own practice in 1872. Sawday was president of the Leicester Free Church Council and Hon Secretary to the Leicester Liberal Association. He was elected to the Town Council in 1888 and served as Mayor in 1903. Albert Sawday is buried in Welford Road Cemetery. Examples of his work in Leicester include: Barclay's Bank, Horsefair Street (1901); Butler's Chemist, High Street (1902); Leicester Guild of the Crippled Hall, Colton Street (1909); Granby Halls, Aylestone Road (1915 - demolished 2000); The Fire Station, Lancaster Road (1927); Poor Law Offices, Pocklington's Walk (1883); Wigfall's, High Street (1904). Author Max Wade-Matthews. Taken from the  website "Leicester Chronicler." run by Stephen Butt.

~ Sir William Wilson ~

Sir William Wilson (1641-1710) the son of a Leicester baker, designed one of Leicestershire's most interesting buildings, the grammar school at Appleby Parva around 1697 and his design was preferred over that of Sir Christopher Wren. The school was built in the Wren style and was often wrongly attributed to him. It still stands and, after a period of neglect, is still being used as a school today. The dignified and imposing building (The Sir John Moore C of E Primary School) stands in open fields at the edge of the village of Appleby Parva. From (in part) the book "The Heritage of Leicestershire" by W. G. Hoskins.

 

Section Thirteen: Leicester MPs

 

Some Members of Parliament for Leicester. Many of the following entries are taken from the Spartacus School Net Website "Teaching History Online." Link at bottom of this page.

Click on the name for additional information (if the name is red)
 

~ Henry Broadhurst ~

Henry Broadhurst, the son of a stonemason, was born at Littlemore on 13th April, 1840. After a brief schooling he started work at the age of twelve. A brief spell as a gardener was followed by an apprenticeship as a stonemason in Oxford. A staunch Methodist, Broadhurst's work mainly involved repairing and enlarging churches and university colleges. In the late 1850s Broadhurst moved to Norwich where he found work as a stonemason. In 1865 Broadhurst and his new wife, Eliza Olley, moved to London where he was involved in rebuilding the House of Commons...  Broadhurst played an important role in the campaign to have the Masters and Servants Act repealed and in 1875 the Conservative government, led by Benjamin Disraeli, agreed to the TUC's proposals. As a result of the Conspiracy and Protection of Property Act was passed by Parliament in 1875, which secured the right to participate in peaceful picketing. The following year Henry Broadhurst supported William Gladstone and his campaign against Bulgarian Atrocities. Broadhurst obtained the signatures of over 15,000 people, including many trade union leaders, to a petition which John Bright presented to Parliament. In the 1880 General Election Broadhurst was elected as Liberal MP for Stoke-upon-Trent. Broadhurst joined Alexander MacDonald and Thomas Burt as Lib-Lab supporters of Gladstone's government. In the House of Commons Broadhurst led the campaign for a government commission to investigate working-class housing. In the 1885 General Election Broadhurst was elected for the Bordesley seat in Birmingham. After the election, William Gladstone offered Broadhurst the post of Under-Secretary at the Home Office. When Broadhurst accepted the post he became the first working man to become a government minister. Broadhurst's loyal support of the Liberal government upset some trade union leaders. When Broadhurst argued against the eight-hour day, James Keir Hardie remarked that the minister was more Liberal than Labour. At the 1889 Trade Union Congress Hardie argued that Henry Broadhurst was guilty of holding shares in a company that treated its workers badly. The following year, the TUC supported Hardie against Broadhurst by passing a resolution in favour of the eight-hour day. Broadhurst was especially hurt when he discovered that the Stonemasons Union had voted against him. In the 1892 General Election Broadhurst was defeated at West Nottingham. His objection to the eight-hour day had lost him the support of local workers and this enabled a local colliery owner to defeat him. Attempts to be elected in Grimsey in 1893 ended in failure but Broadhurst eventually won at Leicester in 1894. He held the seat until his retirement before the 1906 General Election. Henry Broadhurst died at Cromer, Norfolk, on 11th October, 1911. For the full story from Spartacus Schoolnet, click on the name above. 

