Edward Hindley (1858-1935)
NB caution !! ... I only keep these notes on my website so I don't lose them !
This is an initial draft of a story about my great grandfather ... my gleanings must involve many omissions, errors, inaccuracies & misinterpretations ... but this is 'only a story' written for my great grandchildren ... perhaps they will correct all the mistakes? ... at least they will have a start point for their project - four words, 'education and compound interest' ... supposedly first uttered by Edward Hindley as his yarns were spun, then recounted much later by ancient Eda in tales she told ... almost meaningless to most youngsters, until they themselves reach reflective old age.
For sure, complex traffic fluxed around rural Cheshire in Edward's time, and from the social interactions of ordinary folk, emerged innovative survival know how as new technology and organisation ... bits of this newness were useful and survived as history that was remembered, the many other bits were ignominiously forgotten; we only see the successes ... in this way, unnoticed, these little local activities of inconspicuous folk like the Hindleys created ripples & a few waves, some of which turned into tsunamis ... the past was always fascinating because nobody ever knew in advance about the unknowable future ... but from the past, more was known about the future than was ever said ... everyone knew about happiness & sadness, excitement & fear, pride & anger, satisfaction & hunger, love & hate ... as long as there were folk there were Darwin's undeniable survival emotions, not thoughts but feelings, no one could deny that ... no one could change that ...
... and thus from the past everyone can learn about those raging universal feelings which entangled all decisions ...
For certain, Edward Hindley knew a thing or two about such emotions which linked the past to the future ... endless time was a strange bedfellow ... think about it?
A summary of these pages may help you find your way around ... pages which go back into the deep history of Cheshire, cows & salt and then to the industrial revolution and a riparian factory site at Acton Bridge ...
The Hindleys were Anglo Saxons, the name was derived from the Old English words 'hind', a female deer, and 'legh', a forest clearing - 'people from a place in the forest where deer were found'? ... an appropriate name for the folk who dispersed into Cheshire and eked out a living from farming and the other rural crafts associated with cows ... this co-evolution of man and animal goes way back into deep history, a vital symbiotic survival story which involves everybody ... and the Hindleys were no exception ...
There was a variation on this suggestion from another guesser -
In the Doomsday Book compiled during the reign of William the Conqueror there is mention of a little town in Lancashire called Hind Lee (as in the deer and the direction in sailing). There were maybe about 200 inhabitants at that time. Over the years the spelling of the town was changed to Hindley and most of the original inhabitants took that name. The Hindley name is also Saxon in origin not Norman French, which means that Hind Lee was around way before William the Conqueror.
But it seems the surname was originally associated with the town of Hindley in Lancashire which was bang on the ancient saltway running north from the heart of the Cheshire salt fields at Northwich through Great Budworth, Antrobus, Stretton, across the Mersey at Latchford, onto Warrington & Winwick, and directly to Hindley. The name of nearby Saltersgate appeared to cement the link between Hindley and Northwich salt. Many Hindleys must have travelled down this well worn route into Cheshire; later, no doubt, there were other routes but for sure some Hindleys settled in Antrobus and had children ...
Edward Hindley learned about survival and the business of business from his father Peter (1811-1889). Peter was born in Antrobus near Warrington, part of the ancient parish of Great Budworth, and he inherited a successful shoemaking business in Barnton on the corner of Lydyett Lane and Runcorn Road ... things had prospered in Barnton ...
Peter's father George Hindley (1775-1849) and his grandfather another George Hindley (1743-1839) were both shoemakers but George senior proudly described himself as a cordwainer ... no doubt wishing for nothing but the best!
George Hindley (1743-1839) so who was George senior? He was new to Antrobus ... he came from an old Hindley family from out of town ... maybe from close to the Hindley town itself?
At 26, in 1769, George senior married Margaret Gandy, a fine 26 year old from the enterprising Gandy family. This fortuitous coupling introduced into the Hindley clan some genes of rare distinction and through some prodigious research by Dave Jowitt, a continuous genetic link was established from Edward right back to the birth of William Gandy in 1545.
Wow! ... 1545 ... that was the year The Mary Rose sank during yet another battle with the French ... and it was the year of The Council of Trent which condemned a load of Protestant heresies and defined the arcane issues of 'salvation' and 'transubstantiation' ... issues which were at the heart of the hot English Reformation, alongside the infamous sale of indulgences and the debates about 'literal truth' of The Bible ... however none of this kerfuffle deterred the Gandys, they kept their feet on the ground, they worked hard and decided for themselves what they believed ...
The Gandys were successful local farmers and pioneering Cheshire cheese makers for at least six generations. The Gandy family farm was at Frandley, a stones throw away from Antrobus where George had his shoemaking business.
By 1787 George & Margaret, together with 12 year old George junior, were tenants in a property belonging to Mr John Leah, a Yeoman of Antrobus. A probate copy of John Leah's will from 1787 recorded his wife Mary, sons John, James & Samuel, daughters Martha & Elizabeth and identified as executors Mary's half brother James Chadwick (from Mosside, Manchester) and John Mairs (from Great Budworth). This beautifully written will survived and confirmed the tenancy of George Hindley but without identifying the particular Antrobus property involved. A transcript of the will indicated that John Leah was quite wealthy with two properties in Antrobus and a dwelling house with appurtenances known as 'The Blue Bell' in Sutton, near Macclesfield and more real estate in Macclesfield, including 'moss rooms' near Macclesfield Moss, more at 'Wallgate' and also 'The Cock' in the Macclesfield Market Place; all were tenanted and earning income. Probate was granted on August 24th 1791.
In 1794 George junior married Sarah Burgess. It seemed the Hindley families were big, so if you get lost amongst the hoards of Hindleys keep the simplified family tree at the ready ... George senior had six children and George junior twelve ... but life was tough; the two generations lost nine youngsters in total. The surviving stock stuck close to the business they knew, thriving off the Cheshire farms and their animals. But what else was there to do in rural Cheshire? It seemed that the salt industry and the urban trek to industrial Lancashire didn't beckon them.
The research on the life of George Senior has been summarised by my mate and 3rd cousin David Hindley who has done some brilliant work on the Hindleys of antrobus and the locations of their dwellings.
George Hindley jn (1775-1849) in 1826 George Junior & Sarah moved from Antrobus to Barnton to set up a new shoemaking business. The family moved to Catchwell Cottage, Turnpike Road, Barnton. The Antrobus business must have done well because George was quite wealthy by now and able to rent a substantial plot of land extending from the current Grange Road to Lydyett Lane on what is now Runcorn Road.
Geoff Buchan recorded that Catchwell Cottage was a significant property in Barnton probably dating from the early 17th century. In 1620 it was know as 'Pownall's Tenement'. The Pownall family were considerable landowners in Barnton, one of the twelve identified in the medieval title deeds associated with the Leighs of High Leigh, Barnton & Comberbach. When the last of the Pownall landowners died in 1701 Thomas Frith took advantage of the enclosure movement and was able to purchase the plot from the Pownall children as part of Big Hey Farm. Big Hey Farm was probably the largest of Barnton's farms with land around Townfield Lane & Lydyett Lane.
Thomas Frith was an ambitious farmer and three generations of Thomas Friths searched in vain for salt on Big Hey Farm, hoping, no doubt, to repeat the acclaimed discovery of rock salt on the Marbury estate in 1670. In 1765 John Gresty, a cheese factor from Bostock, purchased the farm but his search for salt also drew a blank. However the next owner, John Jackson, a tenant farmer from Anderton, reported in his will of 1786 that salt had been found on his property in Acorn Wood ...
A two acre site in Acorn Wood on the banks of the Weaver was cleared and the Barnton salt works started operations. A shaft was sunk to a depth of 135 metres, the brine was pumped out with a James Watt steam pump into coal fired evaporating pans prior to shipment down the Weaver. This was typical of salt operations around Northwich at the time and provided further employment opportunities in the expanding village ... but the Barnton brine proved to be weak and lacking in profit ...
A succession of owners and proprietors had a go at making money out of Barnton salt but the rich brines and rock salts of neighbouring Anderton, Marbury, Marston and Northwich proved to be much better bets -
from 1786 to 1795 - the works was run by Johnson's daughter Ann with her husband John Carter in partnership with John Gilbert (1724-96), an agent of the Duke of Bridgewater.
from 1795 - the Johnson grandchildren were involved in a partnership; Jackson, Carter & Company.
from 1812 - the Big Hey Farm properties were owned by John Whitley Senior (1759-1832), a wealthy Lancashire industrialist who had married Ellen Johnson in 1785. He had a share in the Barnton Salt Works and was involved in shipping salt. Also involved was Whitley's cousin, Thomas Caldwell, together with Samuel Holbrook, a local brewer. But Holbrook went bankrupt and died in 1835, leaving John Whitley Junior (1803-1839) as sole owner. Profitability of salt from the weak brine was poor and John Junior had little interest business. After his early death the works was run for a time by his partner Edward Turner but by 1841 it was occupied by Christopher Robinson and was to be let for alternative use, commercial reality had set in. On the 1843 Tithe Maps the site was still named as The Barnton Salt Works and still in possession of Christopher Robinson a 66 year old Salt Agent from Chapel Farm, Budworth.
Around 1848 the salt works ceased to operate.
By 1843 the Cheshire tithe maps show the Catchwell Cottage land was owned by the trustees of Olivia Turner's estate. Olivia O'Connor, daughter of Henry O'Connor from Dublin, first married John Whitley Junior in 1830. John, of course, had inherited his father's property in Barnton. Olivia second married her husband's partner Edward Turner from the Isle of Wight and later from Richmond in Surrey. It seems folk moved into Barnton from far and wide ... typically a new middle class of land owners established themselves; folk who were now making money from cheese, waterways and salt ... and Barnton was right in the middle of it ...
The prominent position of Catchwell Cottage in the village followed from the ketch well which was a natural spring directly in front of the cottage. Ketch was an ancient word for catch, a dictionary suggests the word was first recorded in 1693. Whether spelt ketch or catch, the well was Barnton's popular source of drinking water prior to the installation of the high level water tower on the junction of Townfield Lane & Lydyett Lane in 1890. From 1890 water was pumped from a reservoir in Little Leigh to the tower via a pumping station at Gunnersclough. Today the Barnton ketch well occupies a prime spot in the garden at The Poplars close to the original site. The well stone was moved in 1948 during the development of Grange Road.
Thanks to the research by Geoff Buchan, the history of Big Hey Farm, the salt works and Catchwell Cottage can be traced continuously from the Pownalls in 1620 right up to the Hindley tenancy in 1826 and on to today. David Hindley has produced a superb history of the site, which is full of a mass of detailed research, anecdote & insight ... and includes a subsequent history of George's old shoe shop on the Lydyett Lane corner written by Walter Watkin ... there is also a reference to my friend Hedley Simms' father-in-law, Vinc Wright, who worked with my dad at Associated Octel ... it's a small world ...
Clearly with the purchase of Catchwell Cottage, George Hindley had acquired a considerable property in a prime position. George had five surviving sons and he was bent on setting up at least three of them in the shoemaking trade although he had also diversified some of his investments outside of his trade and into property ... and money lending? He had purchased the freehold of four properties in Leftwich, near Northwich which provided rental income and in March 1806 he had also managed to lend £100 at 4.5% p.a. to Nathaniel Morrey (1789-1855) on his own personal security. In today's money this was some £10,000. In 1841, 45 year old, Nathaniel & wife Betsey with hoards of kids, were living at Ray's Brown Lane, Barnton. In 1851, Nathaniel, now 62, Elizabeth & family were resident at Big Heys Farm.
Nathaniel was a trusted friend, he had moved to Barnton from Comberbach to rent Big Hey Farm a year after George in 1827. He was appointed an executor of George's will should sons Richard and Peter pre-decease him. In 1842 Nathaniel was appointed warden of the newly built parish church, Christ Church in Rays Brow Lane. This Anglican Church had been built rather belatedly in 1842, the venture was finance by the wealthy clergyman Rev Richard Greenall (1806-67), a member of the famous brewing family.
But why did George move to Barnton in 1826?
George senior was 83 at the time and he lived for another 13 years to a ripe old age of 96. George senior's death certificate confirms his ancient age of 96 and birth in 1743. Was he still active in his original business in Antrobus in 1826? An intriguing document came to light in 2010 and a transcript indicated George was still at it three years after George junior had moved to Barnton. In 1829 this indenture revealed George Hindley of Antrobus took on a new apprentice; Allen Berry, a 13 year old poor boy from Aston.
