John Howarth (1852-1922)


caution !! ... this is an initial draft of a story about our great grandfather ... there are many omissions and inaccuracies ... but it is only a 'story' to pass on to our great grandchildren ... perhaps they will correct all the errors ... ? 

NB I only keep these notes on my website so I don't lose them ! 

Padiham Advertiser

 John HowarthJohn Howarth was born on Feb 5th 1852 and died on Feb26th 1922.

'There are many people in Padiham who will feel a sense of loss to know that my father, the founder of this paper, has taken his last long journey. He has lived just a week or two over his seventieth birthday and his end came peacefully. He has had his fair share of the good things of life, has had in fact, 'a good innings'. But although I tell myself these things there is no logic in grief. My father was my life long friend and for me the road ahead is lonelier now that he has gone.

How truly is our little life just 'rounded with sleep'. To the man of seventy there came recollections of his boyish pranks and to him doubtless those days seemed not too long ago.

What is life but a few short lived memories and after that 'the nothing we set out from'. There is an old thorn tree at Lower Slade where he climbed and hid as a little boy. He showed it to me once, not long ago, and smiled wistfully as we passed. It is still the same tree, not a large one, and soon it will take on again its spring dress. But it laughs with the voices of other children now and sad memories are the milestones of life.

RangitikiHe began work in a mill at 18, managed Padiham's first Coop at 25 and then left Padiham seeking adventure, met his wife and together they sailed away on an old wind jamming emigrant ship The Rangitiki to New Zealand. His was the spirit of a pioneer and in the wilds he was happy but the health of his wife came before his own ambition, she was pregnant with my sister, and he returned to found this paper and to be a pioneer of another kind.

People's rights, footpath controversies, stepping stones, enclosure of Hapton Common ... he worked for progress and in as much as he made people think twice who would otherwise not have thought at all, he must have done some good.

He was guide, philosopher and friend to me and though the hand which once had led came at last to seek mine for support. It was always the hand of a true friend.

Well he is gone, and while in the shadow of this grief I have no heart for electioneering I am nonetheless grateful to those many friends who are working on my behalf' - Harry Howarth 1922.

Harry continued his own pioneering work after his father's death -

'Blue Blood and Big Money. Some Unorthodox Observations Regarding High Finance' by Harry Howarth. Published by The Padiham Advertiser, 1923 - 53 pages.

In 1962 The London Gazette recorded the final liquidation of The Padiham Advertiser Ltd ...

John Howarth (1852-1922) and Alice Faulkner (1851-) were married in 1876, Alice worked as a governess and was always remembered as one of the nicest people you could ever wish to meet ... their youngest Harry Howarth (1885-1956) was a stalwart, reliable & loyal and the marriage was blessed with two daughters, Alice (1879-) and an exceptional elder daughter -

Annie Mary RangitikiAnnie Mary 'Rangitiki' Howarth (1877-1957) who was born at sea on the 'Rangitiki' sailing ship returning from New Zealand in 1877 ... at Latitude 2 47 S, Longitude 32 21 W ... !

Annie was baptised in Padiham in 1877.

In 1904 Annie Mary married John William Thorpe (1877-).

Now John William's dad was John Thorpe (1849-), a 26 year old miner from Clay Cross just like his own dad William. In 1875 John married a 26 year old servant girl from Holbeach, Lincolnshire; Sarah Ann Cox (1849-). Witnesses were William Cox and Sarah Walker.

Sarah Ann Cox was a filly with unusual pedigree born in Moulton, Lincolnshire. Her dad William Cox (1807-91) was an agricultural labourer from Borough Fen, but Sarah's mum was a girl cousin of Thomas Telford? It seemed Annie Mary had made a smart decision because John William introduced some powerful genes into the Thorpe clan ... 

Too complicated to follow? Best to look at the Thorpe/Cox family tree ...

Thomas Telford went to London in 1782 and at some stage other members of his family also left and ended up in Lincolnshire. No doubt they all went where the jobs were, the urban trek always accompanied industrialisation.

 Telford himself wrote about emigration from the Highlands in the  Scots Magazine in 1803. Here was a great engineer messing in politics. The Caledonian Canal was built in 1822 ... the railways came in 1840.

Mary Cox neé Blood? (1809-99), was Sarah Ann's mum, born in Crowland, Lincolnshire. Mary died in Holbeach eight years after her husband William at a grand age of 90, her daughter Alice registered the death.

Mary Blood (1809-99) married William Cox (1807-91) in 1834. The census traced the family movements.

In 1841 Mary & William Cox were at Port's (?) Corner, Moulton with children Elizabeth (1837-), John (1839-), & Alice (1841-).

1851 now at Poet's Corner, with additions William (1843-) & Sarah Ann (1849-). Elizabeth was a nurse maid & John a farmers boy.

1861 they were at Holbeach Bank, with young George E (1853-) & Elizabeth was now dressmaking.

1871 Mary & William were alone with John at Beeston Row, Holbeach. 21 year old Sarah Ann was dressmaking, a visitor at Brook Street, Long Eaton, Derbyshire where she met 22 year old John Thorpe who was living with his family at Mantle Lane Office Row, Clay Cross. In 1866 Alice married Charles Field in Holbeach, in 1871 they were living at Wash Way Road, Holbeach, with daughters, Sarah A (1868-) & Elizabeth (1870-).

1881 Mary & William were at Hall Gate Cottages, Holbeach, alone with their youngest George Ed who followed his dad into agricultural labouring.

By 1891 Mary was a widow at Cemetery Road, Holbeach, with her 15 year old granddaughter Mary A Field who had followed the family bent into dressmaking.