~ Patricia Hewitt ~

Patricia Hewitt, was elected MP for Leicester West in May 1997, and was formally Economic Secretary at the Treasury. She is currently Minister of State at the DTI with special responsibility for Small firms, e-commerce and the information society, industry (supported by Alan Johnson), environment, & the Radio communications Agency. She was educated at the Canberra Girls' Grammar School and Newnham College, Cambridge University. Patricia Hewitt was Press and Broadcasting Officer (1983-87) and Policy Coordinator (1987-89) to the then Leader of the Opposition, the Rt Hon Neil Kinnock; Deputy Director (1989-94) of the Institute for Public Policy Research, and Director of Research for Anderson Consulting (1994-97). Ms Hewitt was Deputy Chair of the Commission for Social Justice (1992-94) and was a member of the Social Security Select Committee before taking up her Ministerial post. In her spare time, Ms Hewitt enjoys reading, theatre, music and gardening. Ms Hewitt is married with one son and one daughter. 

~ Keith Hill ~

Born in Leicester and educated at Leicester Boys grammar school, Aberystwyth University and Corpus Christi College, Oxford. Career History: 1966-68: political researcher; 1968-69: Belgian government scholar, Brussels; 1969-73: politics lecturer, Strathclyde; 1974-76: research officer, Labour Party International Department. Keith Hill was MP for Streatham since 1992. Deputy Chief Whip since June 2001. Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1999 - 2001). Previously Government Whip and PPS to Hilary Armstron MP. Member of Amnesty International, Charter 88, the Co-operative Party, the Fabian Society, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Labour Campaign for Electoral Reform, Labour Co-ordinating Committee, RMT, SERA and the United Nations Association. The idea for this entry is courtesy of Roger Gandy who lives in Rozelle, NSW, Australia.

~ Frederick Lawrence ~

Frederick Lawrence, the son of Alfred Lawrence, was born in London on 28th December 1871. His wealthy parents were Unitarians and embers of the Liberal Party. Frederick was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he achieved a Double First and became President of the Union. At university Lawrence was influenced by the ideas of Alfred Marshall, who argued that the knowledge of economics should be applied to help the poor. While studying to become a lawyer, Lawrence gave free legal advice at the Nonconformist settlement Mansfield House in the slums of East London. He also worked with Charles Booth [of Leicestershire] collecting information on poverty in the area. While working with the poor Frederick Lawrence met the social worker, Emmeline Pethick. The couple fell in love but Emmeline refused to marry Frederick because he did not share her socialist beliefs. It was not until 1901, when Frederick had been converted to socialism, that Emmeline agreed to marry him. On marriage, he added his wife's name to his own. In 1901 Frederick Pethick-Lawrence became the owner of The Echo, a left-wing evening newspaper. He recruited friends from the socialist movement such as Ramsay MacDonald and H. N. Brailsford to write for the newspaper. James Keir Hardie introduced Frederick and Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence to Emmeline Pankhurst. As a result Emmeline joined the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU). In 1907 Frederick and Emmeline started the journal Votes for Women...  Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence served six terms of imprisonment for her political activities during this period. In 1912 the WSPU organised a new campaign that involved the large-scale smashing of shop-windows. Frederick and Emmeline both disagreed with this strategy but Christabel Pankhurst ignored their objections. As soon as this wholesale smashing of shop windows began, the government ordered the arrest of the leaders of the WSPU. Christabel escaped to France but Frederick and Emmeline were arrested, tried and sentenced to nine months imprisonment. They were also successfully sued for the cost of the damage caused by the WSPU...  Pethick-Lawrence was opposed to Britain's involvement in the First World War and joined with E. D. Morel, Arthur Ponsonby and Charles Treveylan to form the Union of Democratic Control (UDC). Over the next couple of years the UDC became the leading anti-war organisation in Britain...  Although he was forty-six years old, the government attempted to conscript Pethick-Lawrence in 1917. He refused but instead of being imprisoned he was assigned to a farm in Sussex until the end of the war. In the 1923 General Election Pethick-Lawrence won the seat at Leicester for the Labour Party. He had the satisfaction of beating his old political opponent, Winston Churchill. Although an expert on economics, Pethick-Lawrence was a poor orator and he failed to shine in debates in the House of Commons. As a result, he was not given a post in the 1924 Labour Government...  Frederick Pethick-Lawrence died on 10th September, 1961...  For the full story from Spartacus Schoolnet, click on the name above. 

