Business and Industry Part 2

Here in Part 2 we cover business people born from 1800 onwards. For Part 1, click here.

Edmund Sharpe (Architect) 1804-1877

Born 31 Oct 1908
Died 8 May 1877
Aged 67

Edmund Sharpe: Man of Lancaster.
Public domain image due to copyright expiry.

Edmund Sharpe  was born in Knutsford was an architect and engineer. His connection with Warrington was as the designer of Walton Hall, left, the family home of the Greenall family of brewers in the south of town.

He started his career as an architect, initially on his own, then in partnership with Edward Paley, designing mainly churches but also some secular buildings. In 1851 he resigned from his architects’ practice and spent the rest of his life as an engineer, being involved mainly with the building of railways.

He was the only son of Francis and Martha Sharpe. He was educated at Greenwich, Sedbergh School and St John’s College, Cambridge graduating B.A. in 1833 and M.A. in 1836. He gained a travelling scholarship in 1832 and visited France and Germany studying Romanesque and early Gothic architecture. He settled in Lancaster, Lancashire in 1835 where he practiced as an architect for 15 years. In 1843 he married Elizabeth Fletcher and with her had five children.

One of his students was Edward Graham Paley, who joined him as a partner in 1845. Together, as Sharpe and Paley, they designed nearly 40 new churches, including two all-terracotta churches, and some secular buildings, included Capernwray Hall, the remodelling of Hornby Castle and Ince Hall, Cheshire. He took part in civic life in Lancaster, serving as a councillor from 1841 and as mayor in 1848–49. During this time he became involved in sanitation and played an important part in implementing the first Public Health Act in Lancaster.

In 1850 he purchased the Phoenix foundry in Lancaster and the following year ceased work as an architect. He had been involved in the promotion of railways since the 1830s and in 1856 he moved to live near Betws-y-Coed, Caernarvonshire. There he organised the building of the Conway-Llanrwst railway. He was appointed J.P. for Lancashire and for Denbighshire in 1859. From 1863 to 1866 Sharpe lived abroad, where he constructed a horse-drawn tramway in Geneva and the Perpignan-Prades railway in France. He acquired property and iron mines on the continent but moved back to Lancaster in 1867.

During his life Sharpe published a number of works on medieval architecture. He had become a fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1848 and was given their gold medal in 1875. He was also a member of the Archaeological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland. While gathering material on the continent for further writings he died in Milan and was buried at Lancaster cemetery. A memorial to his memory is in St Paul’s Church, Scotforth, which he designed in 1874, 23 years after retiring from his architectural practice. 

Read more in Wikipedia

Sir Gilbert Greenall, 1st Baronet (Brewer and Politician) 1806-1894

Born 11 May 1806
Died 10 July 1894
Aged 88

Sir Gilbert Greenall (1806-1894)
Image is in the public domain.

Sir Gilbert Greenall, 1st Baronet was a businessman and Conservative politician.

Greenall was the sixth and youngest son of Edward Greenall of Walton Hall. His grandfather was Thomas Greenall, who had established a brewery in St Helen’s in 1762, on which the family wealth was based. Greenall assumed control of the family brewery business and also had interests in the St Helens Canal and Railway Company and in Parr, Lyons and Greenall Bank, based in Warrington. Apart from his business career he sat as Member of Parliament for Warrington from 1847 to 1868, from 1874 to 1880 and from 1885 to 1892. In 1876 he was created a Baronet, of Walton Hall in the County of Chester.

Greenall married, firstly, Mary, daughter of David Claughton, in 1836. After her death in 1861 he married, secondly, Susannah, daughter of John Lovis Rapp. He died in July 1894, aged 88, and was succeeded in the baronetcy by his only son from his first marriage, Gilbert, who was created Baron Daresbury in 1927. Susannah, Lady Greenall, died in 1896.

William Allcard (Railway Engineer) 1809-1861

Born 30 Jun 1809
Died 5 Aug 1861
Aged 52

William Allcard plaque. His birth year
is given as 1801; however other sources say 1809.

William Allcard a descendant of a family well known and esteemed in the Society of Friends, was born in London.

At an early age he was placed as a pupil under the late George Stephenson, at the Steam Engine Manufactory at Newcastle-upon-Tyne, which has since attained such a high reputation. He was there occupied in the Drawing Office, and occasionally assisted in levelling and surveying on the projected lines for the Leeds and Selby and the Newcastle and Carlisle Railways.

In the year 1826 he was transferred to Liverpool, and was placed in charge of the preliminary operations for draining and for forming the Liverpool and Manchester Railway across Chat Moss; and he then had intrusted to him a portion of the works in construction at the Bolton end of the Bolton and Leigh Railway.

Early in the year 1828 he was appointed the Resident Engineer, for the middle portion of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, including the Sankey Viaduct, consisting of nine arches, each of 50 feet span and about 70 feet in height, and the Kenyon Cutting, containing about 400,000 cubic yards of excavation.

In the prosecution of these works he remained until the completion of the railway and its formal opening on the 15th of September, 1830, at which he assisted, and took charge of the ‘Comet’ locomotive engine, with one of the trains forming the procession from Liverpool to Manchester on that memorable and eventful day.

Although at that time he was only twenty-one years of age, yet the responsible positions in which he had been placed, in common with all the pupils of George Stephenson at that period, and the anxious and important duties which devolved upon him, had given him a bearing and a manner much above his years, and had called forth very early his great powers of self-reliance.

Soon after the railway was opened, Joseph Locke and Thos. L. Gooch having both left it for other works, the Directors made an arrangement by which the management of the line was divided equally between Mr. Allcard and John Dixon, who were retained as the Resident Engineers; the former taking charge of the Liverpool end. This important position he held for upwards of two years, during which time he commenced the works of a new tunnel, which was projected to convey passengers into the centre of the town of Liverpool, to what is now the Lime Street Station.

In the early part of 1834 he was appointed the Resident Engineer to the Birmingham end of the Grand Junction Railway, his district extending from Birmingham to Stafford, and he remained in charge of those works till their completion, and the opening of the entire line in July, 1837. He had workshops behind Bank house in Sankey street while working on the Grand Junction Railway. On 9 October 1834 he married Mary Malloney at Winwick.

When the maintenance of this railway fell into the hands of the Company, the Directors sought to let it for a term of years, at a certain fixed rate per mile per annum. This contract was undertaken by Mr. Allcard, who was thus the first to engage in a mode of railway maintenance, afterwards followed by many other Companies. At a later period Mr. Allcard, jointly with John Allan, entered into a similar contract with the Lancaster and Preston Railway Company, and he was also the contractor for the permanent way of the Manchester and Sheffield Railway.

In 1841, when the late Mr. Locke (Past President) commenced the construction of the Paris and Rouen Railway, Mr. Allcard and Mr. Buddicom, with Mr. Brassey and the late William Mackenzie, contracted with that Company for the construction of their locomotives and rolling stock, and established the large and well-known engine-works at Rouen. With the increase of railways in France, this business became one of considerable importance, not merely for the construction of railway rolling stock, but also for contracting for locomotive power, and for working the trains at a fixed rate per mile. This system included the Paris and Rouen, the Rouen and Havre, the Dieppe, the Paris and Caen, and the Cherbourg Railways, and was continued from the respective openings of those railways, until the middle of the year 1861.