Now who was Allen Berry and how did he fare? ... 80 years previously George Senior's father-in-law John Gandy knew of a Thomas Berry ... an entry in the Accounts of Richard Frith, overseer of the poor of Cougshall and Sevenoaks for the year 1751 lists - 'To John Gandy for a pare of suse [shoes] for Tho Berry, 1 shilling' ... and Thomas Berry of Aston married Marie Rogerson both otp by banns, 25th of June 1700 ... I wonder ... ?
George junior was 51 at the time of the move and well established in the trade in Antrobus and he had already taught the shoemaking skills to two sons, Richard and Joseph then aged 27 and 20. Clearly there would not have been enough work for all of them in Antrobus and Richard (1799-1863), the eldest son and first trained, moved to premises in Great Budworth. Joseph (1806-1892) remained in the Antrobus business and was still active there in 1857.
It seems likely that George junior moved to the new patch in Barnton to help his youngest learn the trade and establish a new franchise. Peter was only 15 when they moved but it was Peter who inherited the Barnton business in 1849 when his Dad died aged 74.
The Post Office Trade Directory for Cheshire in that year lists 57 shoemakers with Joseph Hindley in Antrobus and Peter Hindley in Barnton. Richard, who would have been 58 years old, was not listed. Why? Richard lived another 6 years, before dying relatively young at 64.
In 1873 Joseph owned 2 acres 3 roods 34 perches of land in Antrobus with a rental value of £11-10s. He fared rather better than his elder brother and lived until 1892 when he was 86.
Shoe maker George, with wife Sarah and 30 year old Peter were found in the 1841 census at Turnpike Road, Barnton. Peter still at home and unmarried.
But why did the business go to Peter? Peter was one of seven brothers with five sisters and two of his elder brothers were in the shoemaking business. Why was second born Joseph chosen, or why did Joseph choose to continue with the original Antrobus business? Joseph's son Joseph (1832-1903) and grandson Joseph (1875-1956) both remained in the shoe, boot and harness business. Family skills were being passed from generation to generation. Although Richard had a son Thomas, born in 1841, his contribution remains a mystery? Two of Peter's other brothers James and William had died in infancy before the move in 1826, and of the remaining two, James (1808-1886) went into cattle dealing ... helping to keep the family close to the cow business? ... but John (1809-??) lived and left without trace.
Lyn McCulloch has written a wonderful blog about life in Comberbach and on the 29th of March 1989, she interviewed Philip Rayner who remembered his life in the village from 1906 -
'there was a Shoemaker in Antrobus called Joseph Hindley who charged £2 for a pair of shoes stitched by hand. He lived at Hammersmith Cottages. John Hindley lived at Gamekeepers Cottage in Comberbach. He was the Gamekeeper at Marbury Hall'.
George Hindley (1775-1849) was buried in the family gave at St Mary's, Great Budworth and his life has been researched by David Hindley.
Peter Hindley (1811-1889) so Edward's Dad Peter was only 15 when the family moved to Barnton in 1826 but he was learning fast. Barnton was not so far from Antrobus and all the locals worshipped in the same church; St Mary's, Great Budworth. Both were farming villages but Barnton was different, the population was growing fast. Overlooking the River Weaver and from 1777 the Trent & Mersey canal ran through (and under!) the village, Barnton was full of boating people and it was also close to the salt at Anderton, Marbury and Northwich. There were jobs in Barnton and workers needed shoes and houses.
An extensive analysis of the growth of Barnton associated with the Trent & Mersey Canal was written up by D A Iredale in 1966 Canal Settlement ... interesting.
The population of Barnton grew and grew, 402 in 1801, 1117 in 1851, 2792 in 1901, and 3918 in 1951.
Much to the disgust of some of the local residents by 1826 Warrington had become an established centre for leather tanning and Peter was destined to walk all the way to the tanneries to collect leather for the shoe business. But this wasn't child labour, this was surviving against the odds, 'learning the ropes', 'paying dues' ... 10,000 hours were needed to master any skill! ... there were no delivery vans in 1826 but there were lots of shoemaking competitors ... this was a tough apprenticeship for Peter and he had a hard taskmaster, his Dad!
Peter's hard work was rewarded, the business thrived, a bustling shoe manufactory employing cheap vagrant labour in the middle of rapidly expanding Barnton.
On January 17th 1843 Peter married Martha Abram (1817-1903), a 26 year old widow from Frodsham with a rather quick temper and the daughter of a Little Leigh farmer, John Dean. Martha was a staunch Methodist. As early as 1780 Methodists were worshipping and schooling in Barnton and in 1812 they built their chapel near the top of Barnton Hill. But after squabbles in 1838 a group seceded and built their own chapel in Oakwood Lane as Members of the Wesleyan Methodist Association. Martha was a prominent member of this splinter group and was remembered as a involved organiser.
A flavour of the old Barnton village during the 19th century was recorded by the Women's Institute in 1952 ... there was a shoemaker of note, whose wife was a well known dressmaker, and also helped to insert elastic sides into ladies shoes ...
Edward Hindley was to follow in his mother's footsteps and frequent the Oakwood Lane church of the Independent Society of Methodists.
Interestingly a third group of Primitive Methodists completed a small chapel in Lydyett Lane in 1862. It seems one way or another John & Charles Wesley had a major impact on the independent minds of Barnton folk and the three rival groups thrived separately until 1962 when differences were settled and Lydyett Lane became the place of worship for the United Methodist Church.
The 1851 census revealed Peter, a Shoemaker employing 3 men, wife Martha, son James (1843-) & daughter Mary (1850-), together with stepdaughter Martha Ellen Abrahams (1841-), born in Runcorn, and journeyman shoemaker Edward Astbury; all living at Catchwell Cottage, 5 Turnpike Road.
By the 1861 census the family had grown, and now included 2 year old Edward. The 1871 census and the 1881 census revealed the unchanged stability of business and life but nothing of the inevitable traumas ...
Peter Hindley was buried in the family grave at Christ Church, Barnton and his life has again been researched by David Hindley.
Peter and Martha also had a large family, eleven of them, although four of their breed died in infancy. This confirmed that even successful shoemakers had survival problems.
The elder sons James, Thomas & Peter had already made their choices; they ventured away from their father's business and left home -
James (1843-1910) - the eldest chose not to follow the family shoemaking tradition and worked as a general labourer, he moved to Penistone, South Yorkshire when he married. James married Sarah Dickens and they had two girls Sarah & Mary.
He eventually returned to Barnton to take over a shop in the tunnel top area. 'A penny worth of treacle' was a favourite purchase. research by David Hindley.
Thomas (1851-1936) - a shipwright & carpenter with Brunner Mond at Winnington, he retired at 70 in 1921. He lived at no 1 Nursery Road, Barnton built in the 1880s for his occupation. He believed in hard work and never hurt anyone but, unlike his brother Edward, Thomas was suspicious of education which may have restricted the development of his children.
Towards the end of his life Thomas had virtually no money. He used to draw £1 a week from his savings and eventually his savings dwindled to nothing. Edward used to visit his brother once a week, arriving in his chauffeur driven car ... he would walk in the well tended garden with Thomas and hand him 10 shillings to keep him going. Later the money was drawn from a bank on Runcorn Road, Barnton.
Thomas married three times and his issue seemed to favour the girls, lots of them, but son George, grandson Alfred and g-grandson David kept the Hindley name thriving in this branch of the family.
Interestingly Alfred Hindley’s first job, in 1919, was as an Office Messenger at The Weaver Refining Company. He was based next door to the works in Head Office where the Riverside Inn is now. However, he did not like the job because of the smell, and he left the Company in 1920. research by David Hindley.
Peter (1856-1933) - a nice large fellow, a carpenter, his workshop was on land adjoining 287 Runcorn Road where he lived (at the Little Leigh end of the terrace ... this was the house where young Eda was born in 1907). In particular, Peter made ladders but he also made wheelbarrows and wheels for farm carts. Making fishing rods was another specialty. He obtained his timber directly from Liverpool Docks.
Peter married Jane Fogg in 1891 but they had no children. research by David Hindley.
Samuel (1862-1922) - the youngest of the 11 children, a huge fella, a joiner, ships carpenter, who also lived at 287 Runcorn Road at one time. The census found Samuel at 31 Derby Street, Salford in 1891, and in 1901 at 17 Humber Street, Pendleton, and in 1911 back in Northwich at 14 Winnington Lane ...
Samuel married Sarah Alice Rudd, a lovely prim & proper lady but they also had no children.
Edward also had two sisters Mary Foster (1849-1925) and Jane Gates (1854-19??) both of whom survived well. Mary married a shoemaker from Little Leigh and lived in Sandiway. Jane was a servant on the Winnington Hall estate and lived in Manchester after she married John Gates. They had three sons. Later 'Auntie Jane' used to visit Edward's family home, 'The Poplars', quite regularly and young Eda remembered that she admired her young brother enormously.
Edward's education did not follow any formal national curricula ... in those days folk didn't get 'A' levels and go to University. George senior couldn't even write, he used a cross to identify himself on his marriage certificate. But this didn't stop George from learning. He made a mean pair of shoes ... some said the best in Cheshire. Edward also worked hard at learning ... he had nous ... 'know how' ... he grasped the way the world worked ... things were going on in his head ... he tried things ... he experimented ... and, as expected, as he trialed & errored, many things failed ...
Why did Edward start in the shoemaking trade with his Dad only to leave unexpectedly? Was he fed up of the smell of leather or was he just a normal rebellious adolescent? ... did he have greater ambitions? The census recorded his locations.
In 1861 aged 2 he was in Barnton with his parents. At 12 in 1871 he had started working as a shoemaker with his dad in Barnton. In 1881 aged 22 he was at Oakwood Lane, Barnton, Cheshire - a shoemaker - with David Allcock, a waterman, lodging with the family which now included a wife & three sons. In 1891 aged 32, following the death of his father he was back at Catchwell Cottage, Runcorn Road - still making shoes. At the time of the 1891 census Edward was earning extra pennies as the Barnton enumerator for the census. In 1901 Edward and family were at 88 Runcorn Road, the Catchwell Cottage location which by now boasted 'The Poplars' ... however this apparently stable progress was far from smooth ...
The Royal Marines
On the 19th of December 1873, just before Christmas, Edward joined The Royal Marines in Liverpool. He was only 15 years 5 months old. His enlistment papers suggest a little dissembling ... his age was '18½' and furthermore his 'trade' was a 'labourer' and he signed up to get 'a free kit'!
After only 109 days service on April 9th 1874 he paid a regulation £20 for his 'freedom' and left the Portsmouth Division of The Royal Marines ... I wonder why? Was he enticed away by his elder cousin John with a better offer? John was going great guns in the Cheshire Constabulary ...
The Cheshire Constabulary
The museum of policing in Cheshire hosts in its library a fascinating history of the Cheshire Constabulary compiled by R W James. The Cheshire Yeomanry formed in 1797 in the face of the Napoleonic threat became increasingly embroiled in issues of civil disorder and riots culminating in the deployment of the Cheshire Yeomanry in the Peterloo massacres of 1819. A 'Cheshire Experiment' in policing was authorised as early as 1829 but it was The County & Borough Police Act of 1856 which resulted in the formation of The Cheshire Constabulary with their first headquarters at 4 Seller Street, Chester. This force covered the whole county except for Chester, Congleton, Macclesfield, Stockport, Birkenhead and Stalybridge, all of whom had their own resources.
One of the very first recruits into the new Cheshire Constabulary was Edward Hindley's cousin, John, 28 years his elder.
John Hindley (1830-1911) was the eldest son of Joseph Hindley (1806-1892) and in 1857 he abandoned family shoemaking and joined the police force. He served first in Hyde before being transferred to Wirral in 1874.
When John Hindley joined the force as a raw recruit, I wonder if he was aware of his awesome responsibilities? Protectionism led to The Corns Laws and higher food prices, crowd trouble and the Peterloo massacres followed. The Yeomanry was an effective fighting force on the battlefield but ill-equipped and untrained to deal with the civil disorder which emerged directly from misunderstanding the economics of comparative advantage. The industrialisation of north east Cheshire produced endless disputes which could not be resolved by vigilante groups nor the Yeomanry. The 'Cheshire Experiment' in policing of 1829, a hopeful model for the rest of the country, had failed. Perhaps because it did not address the root causes of civil unrest; the Corn Laws were not repealed until 1846. Richard Cobden founder of The Anti Corn Law League was MP for Stockport a hot bed of unrest in north east Cheshire. The powers that be were playing politics with the livelihoods of regular folks & their families. The main focus of crowd trouble became this meddling temptation which was to become a regular feature of petty party politics as the law makers became as polarised as the crowd! There were nine unrelated, uncoordinated forces which relied on the good will of a polarised community and the factious issue of who was going to pay? A familiar problem? This was an everlasting flaw in the top down interpretation of liberal democracy which could not be solved by Bishops, Princes, Generals nor bureaucratic majorities. The powers that be became in the words of The Chester Courant -
'the new Gendarmes, forcibly quartered in the district, were a set of lazy vagabonds, harpies praying on the very vitals of the community, may God defend us from all such spies and informers'
There was a big different between 'a police state' and 'the goodwill of the people'.