~ Harold Nicholson ~

Harold Nicholson, the son of the diplomat, Sir Arthur Nicholson, was born in Teheran in 1886. After being educated at Wellington College and Oxford University he entered the diplomatic service in 1909. Over the next few years he worked in Madrid, Constantinople, Teheran and Berlin. As a junior Foreign Office official Nicholson attended the Versailles Peace Conference in 1919. After the First World War Nicholson, who was now married to Vita Sackville-West, embarked on a literary career writing biographies of Alfred Tennyson (1923), Lord Byron (1924) and Algernon Charles Swinburne (1926). In 1931 Nicholson joined Sir Oswald Mosley and his recently formed New Party. He edited the party newspaper, Action, and stood unsuccessfully for Parliament in the 1931 General Election. Nicholson ceased to support Mosley when he formed the British Union of Fascists in 1932. Nicholson entered the House of Commons as National Labour MP for West Leicester in the 1935 General Election. Nicholson served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Information in the coalition government formed by Winston Churchill in 1940. Nicholson was defeated in the 1945 General Election. Other books written by Nicholson include: The Congress of Vienna (1946) and King George V (1952). His Diaries and Letters (1968), edited by his son, Nigel Nicholson, provide an interesting insight into political life between the two world wars. Harold Nicholson died in 1968... From Spartacus Schoolnet. For an interesting page on corporal punishment and this MP's involvement in the case of a fifteen-year old Leicester boy's sentence of 12 lashes of the birch, follow this link --> [Link].

~ Peter Alfred Taylor ~

Peter Alfred Taylor, the son of Peter Taylor and Catherine Courtauld, was born in 1819. His father had invested money in George Courtauld & Co, when his cousin, George Courtauld, was short of capital in 1817. The following year, George left for America and Samuel Courtauld joined Taylor in expanding the business. Over the next few years Courtauld & Taylor purchased steam-engines and power-looms for its mills in Braintree, Halstead and Bocking. Taylor, like his father, was a Unitarian, who favoured social reform. As a young man he lectured on behalf of the Anti-Corn Law League and in 1847 he joined Giuseppi Mazzini to establish the People's International League, an organisation that campaigned for universal suffrage. In 1849 Peter Alfred Taylor joined the Courtauld & Taylor company as a partner. The following year, when his father, Peter Taylor, died, he took a more prominent role in running the business. However, his main interest was politics and in 1860 became the Radical MP for Leicester. Three years later he withdrew his capital of £72,000 from the business and concentrated on his political career. In the House of Commons Taylor worked closely with John Stuart Mill and Henry Fawcett in supporting women's suffrage. His wife, Clementia Taylor, was also active in the movement and for many years was treasurer of the London National Society for Women's Suffrage. After his retirement from Parliament in 1884, Peter Alfred Taylor moved to Hove where he died in 1891. Throughout his life Taylor gave generously to humanitarian causes and this is reflected in the small amount of money that he left to his family in his will... From Spartacus Schoolnet.

 

Section 11: [Business and Trade] Section 12: [Leicester Architects]

Section 13: [Leicester MPs]

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