Although Mr. Allcard took no active part in the operations of the concern after 1847, yet he remained a partner until the period of his decease, which took place suddenly, on the 5th of August, 1861, at the age of fifty-two, and whilst he might still have looked forward to many years of active utility. He was much esteemed in a wide circle of friends, who had been connected with him for a long period, and by whom his decease is sincerely regretted.

He only joined the Institution as a Member in 1858, but during his residence each year in London, he took great interest in all the proceedings and in the general welfare of the Society.

Retrieved from Grace’s Guide. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.

Thomas Kirtley (Locomotive Engineer) 1810–1847

Born 20 Feb 1811
Died 16 Feb 1847

Thomas Kirtley was an English railway engineer, and was the locomotive superintendent of the North Midland Railway and later the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway.

He was born at Tanfield, County Durham, the son of a colliery owner, and elder brother of Matthew Kirtley (b. 1813). Thomas began his career as an engine driver on the Liverpool and Manchester Railway with his brother. He founded the locomotive builder Thomas Kirtley and Co. of Dallam Foundry, Warrington in 1837, but this company failed in 1841. After briefly working for his brother on the Warrington and Newton Railway he was appointed locomotive superintendent of the North Midland Railway in 1843, but lost his role at the formation of the Midland Railway in May 1844 and served as an inspector. In 1845 he worked for the Trent Valley Railway for Thomas Brassey. In February 1847 he was appointed Locomotive Superintendent of the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway following the dismissal of John Gray, but nine months later he suffered a brain tumor and died.

The following report comes from Grace’s Guide.

1848 ‘TO BE SOLD by Private Contract, the BUILDINGS and PREMISES, in Dallam-lane, Warrington, formerly used as a Locomotive Engine Manufactory, and occupied by Messrs. Thomas Kirtley and Co.; and now used as a Pottery, and occupied by Mr. Thomas Bradford. The Premises were built and are admirably adapted for a Locomotive Manufactory, but may be easily converted to almost any Manufacturing purpose. They contain, with the sites of Buildings, 4175 square yards, and are most conveniently situated, abutting upon, and communicating with the London and North Western Railway. The Tenure is Leasehold for long term, subject to a ground rent of £20 per annum.- Immediate possession may be had if required. For further particulars apply to Messrs. BEAMONT and URMSON, Solicitors, Warrington.’

First section retrieved from Wikipedia.

Thomas’ son William is profiled later.

Thomas Glazebrook Rylands (Wire Weaver) 1818-1900

Born 24 May 1818
died 14 Feb 1900
Aged 81

Thomas Glazebrook Rylands was born 24th May 1818 and baptised 13th Sept following. He was the son of John Rylands, an iron manufacturer, and Martha Glazebrook.

Education and interests

He was educated at Warrington Grammar School. He had an interest in many sciences—entomology, botany, geology, mineralogy, zoology, phrenology and, later, astronomy and was a regular attendant at the meetings of the British Association. He was a good Greek and Latin scholar and an able mathematician, and possessed a fair knowledge of architecture, heraldry and ancient geography.

He made many contributions to the studies of diatoms (A major group of algae), communicating with other diatom experts, including Walker-Arnott, Greville, Hooker and Ralfs. Robert Kaye Greville (1794-1866) left his entire collection of diatom slides, plus some 700 bottles of specimens, to Rylands. In 1866 He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Family and career

In 1843 he left the family home Bewsey House In Warrington and lived in Cheetwood Manchester for 2 years managing a branch of the family business which he eventually jointly owned with his brothers John and Peter.

He had a great number of learned friends in the Manchester area and met frequently with his future brother-in-law John Gordon McMinnies who owned cotton spinning businesses in Manchester, Preston and Warrington.

In 1845 he returned to Warrington and married. He lived in various houses in Warrington before moving to Highfields which he had built in Thelwall where he remained for the rest of his life.

On 24 May 1845 he married his second cousin Miss Jane Chapman Ragg at Ashby-de-la-Zouch non conformist chapel. They had two sons. She was involved in a carriage accident on 11 Sept 1851, her spinal injuries leading to her death 23 Oct 1856. She was buried at Hill Cliff, Appleton.

In 1858-9 He was a Justice of the Peace for Warrington and Mayor of Warrington.

He got married again on 2nd Feb 1860 at Croft Church near Warrington to Miss Elizabeth Dewhurst, who survived him. They had three children, a son who died in infancy and two daughters. His children were John Paul Rylands, an iron manufacturer, Rachel D. Rylands and Martha G. Rylands, all born in Warrington. In 1881 the family lived at Highfields, Thelwall. They had seven servants.


He died at his residence, Highfields, Thelwall, Cheshire, on the 14th of February 1900 and was cremated at Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester. His funeral urn was buried in Thelwall Churchyard.

Retrieved from Wikitree.

Peter Rylands (Wire Weaver and Politician) 1820-1887

Born 18 Jan 1820
Died 18 Feb 1887
Aged 67

“Foreign Policy”. Caricature by Spy published in
Vanity Fair in 1879.

Peter Rylands, politician, was born born in Bewsey House, Warrington, the youngest son of John Rylands, a manufacturer, by his wife, a daughter of the Rev. James Glazebrook, vicar of Belton, Leicestershire.

He was educated at the Boteler grammar school in his native town. As a boy he had a passion for politics, and in 1835 presided at a Whig banquet of two hundred sons of Warrington electors, who had taken part in a mock election. Up to the age of twenty-one his time was chiefly passed in studying and writing papers on natural history and phrenology. He then found, however, that his father’s means had shrunk, owing to the diversion of the manufacture of sail-cloth from Warrington, and that the manufacture of steel and iron wire, another business conducted by his father, had ceased to pay. In concert with his brothers, Peter reconstituted the latter business, which in the course of a few years increased so largely as to contribute to the prosperity of Warrington.

Rylands interested himself in religious topics. Originally a nonconformist, he joined the church of England. In 1845 he published a little pamphlet on ‘The Mission of the Church’. A larger work, on ‘The Pulpit and the People,’ appeared in 1847. He also took an active part in politics, and became a working member of the Anti-Cornlaw League. He was elected mayor of Warrington in 1852, and in 1859 he was invited to become a liberal candidate in opposition to Mr. Greenall; but he declined on the ground of business engagements.

In concert with Mr. McMinnies and the Rev. R. A. Mould, he contributed a series of letters to the ‘Warrington Guardian,’ signed Oliver West. They attracted wide attention, and stirred to energy the liberal sentiment of the district. The authorship was not disclosed until after Rylands’s death. Rylands entered parliament as member for Warrington in 1868. He was a candidate in 1874, first for Warrington, and next for south-east Lancashire, but failed in each case. In 1876 he returned to the House of Commons as member for Burnley, and represented it till his death. In parliament,

Rylands proved himself an earnest and hard-working, but independent radical. He frequently criticised the foreign policy of both parties, and in 1886 joined the party of liberal unionists which was formed when Mr. Gladstone adopted the policy of home rule for Ireland.

He died on 8 February 1887 at his house, Massey Hall, Thelwall. He married twice and had three sons by his second wife Caroline Reynolds, whom he married in 1861. He left the hall to the local authority for educational purposes.

Read more in Wikipedia.

Joseph Leicester (Industrialist and Politician) 1825-1903

Born 24 Dec 1825
Died 13 Oct 1903
Aged 77

Joseph Lynn Leicester was an English glass blower and Liberal politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1885 to 1886.