In 1857 John Hindley found himself embroiled in this mire of mess and opportunity ... but he was up for it ... he prospered hugely ...
An unidentified photograph was discovered in an old family album of a uniformed likely lad complete with regulation issue frock coat, trousers, cane, Hiatt Darby hand cuffs and 'cap with the three Prince of Wales feathers' (not a shako hat which was not issued to the Cheshire police until later) ... the reverse of the photo identified the photographer as Bullock & Sons, Macclesfield ... ? ... was this Edward at 16 ... a policeman ... ?
The indefectible Will Brown, a retired Senior Detective of the Cheshire Constabulary applied his detective skills to the image and interrogated the police records and revealed the number on the uniform collar was 95 ... and PC 95 was John Hindley's police number ... the photo was of John Hindley as a young recruit, not Edward ... understandably and quite rightly the photo occupied a proud, although untitled, place in Edward's family photo album ...
Finding this photo was a coup for Will Brown, who in 2014, compiled a fascinating photographic history of policing in Cheshire; 'A Bobby's Job'. The photo was of one of the first recruits into the new force in 1857 and depicted the uniform and equipment of a future Chief Superintendent of the force.
John Hindley was promoted to Chief Superintendent in 1889 and his career in the years that followed can be traced through newspaper reports. Policemen, and particularly Chief Superintendents, were always in the public eye and from the reports a commentary emerges on the social history of the last years of Victoria's reign ...
1881 - Chief Constable Arrowsmith died of a heart attack aged only 39; and Superintendent Hindley, from Middlewich, was a proud member of the funeral cortege which was lavishly reported in the Cheshire Observer.
1883 - Murders at Smallwood, Sandbach was one of Cheshire most infamous double homicides. Superintendent John Hindley from Middlewich got his man.
1886 - Superintendent John Hindley of Middlewich, promoted to Chief Superintendent at Birkenhead, detailed in the Manchester Courier.
1890 - Inspection of the Wirral Constabulary was a regular discipline and Chief Superintendent Hindley put the force through its paces, everything was in admirable order.
1890 - Fearsome Domestic in New Brighton, Superintendent Hindley stated the case in court, a tragedy which involved the murder of two young sons.
1890 - Affray on the Ship Canal, 4,000 navvies at work on the Eastham section, Superintendent Hindley said it was a matter of impossibility for the police in their present strength to do their duty.
John retired in 1899 after an illustrious career of 42 years.
John Hindley died in 1911, the splendid funeral cortege was recorded.
Anticipating all the responsibility, discipline & excitement of policing; did John influence young Edward and suggest he joined the police force when he became disillusioned with the Royal Marines? It certainly appeared likely and, for sure, in 1874 Edward Hindley (1858-1935) joined the Cheshire Constabulary ... and later a younger cousin Edward Hindley (1867-1948) followed the same path to the Macclesfield police force, joining in 1894 and rising to the exalted rank of Chief Superintendent. Just like his uncle John, this young Edward (1867-1948) abandoned his Dad's shoemaking business for the police ... it seems a pattern had been established?
Recorded in the enrolment records of our Edward (1858-1935) was an age of 19 in 1874? Why did he lie about his age? Interestingly the normal age for enlistment was a minimum of nineteen years!
On the 21st October 1874 'The Cheshire Constabulary Enrolment and Record Book' identified the young recruit, Number 100 (CJP 7) -
Edward Hindley, Great Budworth, Cheshire. Shoemaker.
Height 5ft 9ins. Age 19. Hazel eyes. Brown hair, Fair complexion. Figure proper.
|Sept 1874 Reserve.||Sept 1874 22/-|
|Oct 1874 Macclesfield.||Dec 1874 23/4|
|May 1875 23/4|
|July 1875 23/11|
|Jan 1876 24/6|
|June 1876 25/8|
Absconded!? - at 25 shillings a week I'm not surprised! But what was the real reason for this act of youthful irresponsibility?
Edward had joined the county police force with the motto 'to the best of our skill and knowledge' and had been posted to Macclesfield with responsibilities for policing the rural areas. It was the Macclesfield Borough force that was responsible for policing the town ... and things had not gone well in Macclesfield town ...
On Sunday November 18th 1874, barely two months after Edward had joined the force, there was considerable excitement in the Macclesfield as Mina Jury, a young lady and witness in the infamous Tichborne case, had escaped from the town gaol. The girl had been incarcerated after robbing a local hostelry; The Macclesfield Arms. Law & order had customarily been a local responsibility and there were only about a dozen constables in Macclesfield at the time. The escape of the lady caused the Chief Constable much grief and the Macclesfield Courier reported on the big shake up that followed. By May 1875 there were 28 constables, a new gaol and the first Government Efficiency Certificate had been awarded to the Macclesfield police, which included additional Central Government funding. Central money and control from London was clearly designed to increase the professionalism of policing ... things were on the up and opportunities for a secure career were bright ... or were they? ... had local autonomy been swapped for a bureaucratic nightmare of central dictate? ... but then allowing a famous lady to escape from custody was a bit embarrassing ... and Mina Jury had form ... questions were even asked in the House (Hansard 3rd August 1875 vol 226 cc 445-6).
But Edward was in the county force and would have escaped this upheaval and he was not made a scapegoat for this particular debacle.
Maybe Edward left the police because he just didn't want security & a respectable niche in the local community ... perhaps he remembered he was 'employed by the folk of the country' and bureaucratic red tape was anathema? Or maybe he couldn't face the draconian discipline that limited movements out of the area without permissions; policemen were on duty 24/7?
One interesting fact was that at this time there was another Hindley; PC 195 James Hindley who served in the Macclesfield Division from 1870-88, born in Prestbury and no known relation, but who was posted to Macclesfield in 1874, the same year that Edward joined. The records showed that on December 18th 1876 he was found drunk in Macclesfield and fined 10/-. A strange coincidence ... this was the day immediately before Edward went AWOL!
Edward never spoke about the reasons for his behaviour, and some suggested the matter was a 'murky' episode ... family and Barnton village gossip were rife ... Eda remembered that it was mentioned that Edward had had some 'bother' with the police, but 'us youngsters were not told anything in those days' ... Will Brown talked of hard times in the police force? ...
So why did Edward return to Barnton after such a short spell with the police? ... unexpectedly and with a wife and son Samuel?
On 7th of June 1875 aged 16, nearly 17, Edward married Harriet Williamson, a buxom wench from Bollington and ten years older than young Edward. The ceremony was in the parish church at Prestbury near Macclesfield, apparently without a Hindley present as a witness. Edward confirmed his occupation as a policeman at the time of his marriage, but he continued to 'pose' as a 20 year old?
Harriet Williamson (1847-1933) was born on October 25th 1847 at Bench Lane, Bredbury, Cheshire, the daughter of Henry Williamson (1815-), a coal miner, and Ann Warburton (1816-) who were married at Prestbury in 1835.
Bredbury village was bounded by the lower southern slopes of Werneth Low of
the Pennines, between the Tame & Goyt, which fed the Mersey.
Originally, like everywhere else, Bredbury was an agricultural community, but during 19th century became a thriving industrial complex linked to the canals & railways.
The Peak Forest Canal was built by Samuel Oldknow, in the 1790s and 1800s to service the coal pits and lime kilns.
Clegg Gate & Redhouse Lane pits opened in 1825; Brinnington Moor in 1836; Alvanley, Bents Lane, Berrycroft & Rising Sun pits by 1841; and Black Mine Colliery in 1850. Bredbury Colliery opened in 1889, and within seven years employed 336 workers; three seams were being worked producing three types of coal. Resident in Bench Lane in 1841, clearly Henry Williamson would have worked in one of these pits? The Bents Lane pit was clearly marked on the 1875 map, right next to Bench Lane at the top of Lower Bents Lane where it meets Stockport Road West. The railways came from 1862 and cemented the village prosperity which was largely based on coal mining, cotton & steel.
Harriet was born into the tumultuous change of the industrial revolution ...
In the 1841 census Henry, a Collier, & Ann were living at Bench Lane, Stockport, Bredbury with son Henry born in 1840.
In 1851 Harriet was living at Sowcar Road, Bollington with her parents plus siblings Henry (1839-), Mary A (1842-), Hannah (1844-) and Ellen (1851-). Henry was still a Coal Miner.
In 1861 13 year old Harriet was living at Church Street, Bollington with her 16 year old sister Hannah (1845-) as the household Head, brother Albert (1853-) and grandmother Mary Warburton (1876-). It appeared both Mum & Dad had died by 1861. On the 12th of October 1854 40 year old Henry Williamson was buried at St Christopher, Pott Shrigley, Bollington?
In the 1871 census she was a Cotton Operative living as a lodger at Church Street, Bollington. Harriet married Edward in 1875. Their marriage certificate confirmed Harriet's father as a collier, the witness was brother Albert Williamson. The 1881 census recorded that Albert had followed his dad into coal mining and was living in Macclesfield with wife Ellen and 2 sons and 3 daughters.
Edward & Harriet's first son, Samuel, was born in Bollington just 9 months after the wedding but the family were back in Barnton for young Peter's birth in 1877 and then Fred in 1879. Three strapping boys 1, 2, 3 ... in four years ... just like that ... poor Harriet! (Young Peter was my Granddad!)
It seemed likely that Edward returned to the fold in Barnton at Christmas time 1876 with his tail between his legs, he had a new wife, a young 8 month old son and Harriet was pregnant again with Peter ... two boys and more to come ... all with a voracious appetite for cash! No doubt in my mind that Harriet told young Edward to get his finger out ... more cake was needed for the rapidly growing family ... there had been a disturbance in Bollington ... after which Edward desperately tried The Royal Artillery but it all ended in tears and Edward's predicament made the national press and was reported as far away as Edinburgh! ... and Staffordshire ... when you're in a hole stop digging and go home to mum ... even if she was a staunch Methodist.
The Royal Artillery
What was all that about? Did he join The Royal Artillery in fit of impetuosity to avoid Harriet's wrath? Was the pay better?
Return to the fold
An eight month old son and a pregnant wife, the tough reality of responsibility must have quickly emerged ... Edward needed income & help and in the end there was no better place to go than home ... Peter's will in 1886 clearly left the shoemaking business to Edward. He must have been welcomed back by his dad ... the prodigal son returned?!
In 1881 Edward was living in Oakwood Lane but ten years later in 1891 he had moved to Catchwell Cottage. It was not clear when the freehold of Catchwell Cottage was purchased, George junior was a tenant there and it was not mentioned in his will so it was likely Peter purchased the plot sometime between 1849 and 1889.
When Peter senior died in 1889 the family all knew shoemaking was under increased pressure from the factory system especially from Northamptonshire. Peter had done well but shoemaking was changing ... Peter's estate was £346-7-6 in today's money £355,074.55 ... but 'only' £50,724 for each of the children ... and Edward was ambitious and restless ...
Thomas & Edward were executors in their father's will but Martha had to be looked after; the brothers were stitched up ... the estate was tied up until Martha died which was not until 1903.
Thomas built his own house at Nursery Road in 188? before Peter died? Where
did Thomas get the money?
Although he was 30 odd years old it was clear that Brunner Mond did not pay that well? Did Peter give Thomas money to build his own house? Did James build his own house in Penistone?
Perhaps Peter divested some of his wealth prior to his death? This could explain his relatively small estate of £346, compared to George junior who had property galore.
No doubt Edward wanted to emulate his elder brother Thomas, and build his own house. In 1900 Catchwell Cottage was an obvious development possibility as Martha was 83 and getting on. So it transpired that Edward built his own house in 1900 on the Catchwell Cottage site. He was 42 and had been back in Barnton for 23 years ... but earning enough money to build a grand house? ... and buy into a business at Acton Bridge?
Edward didn't start his goldmine operations at Acton Bridge until he was 42 in 1900 ... family gossip suggested 'Edward made a great deal of money by buying and selling land and property'. It seemed he was not only making shoes but also speculating in property.