Born in Warrington, he was the son of Thomas Leicester, a glassblower. At the age of nine, Leicester was apprenticed to his father’s trade. In 1850 he moved to Lambeth in London, and was employed for 35 years as a glass-blower by James Powell and Sons of Whitefriars, London. Soon after his arrival in the capital he was appointed secretary of the Glassmakers Trade Society, a position he held for more than forty years. He was sent by the Society of Arts to report upon glass at the Paris Exhibitions in 1867 and 1868. The Society awarded him three first-class prizes for art and in 1870 the Glass Blowers’ Society of Great Britain and Ireland presented him with £100 in recognition of his services to the trade. He was a strong temperance advocate, and was in favour of Sunday closing of public houses.

In the 1885 general election, Leicester was elected Member of Parliament for West Ham South but in the 1886 general election, he was defeated by the Conservative candidate. He made four contributions during his year in parliament. At the 1892 general election he was again chosen to contest the West Ham South seat for the Liberals. However, the party withdrew from the constituency, in favour of Keir Hardie of the Independent Labour Party, who went on to win the seat.

Leicester died at the age of 78 and was buried in Nunhead Cemetery. His gravestone noted: “From a poor working lad he became an eloquent advocate of temperance, a master craftsman in the art of glass making, and all his life took a foremost part in the social elevation of his fellow workmen, who did honour to themselves and him, by returning him as a Member of Parliament. Write him down as one who ‘loved’ his fellow man”.

Retrieved from Wikipedia.

Alexander Mackie (Newspaper Publisher) 1826-1894

Born: 1826
Died: 21 May 1894

Alexander Mackie was a Scotsman who twice tried to become an MP but failed. So instead he moved to north west England in 1845 when he married Elizabeth Boddington.

His first venture in the region was at Bolton where he opened the Bolton Advertiser newspaper in 1847. The paper contained timetables, fiction, competitions and essays because the law had made it illegal to carry news!

His intention was to open a second newspaper in Bolton, but was unsuccessful, so instead he turned his attention to Warrington some 17 miles away, which didn’t have a newspaper at the time.

He called his newspaper the Warrington Guardian which was published for the first time on Saturday 9 April 1853 from his office in Buttermarket Street.

Mackie died on 21 May 1894.

The Warrington Guardian has changed ownership and publication days over the years. It is currently American owned and published on a Thursday. The former offices and print rooms on Sankey Street are now used by the community and charity organisations, while the newspaper itself is based in offices at Centre Park alongside Chester Road and the printing is done in Glasgow.

Frederick Monks (Businessman) 1835-1912

Born 1835
Died 24 Sep 1912
Aged 77

Frederick Monks set up his Iron manufacturing company in Warrington with Thomas Hall, trading as Frederick Monks and Co. from 1874.

On 29 May 1878 it became a public company called Monks, Hall & Co, to acquire the business of iron and steel bar, hoop, and wire rod manufacturers of the firm of F. Monks and Co.

The business expanded in 1897 and by 1914 they were known as Iron and steel manufacturers. Specialities included steel ingots, iron and steel bars, hoops, wire rods and tube strips, tubes, rivets, bedsteads and mattresses. They employed 1,200 workers.

In 1933 they joined with Lancashire Steel Corporation to purchase William Robertson (of Warrington), manufacturers of bright drawn products.

In 1951 the company was nationalised under the Iron and Steel Act, becoming part of the Iron and Steel Corporation of Great Britain and 10 years later they were known as manufacturers of iron and steel bars, wire rods, strips, light rails, rivets and mattresses with 500 employees. 

He was one of the oldest members of the Iron and Steel Institute, having been elected in 1870.

Frederick Monks died on 24 September 1912 at his residence at Lancaster Road, Birkdale.

His son, Frederick William Monks, became managing director of the company after he joined the board in 1874.

He organised departments for tubes, bedsteads, mattresses, &c., and was concerned with the introduction of the use of Mond gas by the industry.

He joined the Iron and Steel Institute in 1896.

Frederick William Monks died early in 1932 at Bordighera, Italy.

Information retrieved from Grace’s Guide. The text of this web site is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.

William Kirtley (Railway Engineer) 1840-1919

Born 1840
Died 7 Oct 1919
Aged 78 or 79

William Kirtley was a railway engineer and the Locomotive Superintendent of the London Chatham and Dover Railway (LCDR) from 1874 until the merger to form the South Eastern and Chatham Railway at the end of 1898.

William was born in Warrington in 1840, the son of the locomotive engineer Thomas Kirtley (1811–1847), profiled earlier. He was educated by his uncle Matthew Kirtley, Locomotive Superintendent of the Birmingham and Derby Junction Railway and later of the Midland Railway, following his father’s premature death. He served as a pupil at Derby Works from 1854–1860, and from 1861 to 1864 he was Running foreman for the Midland Railway for the London District. In 1864 he was appointed superintendent of Derby Works. In 1874 he was appointed Carriage and Wagon Superintendent on the LCDR following the death of William Martley, and served until the merger to form the South Eastern and Chatham Railway at the end of 1898, when he retired. He also served as consultant to the Hull and Barnsley Railway between 1883 and 1885, prior to the opening of the line.

London Chatham & Dover Railway Career

During his period at the LCDR Kirtley extended Longhedge Railway Works (Battersea) and once again used it for new locomotive construction. He also introduced a new livery, numbering scheme and locomotive classification scheme to the railway. The railway under Kirtley was also one of the pioneers in using continuous braking by means of Westinghouse air brakes.


According to D.L. Bradley, Kirtley’s locomotives were “well designed, robustly constructed, easily maintained, and capable of high mileages between general repairs. For the period their coal, water and old consumption was moderate while all performed their daily tasks well.” His classes included 0-4-4 suburban tanks of the A, A1, A2, R, and R1 classes; Six coupled goods classes B, B1, and B2 classes; six coupled tanks of the T class; and 4-4-0 express passenger locomotives of the M, M1, M2 and M3 classes.

Whilst working as a consultant for the Hull and Barnsley Railway he also designed twelve six coupled tank locomotives and twenty tender locomotives to similar designs and ten 2-4-0s.

Retrieved from Wikipedia.

Richard Fairclough (Flour Merchant) 1844-

Born 1844

Richard Taylor Fairclough was born in 1844 in Earlestown, and educated at Winwick Grammar School before moving on to Liverpool College.

He moved to Warrington in 1864 after spending five years in the tea trade in Manchester. In Warrington he opened out a connection in Cheshire for the Mersey Flour Mills. Throughout his long working life he showed superb business acumen which was proven by the continued success of the company his father, James Fairclough Senior, had set up in the early 1850’s.

On top of this he took an active part in the management of the Longford Wire Works of which he was a director for 20 years, and the Alliance Box Company where he was Chairman for a number of years. But his success as a businessman is not the main reason for the people of Warrington remembering the name Richard Taylor Fairclough.

In 1889 he was elected to the coun­cil – a position he held until 1895. Meanwhile he had been appointed a representative of the corporation on the upper Mersey and Navigation Committee. As well as this work he was also a Justice of the Peace for 37 years. Richard Fairclough’s greatest work, however, was as an educationalist. For 55 years he was treasurer of the Parochial School and in 1903 he was made a member of the newly formed Education Committee for the town. In addition to this he was chairman of the Sites and Building Committee and a representative manager of the Bolton Council School. The many Saturdays he spent with RICHARD FAIRCLOUGH HOUSE – spade and wheel barrow, raising with cinders the level of a plot of land next to the Parochial School so that the pupils could have a bigger playground, were a typical example of his dedica­tion to education.

Richard Fairclough School

When the site for a new school in Latchford had been approved the Borough Education Committee took the opportunity to commemorate the work of Richard Fairclough by naming the school after him. Although he was not present, due to ill health, at the opening of the school in 1934, he did send a message to the pupils which ended with the words: “Be good, not only good, but good for something”. Richard Fairclough died five months later and it is a testament to the good work carried out by the man that following the change of usage of the school to office accommodation that the National Rivers Authority should choose to continue honouring the man by adopting as the name for the new headquarters ‘Richard Fairclough House.’

A school ahead of its time – Boy’s Own stories and ghostly goings on Richard Fairclough’s was, without doubt, a school ahead of its time. Architects S. Wright and E. H. Hamlett designed the classrooms with an emphasis on light and airy conditions. The school offered excellent facili­ties especially for subjects like domestic science, woodwork and chemistry but as the times dictated, there was strict segregation between the boys and girls schools, a fact which explains the outstanding symmetry of the original building. Indeed one of the main school rules was no frater­nising with members of the opposite sex. Segregation even went as far as two portraits of Richard Fairclough, one for the girls and one for the boys!

The first headmaster of the boys school, Robert Hunman, took his role very seriously indeed. He regularly stressed the importance of the training of teachers and demanded total commitment from his staff saying: “It is a tremendous responsibil­ity that we have on our hands, the sacredness of human personality – never let us betray that trust.” Reginald Maddock replaced Robert Hunman as head in 1957 and not only mirrored the high standards of his predecessor but introduced new and innovative ideas. He believed firmly in breaking down the barriers which existed between the school and the local people, pioneering community orientated education which became known as The Fairclough Tradition’. But it is as an author of boys adventure books that he is perhaps better known. The Corrigan series, which started with ‘Corrigan and the White Cobra’ in 1956, not only met with great success in this country, but was published in several different languages.

No school would be complete without its ghost story, and Richard Fairclough is no exception. Former caretaker Harold Fogg often talked of the time he spotted a mysterious lady looking at him from the staff room window when he knew there was nobody else in the building. Add to that the stories of sounds and smells such as the shuffling of feet along one of the landings when nobody was about, the smell of cook­ing bacon and tobacco that appear from nowhere, and the famous room 20 where banging noises were heard and the water boiler came on with the help of no human hand and you have enough mystery and intrigue to ensure that late nights at the office are definitely not something to look forward to. But think positively. At least you will never be lonely!

The Ford

THERE’S a certain irony in the fact that the new headquarters of the NRA should be situated at a point just yards away from an ancient ford across the River Mersey, which has been the focal point of human settlements in the Warrington area for over 3,000 years. Although today the ford no longer exists – the course of the river was altered in the early 18th Century in an attempt to make the Mersey navigable as far as Manchester – its importance to the town of Warrington and the surrounding areas should not be forgotten. Being the lowest point at which the Mersey could be crossed by foot, Warrington, or to be more precise Latch­ford, became one of the focal points for Bronze Age traders who supplied tools and implements made in Ireland to both settlers in the area and travellers who converged on Latchford in their journeys north and south. Warrington Museum displays sev­eral bronze tools and weapons, including a spearhead that was found at the weir in 1954 only to be broken by workmen who were using it to play darts with!

Boydells versus the Botelers

Warrington did not really develop as a town until the Romans arrived in 78 A.D. soon after the occupation of Chester when the area became an industrial hive of activity with the production of pottery, glass-making and ore smelting. The name of Latchford, which means ‘a ford at a boggy place’ did not appear in writing until the reign of Richard I (1189-1199) when the 6th Earl of Chester granted one Hugh de Boydell the rights to charge a toll for use of the ford at Latchford. This con­cession led to a bitter feud between the Boydell family and the Boteler family who lived on the north side of the Mersey. The Boteler family erected a bridge across the Mersey and were granted pontage – the right to collect tolls, and the Boydells seemed to see this as encroaching on their income from the toll charged for crossing the ford. The feud reached such a pitch that an enquiry was held in front of a sworn jury, the Lieutenant of Ches­ter and the Sheriff of Cheshire in 1354. Bitter feelings and resentment persisted even after the enquiry and when the bridge was reconstructed in 1364, Royal protection had to be given to all concerned – from Sir John Boteler himself down to the stonemasons and carpenters for fear of damage which may have been caused by “certain enemies”. The early part of the 19th century saw Latchford really start to grow in size. In 1801 the population was just 754 but by 1831 that had increased to 2,166, mainly due to the increase in cotton manufacturing. Water was still playing a major part in the development of the area at that time with the Mersey now navigable right through to Manchester and the Old Quay Canal, known locally as the Black Bear Canal, which was constructed to ri­val the Bridgewater Canal which ran through Grappenhall. The Old Quay Canal was largely responsible for the development of the tanning industry in Latchford and Howley. A full comprehensive history of Latchford is available from all good book shops. ‘Latchford’ by G. A Carter maps the progress of the area from the ear­liest settlers through to modern times.

My thanks to the National Rivers Authority for use of the text from their publication.

John Webster (Civil Engineer) 1845-1914

Born 9 Jun 1845
Died 30 Oct 1914
Aged 69

Warrington Bridge in 2022

John James Webster was a civil engineer who specialised in designing bridges.

He was born in Warrington and educated at Owens College, Manchester. He trained with Bellhouse & Co of Manchester, where he became chief draughtsman.

In 1871 he moved to Ashbury Carriage & Iron Co, where he designed several bridges in India, which led to his appointment as Chief of the Bridge Department of Messrs Thos. Brassey & Co., for whom he was responsible for the construction of the Liverpool landing-stage. In 1876 he worked for a short time as assistant engineer to the Aberdeen Harbour Works before joining the Hull Dock Company as assistant engineer.

In 1881 he set up in business as a consultant, firstly in Liverpool and then in London. Some of his more notable structures included:

  • the reconstruction of the Conway Suspension Bridge
  • Portsmouth bascule bridge
  • Littlehampton swing bridge
  • Widnes-Runcorn Transporter Bridge
  • Shepherd’s Bush Stadium for the Olympic Games of 1908
  • Big Wheel at Earl’s Court
  • piers at Dover, Bangor, Minehead, Llandudno, Penmaenmawr, Menai Bridge, and Egremont

He also worked on bridges in other countries, including India, Australia, South America and Spain.

He was a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers and was awarded their Telford Gold Medal. His last work was Warrington Bridge at Bridge Foot which was one of the earliest examples of a reinforced concrete bridge.

He died at 81 Mount Nod Road, in Streatham on 30 October 1914 and was buried at West Norwood Cemetery.

Information retrieved from Wikipedia and Grace’s Guide.

William Owen (Architect) 1846-1910

Born 27 Aug 1846
Died 5 Apr 1910
Aged 64

William Owen was an English architect who practised in Warrington,. His works were confined to Northwest England. Owen is best known for his collaboration with William Lever in the creation of the soap-making factory and associated model village at Port Sunlight in the Wirral Peninsula. Here he designed the factory, many of the workers’ houses, public buildings and the church. Later Owen was joined by his son, Segar, as a partner. On his own, or in partnership, Owen designed houses, churches, banks, public houses, an infirmary, a school, and a concert hall.