The Cheshire Electoral Rolls from 1885 confirm the Hindleys were property owners -
1885/6 - Edward Hindley: dwelling house at Jackson's Green - James Hindley: dwelling house at Bell's Brow - Peter Hindley: dwelling house at Runcorn Road - Peter Hindley: dwelling house at Lydyett Lane - Thomas Hindley: dwelling house at Lydyett Lane.
1894/5 - Edward Hindley: freehold cottages at Runcorn Road - Thomas Hindley: house at Nursery Road
1895 - Edward Hindley: dwelling house at Runcorn Road - Thomas Hindley: dwelling house at Nursery Road
1900 - Edward Hindley: freehold cottages at 88 Runcorn Road - Thomas Hindley: freehold house at 1 Nursery Road
Edward made money make money and he invested his profits in a diversified portfolio of property at Spencer Street & Runcorn Road in Barnton and at New Road in Anderton. It is not clear when these investments were made but in 1893 Geoff Buchan suggests that 54 houses were built on the east side of Church Road on land which had previously been part of 'the Baxter estate'. Thomas Spencer of Comberbach, yeoman and innkeeper purchased this estate in 1758. After his death in 1763 his widow Alice continued to live there until her death in 1777. It was her children who sold the estate to Joseph Baxter in 1785.
Did Edward take advantage of the 1893 sale & development of the Baxter estate? It could have been lucrative as Brunner Mond sponsored the new development to house some of their workforce. The terraced houses were basic in design, with two rooms on the ground floor, two bedrooms, no bath and a WC outside. In 1901 nearly half the tenants were newcomers to the village, no doubt attracted by the employment opportunities at Winnington. The development which included Spencer Street and George Street was know locally as 'Newtown'.
Young Peter used to say that the family insisted on a policy of diversification, with investments going into many children as well as many different assets. Assets which were soon to included the shares of Brunner Mond, a new giant in the Northwich community making soda ash from Buxton limestone and Northwich brine ...
Clearly the shoemaking business was still going in 1901. The 1901 census confirms that 4th son Fred Hindley at 21 was still in the trade and Harriet was working in the family shoe shop on the corner of Lydyett Lane selling the wares, but Edward was an 'Assistant Overseer'? Overseeing the poor? What? Where? When? & How? (In 1914 a local directory recorded Edward's son, Fred, as a rate collector, assistant overseer & clerk to the parish council. So most likely this was the job Edward was doing in 1901. In 1914 Edward was identified as the cemetery clerk).
So the likely conclusion was that Edward made his first significant money from property speculation, cannily following in the footsteps of his Granddad George junior? Rents from the properties in Anderton were still being collected around 1910/15 ... on a Tuesday by Edward's daughter-in-law Clara Brocklehurst and his young granddaughter Eda (named after Edward's only daughter). Maybe the dusty archives of some local Northwich solicitor will confirm this uncharted interregnum? But Edward's family solicitor of later years, Herbert Moreton Moss, didn't establish his practice until 1906 ...
It was clear that Edward had moved into Catchwell Cottage when his father died in 1889 and it was only after a heart wrenching family dispute that the cottage was demolished before Martha died in 1903. In 1900 Edward built his grand new family home The Poplars. Designed by Northwich architect Edward Thomas Ward. The Poplars was palatial, one the first houses in Barnton to have electricity, built to exacting standards with window timbers still in good condition in 1985 when repairs were conducted. And above all there was a tennis court for the grandchildren.
Geoff Buchan had an interesting photo of The Poplars on Runcorn Road, showing the full extent of the house, land and shoe shop on the corner ... from around 1920?
Eda, young Peter's daughter, and Winnie, Fred's daughter, both loved The Poplars and particularly the tennis court; there they were safe, away from the local scallywag boys. Fred was always a stern father, 'Eda! I don't want Winnie playing with those boys', but Eda, was protective of her young cousin, 'She's not playing with the boys she's playing with me'. Nevertheless 'Leighs Brow' was out of bounds 'the Dutton brothers were rascals and not to be trusted'! Eda and Winnie spent hours together at The Poplars and remained close lifelong friends, even marrying the same Birchall brothers.
Edward was very proud of The Poplars and everyone thought house and host were just marvelous! The Poplars echoed with family joy rather like The Briars did for the Birchalls in later years. Doris, Peter's eldest, lived there for a while, looking after Harriet in her final bed bound years.
Eda also said she remembered the shoe workshop and the pleasant smell of rich leather ... on the corner on right at the bottom of Lydyett Lane, opposite the Burgess Brothers drapery store ... suggesting the shoe business was still going around 1910?
The girls were also treated to a ride in Edward's new car with Frank Simpson, a trusted servant and chauffeur at the wheel. The first car in Barnton? What a thrill!
Frank was a well known personality around Barnton with his white uniform coat and cap. The boys in the village took the Mickey out of him and nick named him 'Army Club'. Army Club was a cigarette brand established in 1775 and distributed by Cavanders. Advertising for the brand focussed on the nostalgia of wartime camaraderie & male culture and featured a character bearing a striking resemblance to Frank! Cavanders were originally based in Manchester, but the brand disappeared in 1961, when the company was taken over by the Godfrey Philips cigarette company.
Frank was born at No 6 Spencer Street, Barnton in 1903. His Mum & Dad, Mary & John, had moved from Middlewich around 1896. The Spencer Street terrace must have been pretty cramped with the Simpson lot ... there were nine kids in the 1911 census count. John was a steam engine man and probably, like dozens of others, moved to Barnton to work for Brunner Mond, the 'family firm'. No doubt he walked along The Shoots from 'Newtown', over the canal to Winnington Bridge every morning ...
Edward, was always called Edward and the grandchildren remembered him as welcoming with cheery talk and smiles but always a strict perfectionist, he knew what he wanted and usually got it. It was always suggested that the family tradition of 'education & compound interest' came from Edward but it seems it might have just as easily come from the complex challenge of surviving with animal interdependencies which lies deep deep in the Gandy & Hindley family history ... and the culture of rural Cheshire. Whatever the source of Edward's entreaty he was a certainly a family man ...
Edward and Harriet had six children, five sons and daughter Eda. Edward was determined his sons adopted a trade which was more robust than shoemaking, where the skills he had so laboriously acquired had become redundant. He encouraged both Samuel, his eldest, and Peter to train as coopers ... after all everybody would always want a bucket ... wouldn't they? ... but the future was unknowable, everyone was a victim of changing times and nobody foresaw the ubiquitous 40 gallon steel drum ... how could they? Forecasting was difficult especially when it was concerned with the future ...
Hindley (1876-1942) - born on 2nd April 1876 in Bollington, he
trained as a cooper but his first job was collecting bones for his father's
business, The Weaver Refining Company at Acton Bridge. In his younger days
he played football for Northwich Victoria FC (as did his cousin George
After Samuel married Bertha Sefton (1882-1973), from 73 James Street, Macclesfield, in 1906 they lived at The Poplars; 88, Runcorn Road, Barnton. By 1908 they had moved to St Helens, Lancashire, where Samuel began his own business at 42, 44 & 46 Waterloo Street.
The St Helens, Liverpool, Northwich triangular trade had been a major factor driving the industrial revolution in the North West. The connections between Northwich & St Helens were well established and it was not surprising that Samuel chose St Helens for his new business venture, he followed giants like the Beecham, Pilkington & Greenall families!
In the 1911 census Sam was living with Bertha at 42 Hardshaw Street and described himself as an 'Animal Product Merchant'. He had seen and helped his dad make money out of waste at Acton Bridge, so he followed and opened a waste business in St Helens which was incorporated into The Weaver Refining Co Ltd in 1908. But Samuel's business was very different ... perhaps Samuel was best described as a rag & bone man ? ... or a marine store dealer ? ...
Alan, an old hand from St Helens, described the scene at Waterloo
Street - 'Sammy Hindley's
was a well known institution in St Helens, more of a scrap yard or recyclers
than a bone processing business. In fact apart from the bones in an old
bathtub 'maggot hatchery', I don't think there were any animal parts around.
Waterloo Street might have been a working class residential area but I think
even then there were laws to protect the neighbours from the extremes of
smell and putrefaction. Apart from that, Widnes was the epicentre of the
animal parts processing industry. So Sammy Hindley's was a scrap yard, with
rag collectors and sorters, and a maggot breeding enterprise but the stink
of the place on a hot summer day! The whole place was like a scene from a
Dickens novel, there where a whole gang of toothless crones and gnarled old
hags who used to sit sorting out the stuff that came in on his rag & bone
cart. I can see it and smell it now.
When all else failed you could always get a few coppers for jam jars or bundles of clothes, the good old days! As lads we used to earn a few pennies by taking old clothes and woolens to Sammys.
We also went there for maggots for fishing. From memory there was an old cast iron bath tub with a pile of old bones and rotting meat in it where he bred the maggots, you could smell it from two streets away. The smell was spectacular as were the swarms of blue-bottles on the stuff. One of the men used to take our empty jam jars, scoop up a few handfuls of the maggots into it and charge us 3d for the beasties. As late as 1950 we used to take worn-out old clothes (that were unsuitable for making peg-rugs) to them in return for coppers or in my case a jam jar full of maggots.
My memory of the place was of a largish shed, open fronted and full of old rags and discarded clothes with the old crones shuffling through them and throwing stuff into separate piles. I remember going into the yard through a narrow passageway surrounded on either side by scrap and buying telescopic radio aerials off tanks to make fishing rods. They collapsed down to about 18".
The yard itself housed a huge assortment of discarded metal goods and at least one pony and cart (its driver was clearly a WW1 veteran as he had a wooden peg-leg).
This driver used to take his cart along all the back service lanes or entries as they were known in St Helens and he had a very bizarre call, 'rag bone-a-bone-a-bone-a-bone', but as far as I can recall he wasn't after bones but old metal and clothes.
It used to be a great insult if someone at school implied you had got your clothes from Sammy Hindleys. I can always remember my mum straightening my clothes and giving me the once over with the wet hanky. If I looked a bit off she would say I looked like I had come from Sammy Hindleys and I never knew what she meant ... till now!
'S HINDLEY MARINE STORE' - was in the shadow of Windle Pilkington School on the corner of Waterloo Place and Waterloo Street ... it seems strange now that you could get a penny each for a jam jar, now I suppose everyone recycles, it was Dickensian all right, but there again the whole area was something from a bygone day'?
So most of Samuel's money was made from buying and selling scrap metal, together with Army surplus and many odds and ends including rabbit skins which were mostly used for making hats.
In St Helens he was known as 'Honest Sam' - everyone trusted him.
The marine store business was still referred to as Sammy Hindleys in the 1950s when it was still running in Waterloo Street.
The Waterloo Street area was redeveloped around 1959-60 and the business continued at ??? and was remembered as Hills scrap yard. Was the business taken over by Mr Hill when Samuel retired?
Ted, a local lad, remembered the 1950s -
'First of all about my dad, he died about 15 years ago and he worked at
Sammy's. My knowledge of Sammy Hindleys was as an 8 or 9 year old, my wages
were about a shilling, that's roughly 5p in todays money, they were just
making me feel grown up by saying they were paying me when in fact the money
came out of the office from a lady who was in charge of paying and recording
any money that was paid to people who brought in rags, jam jars or bits of
copper and lead metal or paid for maggots for fishing.
My dad worked for them on a Sunday and took me along to give my mum a break. My dads fulltime job was down the pit, Groves Pit on Burtonhead Road, but on a weekend he would do other things to make some extra money. Saturdays he worked for a man who sold second hand things on the market. He was known as 'cheap jack'.
To get back to the yard there were about three women who filled and sorted the rags and woollens they also filled up large hessian sacks, the lady in the office and two other men who weighed and sorted out the various metals, then Sammy Hindley himself, he was usually walking round the yard keeping his eye on things. The two men were some relation to Sammy and the lady in the office married one of these men later, after the yard closed. But ... if as you say that Mr Hindley died about 1942 then the man I always thought was him must have been someone else. The time that I am talking about was 1955 to 1956.