William Owen was born in Latchford, Warrington. He trained as an architect under John Lowe in Manchester, becoming his assistant, and later was assistant to James Radford. He then travelled in Europe before establishing a practice in Warrington in 1869. He was joined in partnership by his eldest son, Segar, in 1898. The partnership also had an office in Manchester. Owen’s work was confined to Northwest England. His more notable designs include churches in Altrincham, Greater Manchester, and Warrington, buildings for Parr’s Bank in Southport, Merseyside, and Wigan, Greater Manchester, and the Parr Hall, a concert hall in Warrington. The partnership were architects to the Greenall Whitley Brewery Company, and built public houses for them in Warrington and Stockton Heath.

Other work undertaken in Warrington by Owen, either on his own or in partnership, include the following.

St Barnabas’ Church, Bank Quay (1879)
School of Art, Museum Street (1883)
Extensions to All Saints Church, Thelwall (1890)
Albion public house, Battersby Lane, Fairfield (1896)
St Clement’s Chapel, Warrington (1897) (demolished)
Workhouse Infirmary (now Kendrick Wing, Warrington General Hospital) (1899)
Royal Oak public house, Bridge Street (c. 1900)
Wheatsheaf public house, Orford Lane (c. 1900)
Technical School, Palmyra Square (1900–01)
Mulberry Tree public house, Stockton Heath (1907)
Organ screen, St Elphin’s Church (1908)

Retrieved from Wikipedia.

Edward John Smith (Sea Captain) 1850-1912

Born 27 Jan 1850
died 15 Apr 1912
Aged 62

Captain Smith of the Titanic. This photo appeared in the The New York Times some days after his death in the sinking of the Titanic.

Illustration of the sinking of the Titanic from the National maritime Museum collection and released into the public domain.

Captain Edward John Smith, RD, RNR was the captain of the RMS Titanic when it sank in 1912. He was the son of Edward and Catherine Smith and he attended Etruria British School. In 1867 he signed on as ‘Boy’ aboard the Senator Weber, owned by the Liverpool shippers, Andrew Gibson & Co. He was given his first command, the 1,040-ton sailing ship Lizzie Fennell, in 1876.

He married Sarah Eleanor Pennington on 13 January 1887 at St. Oswald’s Church, Winwick. After his marriage he lived at Spar Cottage in Winwick. They had a daughter named Helen Melville Smith, who was born in Waterloo, Liverpool on 2 April 1898. When the White Star line transferred its transatlantic port from Liverpool to Southampton in 1907 the family moved to a red brick, twin-gabled house, named “Woodhead”, on Winn Road, Highfield, Southampton.

Edward Smith joined the White Star Line in March 1880 as the Fourth Officer of SS Celtic. He served aboard the company’s liners to Australia and to New York City, where he quickly rose in status. In 1887, he received his first White Star command, the Republic. In 1888, Smith earned his Extra Master’s Certificate and joined the Royal Naval Reserve, receiving a commission as a Lieutenant, which entitled him to add the letters “RNR” after his name. This meant that in a time of war he could be called upon to serve in the Royal Navy. Smith retired from the RNR in 1905 with the rank of Commander. His ship had the distinction of being able to fly the Blue Ensign of the RNR; British merchant vessels generally flew the Red Ensign.

Smith was Majestic‘s captain for nine years commencing in 1895. When the Boer War started in 1899, Majestic was called upon to transport troops to Cape Colony. Smith made two trips to South Africa, both without incident, and in 1903, for his service, King Edward VII awarded him the Transport Medal, showing the “South Africa” clasp. Smith was regarded as a “safe captain”. As he rose in seniority, he gained a following amongst passengers with some only sailing the Atlantic on a ship he captained.


On 10 April 1912, Smith came aboard Titanic at 7 a.m. to prepare for the Board of Trade muster at 8:00 a.m. He immediately went to his cabin to get the sailing report from Chief Officer Henry Wilde. After departure at noon, the huge amount of water displaced by Titanic as she passed caused the laid-up New York to break from her moorings and swing towards Titanic. Quick action from Smith helped to avert a premature end to the maiden voyage.

The first four days of the voyage passed without incident, but on 14 April 1912, Titanic‘s radio operators received six messages from other ships warning of drifting ice, which passengers on Titanic had begun to notice during the afternoon.

Although the crew was thus aware of ice in the vicinity, they did not reduce the ship’s speed and continued to steam at 22 knots (41 km/h; 25 mph), only 2 knots (3.7 km/h; 2.3 mph) short of her maximum speed of 24 knots (44 km/h; 28 mph). Titanic‘s high speed in waters where ice had been reported was later criticised as reckless, but it reflected standard maritime practice at the time. According to Fifth Officer Harold Lowe, the custom was “to go ahead and depend upon the lookouts in the crow’s nest and the watch on the bridge to pick up the ice in time to avoid hitting it”.

Shortly after 11:40 p.m. on 14 April, Smith was informed by First Officer William Murdoch that the ship had just collided with an iceberg. It was soon apparent that the ship was seriously damaged; designer Thomas Andrews reported that all of the first five of the ship’s watertight compartments had been breached and that Titanic would sink in under two hours.

There are conflicting reports on what actions Captain Smith took during the rescuing of passengers and the sinking of the ship. There are also conflicting reports on how the captain died. Lack of space prevents me from going into detail, but the New York Herald in its 19 April 1912 edition quoted Robert Williams Daniel, who jumped from the stern immediately before the ship sank, in its 19 April 1912 edition as having claimed to have witnessed Captain Smith drown in the ship’s wheelhouse.

“I saw Captain Smith on the bridge. My eyes seemingly clung to him. The deck from which I had leapt was immersed. The water had risen slowly, and was now to the floor of the bridge. Then it was to Captain Smith’s waist. I saw him no more. He died a hero.”

There is much more online about the Titanic disaster, including more in the Wikipedia account where these notes are taken from. Even today, there are new investigations and discoveries about what happened on that fateful night in 1912, including further research by James Cameron who directed the major film of 1997.

William Lever (Industrialist) 1851-1925

Born 19 Sep 1851
Died 7 May 1925
Aged 73

William Lever, 1st Viscount Leverhulme.
Image is out of copyright.

My photo of Lord Leverhulme’s final resting place at Port Sunlight

William Hesketh Lever, 1st Viscount Leverhulme was an  industrialist, philanthropist, and politician. He was born at 16 Wood Street, Bolton, Lancashire. He was the eldest son and the seventh child born to James Lever (1809–1897), a grocer, and Eliza Hesketh, daughter of a cotton mill manager.

From age six to age nine William attended a small private school run by the Misses Aspinwall in a house on Wood Street, not far from the Lever family home. At the age of nine he was sent to another of Bolton’s private schools before finishing his formal education at Bolton Church Institute from 1864 to 1867.

His mother wanted him to enter the learned professions, ostensibly medicine, and William himself was very interested in becoming an architect. His father, however, had other, somewhat less erudite plans for his eldest son and thus, not long after his fifteenth birthday, he started work in the family grocery business. By then, the Lever family had moved from Wood Street to a larger house adjacent to the grocery business.

William Lever and his brother James entered the soap business in 1885 by buying a small soap works in Warrington. The brothers teamed up with a Cumbrian chemist, William Hough Watson, who became an early business partner. Watson invented the process which resulted in a new soap, using glycerin and vegetable oils such as palm oil, rather than tallow. The resulting soap was a good, free-lathering soap, at first named Honey Soap then later named “Sunlight Soap”. Production reached 450 tons per week by 1888. Larger premises were built on marshes at Bromborough Pool on the Wirral Peninsula at what became Port Sunlight. Though the company was named Lever Brothers, William Lever’s brother and co-director James never took a major part in running the business. He fell ill in 1895, probably as a result of diabetes, and resigned his directorship two years later.

Lever Brothers Ltd also acquired other soap companies including A&F Pears, John Knight of London, Gossage’s of Widnes, Watson’s of Leeds, Crosfield’s of Warrington, Hazlehurst & Sons of Runcorn and Hudson’s of Liverpool.


Lever was a lifelong supporter of William Ewart Gladstone and Liberalism. He was invited to contest elections for the Liberal Party. He served as Member of Parliament (MP) for the Wirral constituency between 1906 and 1909 and used his maiden speech in the House of Commons to urge Henry Campbell-Bannerman’s government to introduce a national old age pension, such as the one he provided for his workers. On the recommendation of the Liberal Party, he was created a baronet in 1911 and raised to the peerage as Baron Leverhulme on 21 June 1917, the “hulme” element of his title being in honour of his wife, Elizabeth Hulme.

Lord Leverhulme died at 73 of pneumonia at his home in Hampstead on 7 May 1925. His funeral was attended by 30,000 people. He is buried in the churchyard of Christ Church in Port Sunlight.

Charles Nall-Cain (Brewer) 1866-1934

Born 29 May 1866
Died 21 Nov 1934
Aged 78

Charles Alexander Nall-Cain, 1st Baron Brocket (29 May 1866 – 21 November 1934), born Charles Alexander Cain, was a British businessman and philanthropist.

Brocket was the fourth son of Robert Cain, founder of the brewing firm of Robert Cain & Sons, and his wife Anne, née Newall. The family was originally of Irish descent. He served as chairman of the family firm, which became Walker Cain Ltd after its merger with Walkers of Warrington in 1921. Walkers was established by Peter Walker in 1846, when he acquired Pemberton’s Brewery in Warrington and, having admitted his son Andrew to the business, started trading as Peter Walker & Son. The company became Walkers of Warrington in 1864. It later merged with Joshua Tetley & Son to form Tetley Walker in 1960.

Nall-Cain’s brother, Sir William Cain, 1st Baronet, was also heavily involved in the business. Apart from his business career Brocket was also a Deputy Lieutenant and High Sheriff of Hertfordshire (1925) and a Justice of the Peace for the county and was involved in charitable causes. He was created a Baronet in the 1921 Birthday Honours for his philanthropic works, and on 19 January 1933 he was raised to the peerage as Baron Brocket, of Brocket Hall in the County of Hertford.

Lord Brocket married, firstly, Florence Nall, daughter of William Nall. In 1921 he assumed by deed poll his wife’s maiden surname of Nall in addition to that of Cain. After his first wife’s death in 1927 he married, secondly, Anne Page Croft, daughter of Richard Benyon Croft. Lord Brocket died in November 1934, aged 68, and was succeeded in his titles by his son from his first marriage, Ronald Nall-Cain.

Retrieved from Wikipedia.

Gilbert Greenall, 1st Baron Daresbury (Brewer and Businessman) 1867-1938

Born 30 Mar 1867
died 24 Oct 1938
Aged 71

Gilbert Greenall, 1st Baron Daresbury, CVO, JP, DL, known as Sir Gilbert Greenall, 2nd Baronet, from 1894 to 1927, was a British brewer, business man, landowner, peer, and master of foxhounds.

Greenall was the son of Sir Gilbert Greenall, 1st Baronet, profiled earlier. The family’s wealth was based on the brewing business established by Greenall’s great-grandfather Thomas Greenall in 1762 (which later became the Greenall’s Group). His father also had large interests in canals and banking. Greenall succeeded his father in the baronetcy in 1894.

In the late 1890s, Greenall sought the position of Master of the Cheshire Foxhounds, but was turned down, as he was deemed to be “not quite a gentleman”. However, he was taken on as Master by the Belvoir Hunt and served for sixteen years.

Greenall served as High Sheriff of Cheshire for the year 1907 and was appointed as a deputy lieutenant the same year In 1927 he was raised to the peerage as Baron Daresbury, of Walton in the County of Chester.

Lord Daresbury married Frances Eliza, daughter of Captain Edward Wynne Griffith, in 1900. He died in October 1938, aged 71, and was succeeded in his titles by his son Edward. Lady Daresbury died in 1953.

The image shows Sir Gilbert Greenall, Bart. Source: Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, Wednesday 24 November 1909, page 9 and now in the public domain.

Retrieved from Wikipedia.

Christopher and Hinton (Nuclear Engineer) 1901-1983

Born 12 May 1901
Died 22 Jun 1983
Aged 82

Photo is used under fair use policies –
mywarrington is a non-commercial website.

The office building at Risley is named
Hinton House in his memory.

Christopher Hinton, Baron Hinton of Bankside OM, KBE, FRS, FREng, born in Tisbury, Wiltshire was a British nuclear engineer, and supervisor of the construction of Calder Hall, the world’s first large-scale commercial nuclear power station.

Hinton’s career began as graduate engineering apprentice with the Great Western Railway at Swindon. He graduated from Trinity College, Cambridge with a first class honors degree. He then worked for Brunner Mond, and during WWII, Hinton was seconded to the Ministry of Supply.

In 1946, Hinton was appointed Deputy Controller of Production, Atomic Energy, and in 1954 when the Atomic Energy Authority was formed, he was appointed Member for Engineering and Production as Managing Director of ‘Industrial Group Risley’ which comprised the Risley headquarters and laboratories at Culcheth, Capenhurst, Windscale, Springfields and Dounreay plus factories at Springfields, Capenhurst, Windscale, Calder, Dounreay and Chapelcross. The Lord Hinton of Bankside in 1970.

Hinton’s department was responsible for the design and construction of most of Britain’s major nuclear plants, including Windscale, Capenhurst, Springfields and Dounreay. In 1957 Hinton became the first chairman of the Central Electricity Generating Board.

He retired in 1964 but right up until the time of his death the CEGB kept an office for him at their headquarters in Paternoster Square. For his 80th birthday the Research Division gave a party at which a birthday cake was equipped with 80 candles. These were so closely spaced that when he lit the central candle, the flame spread rapidly to all of the others – Sir Christopher had initiated his last chain reaction!

In 1965 he worked for six months in the Ministry of Transport and afterwards became a special advise to the World Bank. He served as Chairman of the International Executive Committee of the World Energy Conference, 1962–68.

He was created Baron Hinton of Bankside, of Dulwich in the County of London, a life peer, on 28 January 1965, and served as Chancellor of the University of Bath 1966 – 1979. He was appointed to the Order of Merit in 1976.

Retrieved from Wikipedia.

Bessie Ardern (Businesswoman) 1907-2008

Born 1907
died 20 Sep 2008
Aged 101

Bessie Ardern was the proprietor of Bessie Arderns Bakery at 26-28 Willis Street off Manchester Road in Warrington. She was born in Glossop, Derbyshire and set up the Warrington bakery in 1932. She was married to Jack Wood in 1934 and lived above the bakery for over 50 years.

Bessie was still involved in the bakery business well into her 80s until her eyesight began to fail and she handed the reins to her family, who had worked alongside her in the business for many years.