My dad lost touch with Sammy the two men who worked for him started a scrap yard at Fingerpost at the rear of and below what is now some council run offices on Higher Parr Street, this business was called Hills scrap yard. As you go from the island at Smithy Brow towards Fingerpost on your left you can see an arch under Higher Parr Street, there were steel gates closing the arch off that is how you got to Hills scrap yard, on your right about two hundred yards in. My dad called a few times to keep in touch but later one of the men died and he yard struggled after that and eventually closed and my dad lost touch with them ... I remember in 1940 Water Street was demolished and all the buildings to the right of the Sammy Hindley buildings were also demolished to make a clear section of land up to Green Street, Waterloo place remained, the three buildings on the corner of Waterloo Street and Waterloo Place where Sammy Hindleys. I knew that Hindleys was the first building on the right of the street as you came from Water Street. Dad's mate Jackie said the men who later started Hills scrap dealership at Parr Street were running Sammy's until that too was demolished a few years later. Jackie is pretty certain that one of the men's names was Traynor' ...
Samuel owned a massive motor cycle called 'Royal Ruby' and he also owned a
He was a special constable during the Second World War.
Samuel & Bertha had two children Marjorie (1912-2012) and John (1915-2000).
Samuel died on 28th January 1942 in St Helens, Lancashire.
Marjorie (1912-2012), a teacher, married Lionel Fletcher (1913-99) in 1941, they had a son John (-).
John (1915-1999), a doctor, married Jean Stout (1932-) in 1961.
Peter Hindley (1877-1961) - was born at Catchwell Cottage on August 11th 1877. Peter's more formal education started at the Brunner School, Barnton. But his real education came from Edward & Harriet long before that! Edward pushed Peter into an apprenticeship as a cooper; almost certainly served at Brunner Mond although he did work for a time at Joseph Crosfield & Sons, Warrington? Did he serve his time as a cooper at Crosfields?
Sometime after 1900 when the Weaver Refining Company was flourishing Peter joined his father and became 'Labour Manager'. Peter was remembered by Eda for his cheerful manner and heavy tread. Punctuality, hard work and overtime were the order of the day. Clara used to get the meal on the table at 7 pm prompt when the dog started barking at the distant sound of Peter's tread after long hours at the works. Later Peter cycled from Runcorn Road to work at Acton Mills.
Peter had a trade and he left The Weaver Refining Co and joined Brunner Mond. This could have been as early as 1909 when he was 32. He was one of the last two coopers employed at the Winnington and Wallescote works and retired after 35 years service in 1944 at 67. And I have his gold presentation watch to prove it! If his 35 years were consecutive years of service, he would have joined in 1909 but more likely his service at Brunner Mond involved two stints. His apprenticeship and his work in the Packaging Department?
Clearly when British Glues & Chemicals merged the WRC in 1920 Peter had already returned to Brunner Mond and stayed there until his retirement in 1944. Peter probably started his working life in 1892 and finished 50 odd years later in 1944. But what was the mix of Crosfields, WRC and Brunner Mond? Maybe 35 years was with Brunner Mond & ICI; 10 years with the WRC; and 5 years could have been with Crosfields?
Why didn't Edward encourage Peter to stay at The Weaver Refining Company? Peter probably left some years before the business was merged into British Glues & Chemicals in 1920. In 1910 nobody could compete with Brunner Mond & Co they paid top whack for craftsmen & labourers ... there was no way The Weaver Refining Co could match them ... ?
Apart from marriage and work Peter's greatest triumph was as a 23 year old captain of Barnton AFC, winners of the Warrington Observer Cup in 1899-1900. The Manchester Courier reported that in the final against Northwich Victoria in front of 3,000 spectators, young Peter dribbled half the length of the field to score a brilliant goal!
In the 1920s young Peter invested some time in rod work and his honed skills earned him a prize in a local fishing competition; a magnificent copper kettle!
At the time of the marriage on August 3rd 1903 at the Baptist chapel in Shutley, the family home was still described
as 88 Runcorn Road; The Poplars. Father
Edward described his profession as an ‘accountant’, no doubt reflecting his
role in the office of The Weaver Refining Company as head cook & bottle
Elder brother Samuel was a witness, as was Clara's sister Polly. Peter was a qualified Journeyman Cooper. Part of Peter's time at The Poplars, 88 Runcorn Road was spent reading Wordsworth!
Peter & Clara moved to 265 Runcorn Road after their marriage (later renumbered 287).
Around 1914 the family moved to Heathside, Little Leigh, just up the road. The freehold of Heathside was purchased by Peter for £740 in 1918, part of the sale of The Little Leigh Estate by the direction of the Rt Hon Lord Leigh. In today's money some £209,052.85. The previous tenants of the 16 acre smallholding were the Brocklehursts.
Mary Jane Chatterton (1858-1928) was born in Whitley and was Clara's mum ... we have a treasure, a gift from Criccieth, to Clara from Mother Oct 1st 1900 ...
For 150 years the Brocklehursts farmed the smallholding 'Heath Farm' from the property which included a grocers shop. The dwelling house was originally a thatched cottage, Rose Cottage, which was later equipped with a glorious slate roof, raised to give commodious accommodation on the first floor and Rose Cottage was renamed Heathside. A splendid family home surrounded by a prolific pear orchard which produced scrumptious 'Claps' pears ... a rhubarb patch, juicy red tomatoes, raspberry delights in the front and a deep well & pump in the back yard which delivered crystal cool water, fresh & sparkling ... the pump was clearly marked on the 1877 map of Shutley!
In the 1901 census James Brocklehurst, 46, an agricultural labourer, and wife Jane were living in Acton Bridge opposite The Maypole Inn. They didn't move into Rose Cottage until father Tom died in 1902. With Joseph, 16, Fred, 13, James, 11, and Lydia H, 9.
Peter & Clara had three girls, Doris, Eda and Clare.
Young Eda, my mum, was born in 1907 at 265 Runcorn Road, one of the family properties in Barnton. The end one, nearest to Little Leigh. Eda was already a star at 2 years old. Eda married George Birchall in 1934 at the Baptist Chapel, Little Leigh and contrived to push the Hindley progeny further with four wave creating youngsters, Gillian Hindley, John Peter, George Richard & Kathryn Ann. Eda was perhaps the first Hindley to celebrate a 100th birthday ... September 18th 2007 was a special day! Eda died on the 25th of July 2011 ... what an innings!
Young Peter had two other daughters -
(1904-1981) the elder daughter was a
fine prospect at 2 years old.
Tragically Doris lost her first husband
(1893-1941) to a
heart attack six years after they were married in 1934. Almost inevitably for
Northwich residents at the time Albert worked for ICI, in the 'Process
Records Department'. Albert & Doris owned a splendid house on Chester
Road in leafy Hartford; 'Pen Dinas' ... perhaps named after the
hiifort and a remembered
holiday in Wales? ... we remembered the house but not Albert ... Doris
sold up and moved into ‘Heathside’, Shutley to live with her Mum & Dad. With no children of her own Doris made a massive
contribution to the education & welfare of her nephews & nieces.
Nursemaid, housecleaner, wash lady, pianist (she left her treasured piano to George Richard), artist you name it, Auntie Doris was there, doing it.
Interestingly later in life Doris married in 1954 to James Murdock Young (1905-95) of Highfield House Farm, Bosley, Macclesfield, a childhood sweetheart from a local farming family.
The Youngs were breeders of Cheshire Shire Horses, and James was the proud owner of Middlewich Landmark, a stallion of repute, recorded in The Shire Horse Stud Book volume 66, 1945. Later as a member of The Shire Horse Society, established in 1878 to promote the 'Old English Breed of Cart Horses', James was a respected judge at the agricultural shows thus keeping the Hindley family close to the fine tradition of selective breeding of draft animals. Middlewich Landmark was no doubt descended from the powerful animals that ploughed the Cheshire fields, hauled the flats and narrow boats on the Weaver and Trent & Mersey canals, and pulled the carts of the 'rag & bone' men collecting waste for the Acton Bridge manufactory ...
Doris was slightly deaf with immaculate manners always walked with her toes very slightly pointing outwards and always smiling ...
(1914-1995) was the youngest daughter, who
lost her twin sister Rose only a
few hours after birth, and lost her first husband only a few weeks after
Fred, a newly wed Engineer
in the merchant navy was
lost at sea in 1942. Fred was a good lad, a
Rechabite, from Barnton ... mother approved but life
was hard ... devastating. Barnton folk
remembered Fred Newton, which in later life Clare thought was nice.
In 1952 Clara married James Greenway (1917-96), another Cheshire farmer from Cliff Bank Farm, Alvanley.
It seemed the Hindleys were destined to stay closely involved with the farmers ...
Clare was svelte, engaging and a professional cook who loved to feed the family with special nosh ...
Auntie Clare enthusiastically pursued her family history and continuously deposited rare documents and family artifacts with me! May be Clare imagined that I was one of the few who were interested? Care's will specifically left to my care the mounted horns of one of the beasts ignominiously processed at The Weaver Refining Company ... a piece of history I now treasure!
Peter died on March 15th 1961 at 6.30 am at the grand age of aged 84; arteriosclerosis. Clara; Nanny, had six yeas of 'companionship' with Mrs Limb, a lovely lady from Barnton, before she died in 1967, aged 88.
Fred Hindley (1879-1948) - some thought he was a rogue and philanderer, always in trouble, and who was the Frodsham girl he ran off with? And was he really 'Managing Director' of an oil refining company in Trafford Park? Fred was an interesting mystery ... and never talked about to the youngsters.
Fred was born around Christmas 1879, probably at Catchwell Cottage, Runcorn Road, Barnton, Northwich, Cheshire, or in Oakwood Lane, Barnton.
He was at one time a shift man at Brunner Mond but he found it difficult to settle into a routine. He travelled in America for six months and journeyed across the continent from East to West and back again without paying, by riding on the buffers of trains? He returned to England and Brunner Mond but then became 'the Managing Director' of an oil refining company at Trafford Park, Manchester. Dapper Fred always with his 'bowler' hat and his 'attaché' case ... he was going places ... ?
He married Beatrice Mary Gilbert (1882-1951) from Antrobus in 1909 when he was 30. In 1911 they were living at 9 Townfield Lane, Barnton; Fred was a Rates Clerk working for the Municipality and one year old Winifred was around. Eventually they had four children, Winifred, Clarice, Gilbert and Joan -
Winifred (1909-89) married Bill Birchall in 1937. They had no children of their own but Wyn & Bill had their hands full as they helped out with the four reprobate kids of cousin Eda Birchall (neé Hindley) who had married Bill's brother George in 1934. Auntie Wyn was a fine young lady who smoked too much, 'du maurier' brand, but she was devoted to her nephews & nieces and was always good fun. Eventually the cigarettes trumped her spirit. Wynn moved into a nursing home in Macclesfield in 1985 and sold her house 101 Knutsford Road in 1986. She died tragically on a beach holiday in Malta which was organised by the nursing home ... still smoking ...
Clarice (1911-98) first married James McNair and secondly Lionel Best. Clarice pushed a mean pair of scissors in her hairdressing hut in Townfield Lane. I was scalped many times!
Joan (1916-70s) the youngest of the four children, first married Ken Stout, then Cecil Richardson, then Arthur Wood, suffering like her sister Clarice, from the demise of husbands and a shortage of issue.
Gilbert (1914-89) the only son, was born at 9 Townfield Lane, Barnton, Northwich.
His parents had previously lived at 6 Townfield Lane, Barnton. Gilbert left Grammar School in 1932 and started a wireless shop in
1933 on the corner of Lydyett Lane and Runcorn Road, Barnton.
Gilbert's shop was believed to
have occupied the same site as the old shoe making shop of George Hindley
junior. Gilbert's sister, Joan, had previously used the building as a
hairdressing salon. Gilbert attended the Marconi Wireless College at Colwyn
Bay until 1934. When his parents separated his mother had a house built at
24 Townfield Lane, Barnton. His mother died in 1951 and Gilbert moved back into the property (after buying his sisters shares, the children
being left a quarter share each).
Gilbert married Mary Wilde (1917-1996) in 1938. Mary 'Molly' Wilde was the daughter of May Houghton & Jack Wilde. They had one child Boyd (1945-) born in Northwich in 1945. The family moved two miles to a flat in Cogshall Hall (which was owned by ICI) to enjoy a healthier environment. Boyd married in 19?? and had two daughters, Heather & Joanne.
Gilbert was employed by ICI at Winnington from 1938-1939 and after the Second World War from 1945. From 1939-1945 Gilbert served in the Merchant Navy and was very fortunate as on two different occasions he survived torpedo attacks. He then joined the Royal Navy Reserves as a sub-Lieutenant from 1945-1950. He was a Special Constable from 1952-1963. In 1963 he was seconded to ICI Stockton-on-Tees (Supply Department) to help in setting up machinery to manufacture polythene sacks. He stayed on to become Distribution Manager. He was made redundant in 1971 and took over a garage business at the Ship Garage, Low Worsall, North Yorkshire. He sold the business in 1980 and retired in Yarm, Teesside.