Bessie was involved in many community activities and became treasurer of St Elphin’s Church at the age of 74. The great-grandmother passed away peacefully in her sleep on 20 September 2008, age 101.

Maurice Flanaghan (Businessman) 1928-2015

Born 17 Nov 1928
Died 7 May 2015
Aged 86

Sir Maurice Flanagan KBE was a British businessman, the founding CEO of Emirates and executive vice-chairman of The Emirates Group.

Flanagan was born in Leigh, Lancashire. He attended initially the now defunct Leigh Boys Grammar School, starting the year World War II broke out, but transferred later to Lymm Grammar School, and then Liverpool University, where he gained a BA in History and French.

He performed his National Service in the RAF as a navigator commissioned officer. Receiving a national service commission as an acting pilot officer in February 1951, he was confirmed in the rank of pilot officer in November. On Christmas Day, 1952, he was appointed to a commission in the RAFVR. He was promoted to flying officer in March 1954, and relinquished his commission two years later.

Abandoning an athletic profession in 1953, he joined BOAC as a management trainee, subsequently working for the airline in Kenya, Sri Lanka, Peru, Iran, India and the UK.

Flanagan spent 25 years with BOAC and British Airways, held senior management positions with British Airways from 1974 until he was seconded from BA’s senior management to Dnata, the organisation appointed by the government of Dubai to run its travel and airport interests.

In 1978, Flanagan was appointed director and general manager of Dubai National Air Travel Agency. In 1985, the Dubai government employed Flanagan to launch Emirates. The fledgling airline received $10 million start-up capital that it repaid the following year, marking its immediate success.

In 1990, Flanagan was appointed group managing director of the Emirates Group and became vice chairman and group president in July 2003. He was appointed executive vice chairman in 2006 and he retired in 2013.

Flanagan was awarded a CBE in 2000 for services to communities in the United Arab Emirates and to aviation, and KBE in the 2010 Birthday Honours.

He died in 2015.

Retrieved from Wikipedia.

Ossie Clark (Fashion Designer) 1942-1996

Born 9 Jun 1942
Died 6 Aug 1996
Aged 53

Raymond “Ossie” Clark was an English fashion designer, who was a major player of the swinging 60s scene in London and the fashion industry in that era. Born in Liverpool during a bombing raid, his parents moved to Oswaldtwistle during the war – hence his nickname. He spent his formative years in Warrington.

Showing an interest in clothes design at a young age, he enrolled at the Regional College of Art in Manchester in 1958. Here, he met the painter David Hockney, and his future wife, the textile designer Celia Birtwell. From 1962 to 1965 he attended the Royal College of Art and secured a first-class degree. First featured in Vogue magazine in August 1965. His fashion show at Chelsea Town Hall in 1967 was filmed for Pathé News

The period 1965-1974 is regarded as his zenith. His many clients included rock star Mick Jagger, as well as his wife Bianca Jagger. He made her wedding dress. The models Twiggy, Penelope Tree, Jean Shrimpton and Veruschka all wore Ossie Clark dresses as did actresses Brigitte Bardot, Elizabeth Taylor and Faye Dunaway. Marianne Faithfull, Patti Boyd, Anita Pallenburg and Jimi Hendrix were associated with Ossie.

He divorced Celia Birtwell in 1974. His company went bankrupt in 1981; he was made bankrupt in 1983. In the late 1980s and early 1990s when fears of an AIDS epidemic in the London gay community emerged, close friends who knew of his exploits on Hampstead Heath feared that Clark may contract AIDS. In 1996, he was stabbed to death by his lover, Diego Cogolato, who was later convicted of murder. Clark is compared with the fashion greats of the 1960s, Mary Quant and Biba. In 2003-2004 there was a major exhibition of his work at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

In 2006, Warrington Museum featured his work as part of their Warrington People exhibition, the conclusion of the Gateway Through Time project.

Read more in Wikipedia.

Eddy Shah (Businessman) 1944-

Born 20 Jan1944

Selim Jehan Shah, commonly known as Eddy Shah or Eddie Shah, is a Manchester-based businessman, the founder of the then technologically advanced UK newspaper Today in 1986, and of the short-lived tabloid The Post. He is also the former owner of the Messenger Group.

Early life and education

Eddy Shah was born in Cambridge. His mother was English and his father was Iranian. Shah was educated at the Scottish co-educational independent boarding school of Gordonstoun, and at both Haywards Heath Grammar School and Haywards Heath Secondary Modern School, at Haywards Heath in Sussex. He then attended a Brighton cram school, where he obtained seven GCE ‘O’ Levels.

Shah held various jobs, amongst which was floor manager for Granada’s television studio.


After he was fired from the Manchester Evening News in 1976, he decided to launch into newspaper publishing on his own and started with the proceeds of £14,000 from the sale of his first home, in Sale, which he had bought for £4,000.

As the owner of six local newspapers, Shah employed anti-trade union laws introduced by the Margaret Thatcher governments to defeat the print unions after national strikes that went on for seven months, despite receiving death threats. The Wapping dispute followed three years later.

Shah first confronted the trade unions in July 1983 at his Warrington print works and the Manchester news offices as the owner of the Warrington Messenger, he sacked six workers when they went on strike. They had been ordered to strike by the NGA in protest against the employment of non-union members, Shah believed this to be an illegitimate reason after recent laws passed by the Thatcher government. In response, the National Graphical Association (NGA) began mass picketing of the Messenger’s offices.

The NGA engaged in harassment of Shahs’ employees, both as they crossed the picket line, and at their homes. Three hearses bearing a child sized coffin for each of Shahs’ three children were sent to his house. Strikers tried to physically prevent deliveries leaving the plant; each van was escorted out by police. For several weeks the situation was described both media, politicians, and unions, as a ‘siege’. Several court judgements went against the strike, imposing both fines and injunctions, which were ignored by the NGA. On 29 November the courts sequestered the NGAs bank accounts to force payment, and kept them frozen as long as the NGA continued illegal action. When other newspapers reported on picketers charged with violence, the NGA shut down those newspapers too. In November, 1983, over four thousand trade unionists attended a mass picket. The police brought in riot-trained Police Support Units from five surrounding areas and the confrontation became physical. Baton charges were used to clear the road and allow newspaper deliveries to leave. Bottles and bricks were thrown at police, 23 police and 13 picketers were injured, 86 picketers were arrested, one of whom had a replica pistol. In January 1985 the NGA agreed to abide by the court orders, and removed support for the picket. The strike ended entirely in May.

In 1986 he launched Today, selling it in 1987 to Tiny Rowland’s conglomerate Lonrho. He then launched The Post, which ran five weeks before shutting down. Shah sold his newspapers in 1988 and set up an independent TV company.

Current business activities

Shah now owns and runs golf courses, leisure centres and hotels, including the Wiltshire Golf and Country Club, Royal Wootton Bassett. He has recently built 44 holiday homes at his Wiltshire Golf club.

Neil McArthur (Businessman) 1956-

Born 1956

Neil McArthur MBE FIMechE FIET is a British businessman, the founder of Opal Telecom, former MD of TalkTalk Technology, and now head of group innovation for TalkTalk.

McArthur was born and grew up Irlam, the son of a steel worker at the former Irlam Steel Works, and a librarian.

McArthur earned a degree in engineering from the University of Essex. He is a fellow of the Institutes of Engineering and Technology and a fellow of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers.