Gilbert was interested in family history and drew up the bare bones of the Hindley family tree. He provided the link with the American branch of the family, particularly as a result of visiting Wyandotte, Michigan, as a merchant seaman during the war in 1942. I recall a long chat with him at the funeral of his sister Auntie Wynn in 1989.
Gilbert died at Yarm on 31st July 1989. His wife, Molly, died at Yarm in September 1996.
Beattie (Beatrice) Hindley (neé Gilbert) (1882-1951) was the daughter of Albert Gilbert (1859-), from Lambourne, Berkshire and Mary A (1860-), a local girl from Antrobus. In 1901 Albert was the caretaker at The High School for Girls in Hartford, where they were living with Beatrice (1882-1951) and Mabel E (1886-). Mabel married Joseph Hardman in 1909 in Northwich. Dorothy Hardman (-) was the daughter of Mabel & Joseph, formerly of Comberbach, living at Antrobus in 1997 and lived at The White House, Hollins Lane, Antrobus. Dorothy married Fred Hewitt in 1968. Fred was from Weaverham and Chairman of Weaverham Cricket Club, where he was a member for over 50 years, He worked at ICI Winnington where he met Dorothy. Fred was a keen cricketer and I recall how, at Auntie Wynn's funeral in 1989, we shared a few stories and he tried to explain how he & I were related ... but I never 'got it'.
It was Dorothy who confirmed that Molly Hindley was buried in her mum's family 'Houghton' grave in Barnton Church Yard.
Beatrice was a Teacher and at one time taught Margaret Hindley (1919-) at Barnton Brunner School.
A stable family life was not for Fred. While working in Trafford between 1923 & 1929, Fred met a likely lady and lived with her in South Manchester, leaving Beatrice to bring up the children in Barnton.
Winifred Burns (1898-1950) was the new love of Fred's life and slowly but surely a complex second family emerged out of fog of the 1920s ... difficult to trace but eventually unmistakably part of Fred's hectic and colourful life ...
But who was the elusive Winifred Burns?
Fred's endless succession of jobs were mesmerising and left a trail of questions -
In 1911 just after he married at age 30, he was a Rates Clerk working for the Municipality. There was no indication that he worked for his dad's company at Acton Bridge?
Family responsibilities may have persuaded him to join Brunner Mond the 'reliable family firm'. But why did Fred leave Brunner Mond?
Was the 'oil company' he was 'the boss' of in Trafford Park a subsidiary of Brunner Mond? Or The Homelight Oil Company, Trafford Park? Or The Caucasian (Circassian?) Petroleum Export Oil Company? Or The Anglo American Oil Company? Or The General Oil Storage Company? Or The Pure Oil Company? Or Isaac Bentley & C, Lubricating Oils, Salford. Or The Silvertown Oil Company? Or The Jure Oil Company? Or The Liverpool Oil Storage Company? Or The Southern Cotton Oil Company? Or The Consolidated Petroleum Oil Company? Or The Texaco Oil Company, Trafford Park? Or The Southern Oil Company, Trafford Park? Or ... ?? There was no shortage of oil companies in Trafford Park!
And why did he return to Frodsham around 1930 alone and work at Kingsley Mill?
Did he join his younger brother Edward Junior at the confectionery company 'Dainty Products' in Sutton Weaver in 1931 when Winifred joined him and Eileen was born on 11/10/1931 at Shieling, Townfield Lane, Frodsham.
Around 1939 was he the caretaker at the church hall where a catering service supplied the local schools? The photo of the Frodsham caterers around 19?? includes many of the stalwarts of the kitchens but not Fred? Who are they all? In 1952, on Eileen's marriage certificate, Fred's job before he died was described as a 'Catering Manager'?
Fred's death certificate described his occupation as a Storekeeper at a steel works?
Fred died on 29th April 1948, aged 68 years, he was buried, reunited with his dad Edward, in the Barnton cemetery. Fred's death certificate was interesting ... confirming he died of a 'common' heart attack - angina pectoris (a restriction of the blood supply to the heart) - atheroma (fat build up on the artery walls) ... and senility at 68 ... Fred had a hard life. The certificate also indicated that Winifred was present at the death at Tarvin Road ... there was also confirmation that Fred & Winifred never married ... W Hindley was described at registration on April 29th as the 'widow of the deceased' which was corrected and omitted on September 3rd following the production of a Statuary Declaration made by Winfred Hindley otherwise Burns and Beatrice Mary Hindley?
Thomas Hindley (1882-1939) - trained as an industrial chemist and worked, almost inevitably, at Brunner Mond. In the late 1800s Brunner Mond at Winnington & Wallerscote had modern facilities for producing soda-ash which was in demand for soap & glass making. The 'ammonia soda process' was a breakthrough and replaced the older Leblanc process which had endless issues with the economic use of waste and by products.
About 1905 Thomas had a rift with his father and decided to emigrate to the United States of America. He gained employment with the Michigan Alkali Company at the Wyandotte Chemical Works near Detroit. They were making similar products to Brunner Mond and were serious & growing competitors. W J Reader writes that Michigan - 'had succeeded, around 1907, in recruiting staff from Winnington'. Thomas was said to have introduced the technical details of the Brunner Mond system to the America competitors and some said he 'stole' the technology. He certainly felt he was going nowhere at Winnington, perhaps he was upset because he hadn't been invited to join the prestigious Winnington Hall Club? He became a successful manager at the Michigan Alkali Company in the USA.
If this was a piece of industrial espionage it did not have much impact on Brunner Mond's sales, as the Dingley tariff of 1897 had murdered exports and most of their income from North America was secured through a large shareholding the The Solvay Processing Company.
Eager to see their son again Edward & Harriet visited North America in 1910. They left Liverpool on June 18th on the luxurious flag ship of the Cunard fleet the 'Lusitania' under the command of Captain J T W Charles. Racked with inherited 'hay fever', which was subsequently and very generously passed on to his great granddaughter Gillian, Edward found the cruise from Liverpool to New York and back so therapeutic that he claimed his allergy was cured for life!
Thomas married Emily Henson (1884-1970) from Bolton, Lancashire, in 19?? and after moving to the USA in 1905 they had five children -
Edward (1911-1964) m Betty Lee Dalzell (1912-94) son Thomas Lee Hindley (1942-87)
Donald (1916-1982) twin
Oswald (1916-1971) twin m Dorothy Irene Sutton (1919-2012)
Harriet (1919-2012) m Louis Thiel (1918-93). Harriet Williamson Thiel photo from Lois,
Auntie Emily' visited the family in England in the late 40s and was remembered as a small gentle lady with an endearing American tomato twang.
Eda Hindley (1885-1964) - Edward's only daughter was born at Catchwell Cottage in 1885. The language of origin of the name Eda is Old English & Hebrew. Eda was a rare name for girls, it was the short form of other given names (e.g. Adah & Edith) but used as an independent name in its own right. At the modest peak of usage in 1902, 0.011% of girls were given the name Eda. As wife of Lamech the First, Adah is the second woman named in the Bible. The meaning of Eda in Old English was 'strife for wealth' ... from Old Norse the name suggested 'Guardian of Time & Wealth'. Young Eda always said the ‘Eda’ name came from the Bible ... but I wonder if it was the fashion in Methodism at the time?
Eda married the Rev Alfred Booth (1883-1963) in 1912 at Lydyett Lane, Methodist Chapel in Barnton. Alfred's first appointment as a minister was in Houghton-le-Spring, County Durham (1914-1920). His work took him away from Barnton during a succession of pastoral duties in Huddersfield (1920-1925); Lees, Oldham (1925-1933); Cowling, West Yorkshire (1933-1938); Bury, Lancashire (1938-1944); and Stalybridge (1944-1947). Alfred progressed in the Methodist hierarchy being General Secretary for a time.
'The Poplars' remained the family home until Edward's death in 1935 and afterwards Eda inherited the property. As a child Eda scratched her name on a window with a diamond ring and it was still there in 1996. Eda rented the property to local doctors; Dr Booth, and then Dr Riley in 1946. She lived there with Alfred after they retired.
Denis Booth (1916-2001), their only son was born in Houghton Le Spring, Durham. Denis went on to excel in the RAF (218 squadron Service No 117355) and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in 1943 ... and promoted to Acting Squadron Leader in 1945. In addition to his distinguished service, 'Debo' as he was known to his mates, entertained the 'Air Clues' magazine readers with his humour and cartoons, prior to demob in 19??. Denis, second from the left back row, was photographed with the squadron in 194?.
Denis started his study of art as a student at The Royal College of Art,
London and later at Hull
University he was established as a renowned artist and the inspired painter of
the Poppy Field and
the Rangitiki. Both of these
magnificent oil paintings were commissioned in 1987 for the Birchall family.
After the war Denis developed as a Commercial Artist. Although his eyesight was not so good, perhaps following the wartime raids over Germany, it remained sharp enough to enable him to teach as well as practice the fine arts.
One of his unusual creations was a back lit etching on Perspex which depicted Chester landmarks and was commissioned for the window of the Leeds Building Society situated close to the clock tower in Eastgate Street, Chester. There was also a mural of his inside the building. I recall he visited us in Northwich during this commission ... must have been around 1960.
Other examples of Denis's art can be seen at The Grosvenor Museum, Chester -
of Chester; at The Firens Art Gallery, Hull -
January; and at The
University of Hull Art Collection -
A wonderful artist who later became a patron of the Hull School of Art.
Denis married Audrey Goodman (1920-) at Bury in 1943 ... his dad officiated, Superintendent Minister of the Brunswick Methodist circuit.
In 1985 Denis wrote an informative letter to David Hindley outlining parts of his family history.
Denis died in Beverley in 2001.
Alfred Booth's sister, Mary E, married John Worrall of Greenbank Farm, Kingsley, and Eda & Alfred's nephew, Stanley Worrall (1925-) was still active at Blake Lees Methodist Chapel in 2010 where Billy Gibson's daughter Mary still played the organ at 100 years of age. Family connections were everywhere ...
Edward Hindley junior (1887-1949) - an analytical chemist, trained in Manchester. Edward junior was the Laboratory Manager at The Weaver Refining Co Ltd and concerned with product quality. His Dad had sent him off to Manchester to study chemistry ... Edward senior knew about the power of science - 'observation, maths theory, hypothesis, experimental validation & peer review' and Edward junior was not going to miss out. Science was vital for a successful 'refining' business. Edward had seen the effects of mechanisation and the application of science in the leather industries as the ancient crafts were displaced. Quality was important, not only for better sales but also to secure a better price ... Billy Lever at his Port Sunlight works paid a quality premium for 'Top White' tallow ... the lab at Acton Bridge developed a SAFE bleaching test which helped Edward to get top whack for his tallow ... and avoid the waste of '1.5 red Bleachable Fancy' which was only good for 'Lifebuoy Export' ...
In the early days of the fertiliser industry the N-P-K ratio was important for performance in the field. The balance of nitrogen, phosphate & potassium in chemical fertilisers determined the quality therefore the price. Edward went to great lengths to ensure the accuracy & reliability of his analysis. This became a commercial priority and led to pressures from within the industry for standardisation and the British Standards Institute. These issues were post rationalised and codified in the Fertilisers & Feeding Stuffs Act of 1893.
In 1901 Thomas Lambert detailed the chemistry behind the bone business; this was the stuff young Edward was learning about in Manchester as Lambert emphasised -
'This branch of industry is undergoing a great change. Old and wasteful methods of working are giving way to newer processes based on the teachings of chemical science'.
Edward junior achieved some success as a chemist recovering oil from soya beans and he sold the patent to Bibby's Oil & Cattle Cake Company in Liverpool. He also had a shed near the Willows Garage on Runcorn Road, Barnton where he prepared 'health foods'. Young Eda remembered him experimenting 'with his pumps and tubes' in the 'dairy' at Heathside. When he left the Weaver Refining Co Ltd Edward ran his own company, 'Dainty Products' at Sutton Weaver, using gelatine from his Dad's business to make jellies, blancmange powder and cleaning fluids. He had to close the business when war broke out in 1939 as he was unable to obtain the raw materials. During The Second World War he worked for ICI, testing gases.
Edward junior married Evelyn May Capper (1902-) in 1931, in Northwich, they had sons Robert Edward (1933-) and Norman (-) and lived in a detached house adjacent to The Poplars and sharing the same drive. The house was a wedding present from Edward to Edward junior and his young wife. Edward's will gave young Edward, 'an option, to be exercised within six calendar months of my death, of purchasing the croft adjoining The Poplars at the price of five shillings per square yard ...' ... perhaps a concession to his youngest, who, of all his children was the only one not a property owner.
In 1945 Edward & family moved to Lytham St Annes to run a guest house at 171 St Andrew's Road South, St Anne's.
In 1949 Edward ended his own life tragically in the sea on Longton Marsh, the Deputy Coroner of Lancashire Mr A B Blackhurst held the Inquest on April 8th & May 11th 1949. The earliest inquest files from the Preston District Coroner, as held at The Preston Records Office, date only from 1954. The best bet recommendation for research when the inquest files are not available is the local newspapers in instances. Newspapers for Preston at this date should be available on microfilm at the Harris Library, Preston.
Why was young Edward so tormented? Perhaps he was desperately trying to emulate his father and lost hope when his many experiments failed to strike gold ... for sure he would have pondered whether success & business acumen came from hard work, honesty & thrift ... or just random luck? ... maybe the choice of business partners was relevant, after all he may have been in partnership with brother Fred ... when Eileen was born in 1931 in Frodsham Fred's occupation was described as 'a confectioner' ... helping Edward out at 'Dainty Products'!?
Robert Edward Hindley (1933-) born in Northwich. Married Audrey M Ellis (-) in 1955 in Fylde. In the 2002 Electoral Register he was living at 79, Torrington Drive, Loughton, Essex, IG10 3TA. 3 kids.
Norman J Hindley (1935-) born in Northwich. Emigrated to Ontario, Canada in 1965.
From Craftsman to Manufactory
By 1900 Edward clearly had problems with his father's business ... earlier in 1826 George junior's move to Barnton heralded the halcyon days for the shoemaking craft; urban populations were exploding and there were feet to be shod. Both George junior and his son Peter did well. The population of Northwich rose from 1,300 to 17,600 in the second half of the 19th century as industry boomed. Something was going on? It was salt ! In Northwich the ancient brine pit by the Dane had inspired folk to explore the Witton marshes and Wincham in search of salt ... and they found it everywhere ... and as the urban populations grew they needed more and more of it ... not only for diet and food preservation, but also salt was needed for alkali production and alkali was needed for soap & glass making and fabric & paper bleaching ... an avalanche of salt & soda ash was pouring down the Weaver to Liverpool and industrial Lancashire ...
Northwich was specialising in salt not shoes and other things were changing in shoes ... new technology was around which required big capital investment. For generations the Hindley family had practised the ancient craft of the cordwainer but the industrial revolution was decimating the economics of hand made shoes. The future of shoes was in the Northamptonshire factories and the tasty imports. Cheshire's oak forest had long gone and with them the local bark tannins needed for leather production, and although farming was thriving both tannins and hides had to be imported to satisfy demand in the growing cities. Both leather and shoes were being made in modern competitive factories. None of the ancient crafts of Cheshire were immune from the capital intensive mass production methods which from 1700 established the industrial revolution. After Isaac Singer started the mass production of sewing machines in the 1850s there was increasing mechanisation and factory production of shoes. First the Blake sole sewer, then riveting machines and the Mills turn-shoe machines, then the Goodyear chain-stitchers and welt machines and the Blake & Goodyear screw; clicking, skiving, punching, stitching, dieing out, rounding, splitting, toughening, lacing, tacking, pulling over, trimming, pounding, stapling, welting, beating, slashing ... one damned complex machine after another, up to 170 different machines and all proved adept at fast quality mass production almost untouched by human hands. Such was the complicated process of making a shoe by machinery. It would be hard to find a process that surpassed it in complexity and the number of separate machines involved. St Crispin would turn in his grave if he had seen his shoes taken out of the hands of his craftsmen and whirled rapidly through a host of odd but effective contrivances on the way to discerning buyers.
Expensive machines were introduced onto the Nantwich shoemaking scene around 1860. Some smaller businesses without capital tried to compete with the new fangled and very expensive machines by keeping wage bills low, but it was fruitless, and the inevitable loss of jobs and low wages led to bitter strikes in 1872/73. The workers unions resisted change in phases; initially they were concerned, just like the old guilds, with upholding the laws which protected skills and apprenticeships, then they were concerned with maintaining employment through skill demarcations, then improvement in wages & conditions and eventually futile resistance to the introduction of the machines themselves. Of course there were confrontations and compromises but nothing could stop the inevitable economic advantages of the factory system which delivered low cost, mass produced quality to the vast numbers of customers in the cities. The jobs were now in the factories. A factory in Northampton could produce shoes in quantity at prices so low that even rural populations in Antrobus could afford them. The traditional craftsman skills and hand sewing techniques established centuries ago and practiced by the Hindleys rapidly declined. There was competition around. This was the industrial revolution ... perhaps George junior was one of the last specialist Cordwainers to pass on his skills to his sons. When his son Peter died in 1889, Peter's sons ventured into more lucrative fields ... shoes were now made in manufactories ... and some were even imported ...
So mechanisation and the industrial revolution impacted on Peter Hindley's hand made shoes and forced the old traditions to change, in just the same way as years earlier when it was chemistry, and particularly alkali production technology, that was the front runner of change. Perhaps it all started with the spinning & weaving of wool, silk & cotton as machines were grouped together in factory sites where concentrated power from water wheels and then steam engines became available. But cloth could not be finished without soap, bleach, dyestuffs and mordants ... and, of course, the big mills needed glass ... no wonder demand for alkali exploded ... and no wonder the Brunner Mond Company was established in 1873 on the Northwich salt fields at Winnington to make alkali.
But Edward Hindley left shoemaking, not for Northwich salt & alkali but for the nitrogen industry and the vast array of products sourced from the cow. Led by fertilisers and explosives, the chemistry of the cow was second only to salt in rural Cheshire.
So when his dad died change was around and Edward was in trouble and was forced to supplement his shoemaking business with greater things. Initially property speculation paid off handsomely but Edward's breakthrough came around 1900 when working with his mate Joseph Oswald Neill and later, James Evans Grimditch, a Meat Trader from Liverpool, they risked everything and chased a dream when they founded The Weaver Refining Co Ltd.
In 1900 Edward Hindley described himself as a Chemical Manufacturer and he turned his attention to the opportunities that might be associated with a riparian factory site at Acton Bridge and a sinking ex salt works at Witton Brook ... he had a family to support ...
Edward made his mark from animal waste ... after life as a milk production unit, the cow carcase provided not only the butcher's juicy meat but also a host of valuable by products that could be sold into new markets ... Edward processed rotting cows ... he boasted that 'The Weaver Refining Company' exploited every part of the cow apart from the eyelashes! He loved to tell the grand children about all sorts of meat cuts, tripes and offals , black puddings, sausage skins, leather hides, animal feeds, fertilisers, bone meal, bone china, candles & lamp oils, sizes, gelatines, greases, glues and hairs for paint brushes ... and he also supplied tallow to the 1st Lord Leverhume's soap factory ... and how the 'bone works' used to smell ... but where there's muck there's brass!
In 1902 the Kelley's Directory of Cheshire Trades indicates The Weaver Refining Co was a manure, size and tallow manufacturer. The Directory also recorded that Joseph's shoemaking business in Antrobus was still going ... but who was operating the Barnton shoe business?
His dad had given him a good start, but there were five surviving kids out of eleven to share Peter's investments. Life was tough and investment in the past couldn't help ... it was investment in the future that mattered. Edward sensed that his dad's real legacy was not in property or shoemaking but in 'education & compound interest'. Edward was driven to help his own children survive by supplying good value innovative products for his customers ... from his manufactory on the Weaver ... The Weaver Refining Co inherited the 'know how' from the Acton Bridge Manure Works and Saltpetre Works ... Edward learned the hard way, the croc of gold wasn't at the end of the rainbow, it was found in the disturbing remains of cows ... but life with dead cows was not easy ... animal slaughter was a tricky issue ... and an avalanche of regulations had unintended consequences ... Edward always resented regulatory interference in his business and never missed an opportunity to rant about his problems and his Whig principles ...
Edward probably knew nothing about the esoteric philosophy of Adam Smith and moral sentiments nor David Ricardo and comparative advantage but he did know hard work & free trade satisfied customers and kept costs down and profits & output up; more goodies for more folk. The fear of losing customers was far more pertinent than the fear of red tape.
Investment in Technology
In 1920 after 20 successful years of struggle Edward was having to run faster and faster just to stand still ... the pace of technological change was staggering. By 1920 Edward knew his business had to be modernised, he had sussed it all out and summarised the economics in his own mind -
agriculture in Cheshire had collapsed ... he spent many hours 'putting the world to rights' with his big mate Billy Gibson, and another mate, George Hormbrey, had argued and written about the necessity for modernisation of British agriculture ... but something was wrong?
the unbelievable growth of the port of Liverpool was powered by free trade ... manufactured products were exported and agricultural products were imported in payment ... by boat load after boat load ... how else could folk overseas pay for the wonderful products of the manufactories of the industrial revolution?
locally Brunner Mond had led the way with massive capital investment in high tech chemistry which produced big tonnages of alkali with margins & profits which were the envy of all ... folk flocked to high paid jobs at Winnington, real wages rose as marketable output rose ... and so too ... inevitably ... did wages and costs at Acton Bridge ...
all the old advantages of a rural riparian factory site at Acton Bridge were now irrelevant as people flocked to the cities and the railways moved materials and products to the population centres quickly and flexibly ...
comparative advantage was ebbing away from traditional manufacturing of manures & glues and into science & technology and the financial services which satisfied the apparently ubiquitous hunger for new capital ... William Maude's family made more money from banking than operations on the Weaver and Joseph Neill's dad was a banker ...
for the second time within 20 years Edward's traditional business was confronted by new competition, anyone who failed to innovative & modernise was in trouble ... his company needed new capital & new technology if money was to be made from added value through specialisation & scale ...
the bottom line - Edward couldn't do it on his own but he was confident technology could solve the problems, there were a lot of smart youngsters around ... but the real problem was securing the investment capital necessary for modernisation ...
On the 7th of May 1920 The Weaver Refining Co Ltd at Acton Bridge was merged into British Glues & Chemicals. Edward made money from the sale of the business but although he was 62 he remained active, determined to make a success of the new merger. The Directory of Directors published by Thomas Skinner & Co. recorded on page 682 - 'Mr Edward Hindley, The Poplars, Barnton, near Northwich, director of British Glues & Chemicals, Limited'. Regular board meetings were held in London and Edward commuted by train. He used Capper's taxis to get to the station, 'better to wear their cars out than mine' ... he always used to telephone Harriet with the expected time of his arrival back home. His telephone number at The Poplars in 1926 was 'Northwich 403'.
Hard work always seemed to earn space for some fun and Edward found time to pursue many other activities ...
Education, Education, Education
The Hindley family have always insisted that Edward's philosophy of life was encapsulated in his simple rhetoric 'education & compound interest' ... which had led him to investment in technological innovation in his own business ...
Edward was passionate about education; he hated idleness, dishonesty & waste. Survival was hard work and it was education that opened up the opportunity to learn about how the world worked. He never accepted the deep bias in the formal educational system of the high church and state with its contempt for usury & trade. The business of business was strangely absent from the curricula. He insisted his own children learned a trade and his youngest Edward junior was sent away from home to train as a scientist. It was science that dominated Edward's educational aspirations and this insight was reflected in the name he chose for his company - a 'refining' company - 'bringing to a fine or a pure state; free from impurities' ... recovery & quality improvement from the application of science ... it was Benjamin Franklin who said, 'an investment in knowledge pays the best interest' ... but it was Edward who spread the mantra quite far and quite wide ...
But he was also deeply conscious of the problem of failure ... so many businesses, so many different opportunities but always the quid pro quo ... there had to be far far more failures & bankruptcies than successes. He had learned from his own personal experience that failure was the norm and folk suffered. But he was adamant ... pick yourself up, dust yourself down and try again ... stressing the importance of striving again until you get it right. Edward didn't start his business at Acton Bridge until he was 42 and didn't cash in until he sold out to BG&C when he was 62 ...
Darwin's natural selection explained the disturbing truth about business ... business success was just like the success of long necked giraffes, they resulted from the death of the short necked variety! But almost certainly Edward never associated his philosophy of business life with Charles Darwin ... Darwin's ideas were considered beyond the pale of Methodism at the time ... his early influence was the Methodism of his mother, Martha, and he was heavily involved in the Methodist church in Oakwood Lane. Essentially Methodism was driven by Christian faith but focused on small group charity, self help and a healthy suspicion of controlling elites ... a position perfectly consistent with Darwin's natural selection ...