In 1992, he was awarded an MBE for his services to engineering. He received an honorary doctorate from the University of Essex.

McArthur is a member of the advisory board of the University of Essex Business School, chairman and a trustee of the Hamilton Davies Trust charity and chairman of the Manchester Tech Trust. He is also a member of the University of Manchester’s board of governors.

He now lives in Glazebrook, Warrington.

Retrieved from Wikipedia.

Martin Roberts (Businessman and TV Presenter) 1963-

Born 20 Jul 1963

Martin Leyland Roberts is an English television presenter, property expert, investor, entrepreneur and author. He presents the BBC One property auction series Homes Under the Hammer with co-presenters Martel Maxwell (since 2016) and Dion Dublin, although his co-presenter for many years was Lucy Alexander. He also hosts the Talkradio show “Home Rule with Martin Roberts”, where he chats about property.

Early life and career

Born in Warrington, Roberts was brought up in Stockton Heath Roberts began his career in the late 1980s at BBC Radio Manchester. Roberts’ grandfather was a well known organist at various Warrington chapels.

He attended Appleton Hall Grammar School then studied Electronic Engineering at the University of Bradford 1983–86 and was a DJ on Ramair, the university’s radio station Roberts has worked as a property developer since the early 1990s and has contributed to several publications, both on the subject of property development and travel.

Since then, he has presented several other programmes including Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is and How to Survive the Property Crisis, both for the BBC as well as ITV’s travel programme Wish You Were Here…? Roberts is most famous for being BBC’s UK and Overseas Property expert writing and presenting Homes Under the Hammer having done since the programme began in 2003 to the present day, as well as making regular appearances on BBC Breakfast, BBC News 24 and The One Show.

Roberts has also made appearances on Ready Steady Cook with Homes Under the Hammer co-presenter, Lucy Alexander. He has been a celebrity contestant on BBC gameshows Hole in the Wall and Pointless, raising money for charity. In July 2010 Roberts entered the BBC television programme Celebrity MasterChef, though he was eliminated at the first opportunity despite having performed well on the ingredient recognition task. In November 2016, Roberts was a contestant on I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!. He was eliminated after spending 15 days in camp, coming in sixth place.

Roberts has presented radio throughout his career as the BBC’s UK and Overseas Property expert contributing to many shows on BBC radios 2, 4 and 5 Live. He is a regular guest presenter on The Jeremy Vine Show which airs on BBC Radio 2 and Moneybox which airs on BBC Radio 4. In March 2016, Roberts began hosting a weekly property radio show for Talk Radio named “Gazumped” (Saturday 11 am – 1 pm and Sunday 5 – 7 pm). The show was later renamed “Home Rule” and Sunday editions are no longer live, but recorded, broadcast from 6 am to 8 am.

In September 2012, Roberts publicly criticised proposed government changes to the planning laws of England that would double the size of extensions that do not need approval.

As well as presenting on both radio and television Roberts has written many books such as Teach Yourself Making Money from Property, and The Property Auction Guide.

Roberts has also contributed to travelling books including Great Festivals of the WorldThe Travellers’ Handbook and Intrepid Africa. Roberts is the author of The Villes Children’s Books series. One of the books in the series, Sadsville, was written in partnership with the NSPCC to encourage children to contact ChildLine if they need someone to talk to about any problems, although it is unrelated to the subject of mental health. To promote this book, Martin Roberts went to his local primary school, at which his children attended. He performed a reading of the book and brought in a red bus for the children to go on.

Information retrieved from Wikipedia.

Andy Bird (Businessman) 1964-

Born c. 1964

Andrew Peter Bird CBE is a British executive. He was chairman of Walt Disney International until 2018. Bird is the current CEO of Pearson Education.

Bird grew up in Warrington and was educated at King’s School, Macclesfield. In 1985, he gained a Bachelor of Arts degree in English language and literature at Newcastle University.


Bird first started his career in broadcasting as one of Timmy Mallett’s helpers on Manchester’s Piccadilly Radio. He later produced the breakfast show. He later moved to London working for Richard Branson’s Virgin Broadcasting, working on their music television channel Music Box and satellite radio station ‘Radio Radio’. Next was British Satellite Broadcasting’s The Power Station channel.

In 1990, Bird and Chris Evans formed company Big and Good that made programmes for TVam.

Bird joined Time Warner in 1994 as senior vice president and general manager of Turner Entertainment Networks Limited. In 2000, he became president of TBS International and was responsible for all TBS broadcasting outside of the United States.


In 2004, Bird joined The Walt Disney Company and has since overseen the acquisition of Hungama TV in India and investment in India’s UTV. He also localizes content and has reorganized Disney’s international structure and leadership ranks.

Bird was appointed Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2012 Birthday Honours for services to UK media and entertainment.

Bird was selected as CEO of Pearson plc to replace the retiring John Fallon and has been with the company since October 2020.

Information retrieved from Wikipedia.

Simon Moran (Music Promotor)

Simon James Moran is a concert promoter and managing director of SJM Concerts, director of the Academy Music Group of venues and owner of the Warrington Wolves Rugby League team. He is in charge of major London venues including the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire and O2 Brixton Academy.

In 2011, The Guardian credited Simon Moran as the catalyst for Take That reforming in 2005, after he offered to promote a comeback tour. The band “heaped praise on music mogul Simon Moran” at the BRIT Awards 2008, for his work arranging their sell-out tour.

Promoted by Moran, Take That’s Progress Live in 2011 tour was the biggest live tour in UK and Irish history.

SJM Concerts promotes tours by many well-known artists including Morrissey, Spice Girls and The Killers and the company’s management arm, SJM Management manages the careers of The Script, The Coral, and Paul Heaton.

Simon Moran is also a board member of the Academy Music Group, which owns and runs venues including Carling Brixton Academy, Shepherd’s Bush Empire, and Carling Academies in Birmingham, Liverpool, Bristol, Newcastle, Sheffield, Leeds and Glasgow.

Moran is a shareholder in a joint-venture label with Gary Barlow, Future Records (UK label).

SJM Ltd is a company with a registered office in Manchester, England, UK.


In 2011, The Guardian named Simon Moran as No 9 in the Music Power 100. In the same year he was listed in the Evening Standard’s listing of London’s 1000 most influential people in the Pop & Rock category.

Simon Moran was also referenced as the “most influential music executive of the Noughties.”

In 2003, he was honoured at Music Manager Forum’s (MMF) Roll of Honour, which took place at London’s Park Lane Hilton hotel. He was named manager of the year and dedicated his award to Jo Strummer, whom he worked with for five years.

Simon Moran and SJM Concerts won the Music Week award as best UK promoter in 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2013 (it didn’t run in 2012) On 16 July 2013, Moran was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Music by his alma mater, the University of Sheffield.

In 2003, Moran bought rugby league club, Warrington Wolves. Since then, he has seen the team rise to top of the Super League and win back-to-back Challenge Cup crowns in 2009 & 2010, the League Leader’s Shield in 2011 and 2016 and the Challenge Cup in 2012 and 2019. Moran led the team out at Wembley Stadium.

Retrieved from Wikipedia.

Mark Earnden (Chef) c1972-

Born c1972

Mark Earnden is a celebrity chef who attended Woolston High School between 1983 and 1998. He is the chief operating officer at Castle Arts, Managing Director at Solutions for Care and Managing Director at Food for Care.

He is now based in north east England and is married.

See his website for links to his business ventures.