On the Bench as a JP, in the Lodge of Sincerity at Northwich and in Chester as a County Councillor, Edward was always pushing education and betterment.
As early as 1893 Edward was getting involved in community politics ... a letter to The Chester Chronicle was an early example of Edward's tendency to fight for the team against unwarranted allegations ...
His efforts as a public servant were recognised in the naming of the council housing development at Hindley Crescent in 1931.
It was in the late 1920s that Edward became a County Councillor and he used to attend regular Council meetings in Chester. The application of justice was right up Edward's street, and as 'Brother Edward' at the Lodge he would have had some freedom to choose his charities but the Council bureaucracy must have been stifling ... acres of pages filled with gallons of ink recorded the pontificating of the sub sub committees and multiple task forces involved. How an enthusiastic and dedicated business man coped with this analysis paralysis hurts the brain, it seems to be the very antithesis of the entrepreneurship, diversity & choice, risk & reward which had made Edward a rich man and satisfied the needs of the millions in the cities ... one damned committee after another spending other people's money on dreams that didn't work ... always short of resources, always jumping through hoops as an avalanche of insoluble problems queued up ... everyone different, everyone demanding action and always relentlessly eroding hard work, honesty and thrift ... if you don't believe me just read the endless minutes of the Council Meetings at The Cheshire Records Office, Duke Street, Chester and cry ... pomp and pontification ... how did he stick it?!
The Poor Law Amendment of 1834 standardised the system of poor relief throughout Britain. The statute altered the Poor Law system from one which was administered with local knowledge and 'know how' at parish level to a centralised system which encouraged the large scale development of workhouses by Poor Law Unions. Groups of parishes were combined into unions which were responsible for providing for the poor and needy in the area. The law forbid all relief to the able-bodied in their own homes. Anyone that wished to receive aid had to live in workhouses. This act led to the building of 554 Union workhouses in England and Wales, each built roughly 20 miles from each other. A hugely expensive system full of arbitrary discrimination, bribery & corruption which lasted until workhouses were replaced by the public welfare system in the 1930s.
The Northwich Union Workhouse was built in 1837-9. Its operation was overseen by an elected Board of Guardians, around 60 in number, representing its constituent parishes and townships. The building was designed by architect George Latham. In 1850 a fever hospital was added and in 1863 better receiving wards with proper baths were installed. A royal commission of 1911 recommended the ending of the Poor Law, so Poor Law Unions and their Guardians were abolished. The 1929 Local Government Act abolished all Poor Law Authorities and transferred their responsibilities for 'public assistance' to local councils. Guardians, mentors and teachers were replaced by faceless bureaucrats. Education was replaced by the bailout as hard work, honesty & thrift were eroded ...
It was all very difficult. Edward believed in education and investment for the future and the 1st Lord Leverhulme was reading from the same hymn sheet, 'Self Help' was the answer to success as all his employees knew. Samuel Smiles had written all about it in 1866. Just like Willie Lever at Port Sunlight, Edward provided jobs at Acton Bridge. His insistent plea for 'education and compound interest' fell on receptive ears at the Northwich Union. Jobs mattered, jobs were the way out of poverty.
Yes conditions were harsh, based on the understanding that pauperism among able-bodied workers was a moral failing. The workhouse ethos aimed to stimulate workers to seek employment rather than accept charity as a right ... but it all went horribly wrong. Edward's hard Anglo Saxon heritage offered rights and obligations, one was meaningless without the other.
Friendship & Fun ... The Three Musketeers?
Sure Edward worked hard but he also played hard, he had a keen sense of friendship and fun. When young he travelled & experimented, taking risks and trying things ... no staid shoe sewing for him ... he left home at 15, wangled his way into and out of the Royal Marines, risked the wrath of the Police Force, married at 16 ... perhaps the delights of older women both attracted him and confirmed his instinctive nous ... Harriet was superb and family always came first.
No doubt he also had endless fun with his two big buddies Billy Gibson & George Hormbrey ... all three of them Methodists, Liberals and successful local businessmen ... perhaps Edward, Billy & George were rather like the 'three musketeers' described by Alexandre Dumas, all different but all of them movers & shakers, and this trio had their own expanded version of 'all for one and one for all'; a distinctive English Whiggery -
folk refuse to be bossed around by the powers that be who believe differently because nobody knows where the next good idea is coming from; each different individual human soul has infinite value because progress is only discovered by hard work, honesty & thrift.
The story of this friendship and fun emerges from all the records in the public domain and the yarns of ancient Eda, the blurring of some truths and some gossip, provided an opportunity to guess the past in the same way as more frequently the future is guessed. For certain these inseparable friends were confronting a messy struggle for the survival of their family & friends, and for certain they experience universal emotions of excitement ... & fear ...
William Alfred Gibson JP OBE was the owner of Kingsley Mill. Like Edward he was a successful business man with close links to the farmers, milling, cows and the river Weaver. Turn into the drive of Kingsley Mill, off the main Northwich to Frodsham road, midway between Crowton and Kingsley, and it soon becomes obvious that Kingsley Mill is still a thriving rural business ...
Not only were Edward and Billy great friends with similar interests in the Methodist Church and local business, they were both passionate about education and helping others, not only through their church and businesses but also through participation in local government. They were both Liberals of independent mind ... in the late 1920s they had some great days away in Chester when the pair used to travel together to County Council meetings.
Luckily Edward's legacy has been handed down through family gossip but Billy Gibson went one better ... he started writing ... perhaps fearing that his considerable nous, experience & wisdom may be lost to future generations, in the 1950s Billy wrote a book about Kingsley for his family. The book was for his grandchildren, it was never intended for general publication, although parts were serialised in the Chester Chronicle and parts were included in the book - 'Kingsley: The Story of a Cheshire Village'. Anyone who reads the original manuscript will understand that this was not an act of vanity but a desperate record of a successful culture which was under threat ... the family, village & county culture ... the Gibson, Kingsley & Cheshire culture ... it was under threat as the big government juggernaut usurped democracy ... this left the family, the local church, the local Parish & County Councils and all the local folk in a pickle ...
But Billy and Edward did not sit back and complain they got moving and created some waves ...
In addition to Billy Gibson, the mourners at Edward's funeral included another great friend and confidant ...
George Edwin Hormbrey was the owner of the finest butcher's shop in Barnton, just across from The Poplars. Like Edward & Billy Gibson, George was a doer, an entrepreneur, with close links to the farmers and cows. What a trio they made! And just like Billy Gibson, George was passionate enough about farming and butchery to write ... George Hormbrey not only did the business, he also got off his butt and created ... George Hormbrey was not only a butcher and farmer but also an inventor and educator and a general good fella ... he wrote pamphlets ...
Music - The Barnton Silver Band
Times were always busy but never dull ... Edward enjoyed himself socially with his music ... and Barnton was famous for its music ... Edward & George were keen supporters of the Barnton Silver Band ... the band website was always a joy to read and outlined a proud history which is still going strong today!
The band was originally called The Barnton Temperance Band ... was Edward the founder of the band? Certainly the original practice rooms were in the hay loft above the old shoe shop on the corner of Lydyett Lane ... and was Edward teetotal? There was a rumour passed around the village that Edward often charged the local Bobby with the task of retrieving more than the odd bottle of Burgundy from the off licence down the road ... of course Edward could not be seen frequenting such an establishment himself ... in any case the booze was to be used for medicinal purposes only ... ?
When Edward died in 1935 the local paper reported on an 'impressive funeral at Barnton'-
'Edward Hindley was a man of wide interests and among the least known was that which he manifested in the Barnton Silver Band, of which he was the founder. He was its President, and at Band practice last Thursday night, as a mark of respect to their benefactor, the members played Handel's Dead March'.
Unfinished business ...
Edward died on the 8th of May 1935 near to his 77th birthday. The eulogy was read by the Rev R H Barry at the Methodist Church and he was buried with Harriet in Barnton cemetery. His final will was dated October the 2nd 1929. A codicil was added on November 15th 1934 which appointed Edward junior as an executor following the death of Harriet in 1933 ... the will also readjusted several loans to his sons and left the land on the western side of The Poplars to daughter Eda.
A second codicil on Jan 31st 1935 readjusted a loan to Thomas, indicating that Edward was still diligently keeping his financial affairs up to date and in order ... hoping, no doubt, to avoid any misunderstandings over his intentions and the distribution of his hard earned fortune.
On the 17th of September 1935 Edward's estate in the Probate Registry was valued at £20,172 pounds, nineteen shillings & three pence. measuring worth as a share of GDP in today's money ... the value Edward's estate was £6,167,016.34 ... six million ... wow! ... but ...
Valued by the Retail Price Index - £1,043,799.19 - this index uses a 'basket' of goods & services, but can be misleading as everybody is different and buys different things - remember the average man has 1.27 children, what does that mean - I have two children!
Valued by the Gross Domestic Product Deflator - £1,076,641.62 - this index uses an average price of 'all' goods & services produced in the economy but can be misleading as a 'car' in 1935 was not the same thing as a 'car' in 2009 - I remember starting handles, carburetors and trafficators!
Valued by Average Earnings - £3,953, 239.68 - this index uses 'real' earnings by referencing them to output & population size - UK population was ?? in 1935 but ?? in 2009 - I now have more folk and far more synergies from interactions to help me!
Valued by GDP per capita - £4,711,963.57 - this index uses average price of all goods & services and reflects the 'productivity' of human capital - an hour worked today is far more productive than an hour worked in 1935 because of new technological & organisational 'know how' - I use a computer to help me, Edward only had a pencil & paper!
So how do you measure the value of Edward's contribution? ... how do you measure the value of any contribution? Probate values are only residuals after a lifetime of earning & spending ... ?
Edward had a large long lived family and subsequent generations found they couldn't get their hands on their share of his estate until too late in life to spend extravagantly. Pouring the proceeds of hard work down young throats was not an option Edward would have entertained ... he was bent on education and encouraging his issue to acquire a trade and work to build on his contribution and enhance its value ... an inspiring intention ... after all it was the youngsters, not Edward, who created the current worth of his estate ... wasn't it? ... think about it ...
So Edward Hindley cheated the reaper ... just look at the legacy ... Edward's real legacy was his behavioural passion for 'education & compound interest' trying to make sure his investments were productive ... whether human or commercial capital ... but why make the distinction? ... it is human folk that make commercial investments ... investment in human capital was the key to Edward Hindley's lasting legacy ... unfinished business ...
measuring worth - a website that makes sense of money
PS Edward Hindley's story touches all the economic issues in Cheshire which led to, and were consequences of, the industrial revolution ... discovering business synergies ... mass production in factories -
To help you find your way around these pages here is a summary -
17th century - freeholders, dissenters & cheese makers
18th century - feeding the cities & husbandry, Warrington grocers & cordwainers, Antrobus life & rivers of change
19th century - Victorian manufactories
Billy Gibson & George Hormbrey - friends, businessmen, Methodists, Whigs, educators & wealth creators ... ordinary folk of rural Cheshire with wit & nous, who discussed and challenged everything but knew little about the economics of comparative advantage at Crewood Hall?
Birchall brothers - East Cheshire industrialisation & the urban trek - silk throwing in Stockport, Macclesfield & Congleton - fustian cutting in Congleton with the Knappers & in Middlewich with the Fletchers.
These guys probably didn't even know the name of Adam the Smith and would have struggled to cope with moral sentiments & synergies of specialisation & scale that he had hammered out at his forge ... but they were all survivors and coped well ...
and building on the important legacies of -
William Sherratt - The Acton Forge & The Salford Iron Works
William Swift - The Acton Forge
Richard Lloyd - Richard Lloyd & Co
William Edward Maude - W E Maude & Co
Tommy Astles - The Manure Works
Lowwood gunpowder - The Saltpetre Works
And some local competitors just down the river; the Runcorn Bone Works & the Leventons ... and on the Trent & Mersey Canal; the Rookery Bridge Refining Company & the Gortons ... and the Smiths on the Irk in Manchester and the Shropshire Union Canal at Tattenhall ...
Charles Massey & son - Newcastle-under-Lyme
Meggitts - Sutton-in-Ashfield
Quibell Brothers - Newark-on-Trent
Williamson & Corder - Walker-on-Tyne
Weaver Refining Company - Acton Bridge
J & T Walker - Bestwood
Croda - synergies of specialisation & scale, and global speciality chemicals.
Any corrections and additional information gratefully received contact john p birchall
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