But there is no sign of a link to Dumfries and Telford and Joe Flood suggested, 'The Crowland Lincolnshire Bloods are quite numerous, and appear to start with John Blood and Elizabeth around 1690 (or at least with three brothers John, William and Robert who were producing families in Crowland from 1730).
As with most English Bloods, they occupied the bottom of the social structure as agricultural labourers, carters or boatmen. As time went on, a few managed to get apprenticeships in the building trades, or even to buy small farms or inns. As yet I have found no English Bloods who entered professional occupations by 1851 ... but these occupations were rare and required considerable wealth and social standing.
I think probably these Crowland Bloods were an early offshoot of the Leicester or Nottingham Bloods, but we would need a DNA test to prove this'.

The Cox/Telford link remains elusive ... 'The Life of Telford' by Samuel Smiles did not reveal any Cox links. The Stamford Mercury reported some culled extracts of local interest ... but alas nothing on local relatives.

The current state of Cox/Telford connections are very much a work in progress - Telford/Telford - Telford/Cox - Telford/Jackson ... help!

Annie Mary & John produced three girls of considerable consequence -

Doris (1906-) married Bernard Cackett (-) a renowned hockey player who served with excellence in the Rhodesian Police Force. Children John & Geoff.

Bessie (1907-) married Cliff Ogden (-) a golfer. Children Michael & Alan.

Alice (1910-2007) married Norman C Jackson (1906-2001) a motorcyclist and lifelong oarsman and aficionado of rowing. Children Colin, Carole & Valerie.

These three young girls, and their friends, started early, they were writers, actors and forces to be reckoned with ... some of there enduring work from 1921 is worth a read ... wot fun! And Alice ended up a bit of a philosopher!


Nicholas Howarth (1828-) (or Haworth as spelt in the census?) was John Howarth's dad. Nicholas was born in 1828 at Altham, just west of Padiham, the son of William & Elizabeth.

In 1851 Nicholas married Ann Winsley (1826-) at St Leonard, Padiham. Ann was from New Moss, Whalley, Padiham, the daughter of John & Mary, one of seven children. Ann was working as a weaver in 1841 & in 1851, just before she married. Nicholas & Ann had two sons, Dennis was John Howarth's younger brother.

Dennis Howarth (1853-) was born in 1853 and married Jane Brinnand (1856-) from Higham, in 1876, they had five sons John (1877-), Peter (1879-), Nicholas (1882-), Charles Lee (1887-), Rennie Edward (1890-) & the youngest Thomas (1896-).

The 1871 census showed widowed Ann, 45, living with John, 19, & Dennis, 17, at Sowerby Street, Padiham. John was in the grocery business and Dennis was a cotton power loom weaver.

In 1881 Dennis & Jane were living at 55 Colne Road, Marsden with mother, Ann, 55, a retired grocer, and young sons John, 4, & Peter, 2. Dennis described his occupation as a grocer & beer retailer! Good for him!

In 1891 Dennis & Jane were still at 55 Colne Road, now with five sons, John, 14, Peter, 12, Nicholas, 9,  Charles L, 4, & Rennie, 1. The two eldest were cotton weavers and Dennis continued with his groceries.

In 1901 they were now at 208 Colne Road, a bigger house no doubt to shelter five growing sons! The four eldest were weaving and dad was now resting as a retired grocer ...

By 1911 Dennis & Jane were with the two youngest Charles Lee, 24, a plumber, & Rennie Edward, 21, a worker dresser. They had moved to more suitable accommodation at 5 Chapel Street, Brierfield ... just up the road ... most families didn't move far from their roots in those days ...

Voyage of the RangitikieJohn Howarth was an exception ...

With unusual foresight & diligence John kept a meticulous dairy of his journey to New Zealand on the 'Rangitiki' which he published himself when he returned to Padiham. 'A Voyage Round the World', was intended for the interest of his family, but a facsimile of this inspiring document is available for everyone at the Canterbury Museum, Christchurch, New Zealand. The narrative is seriously fascinating for all students of history & all folk interested in pioneering, seafaring under sail or the ancient immigrant flow to New Zealand. Good effort!


Originally Padiham was a wool and worsted town, Burnley had 2,000 inhabitants in 1790 but by 1900 there were over 87,000. By the end of the 19th century, Burnley spun 700,000 spindles of cotton and wove fabric on some 62,000 looms. The towns around Burnley also expanded at the same astonishing pace ... from 1800 Padiham was the place to be! There were mills everywhere - Jubilee Mill, Holme Mill, Levant Mill, Green Lane Mill, Greenbridge Mill, Green Bank Works, Orchard Mill and Britannia Mill, amongst others.

I wonder which mill employed Dennis and the young Howarths? With their ingrained Howarth spirit it's a safe bet that they were active in the Padiham Operative Weavers, who were renowned for their forthright nature and independent spirit ...

And, perhaps, it was Dennis Howarth's cottage in Sowerby Street which was pulled down to make way for a famous building ...

Padiham Weavers InstituteThe Burney Express reported on Friday 21 November 2008 -
The staple industry of Padiham for well over 100 years was cotton spinning and weaving.
From the early 1840s 'King Cotton' ruled the roost, almost every person in town was employed in the Padiham mills or knew someone who was. The damp climate made it ideal for cotton spinning and weaving, the cotton thread did not dry out and break.
But the weavers' lot was not easy.
In 1859, there was a six-month long weavers' strike which brought six of Padiham's mills to a standstill and then the cotton famine hit them between 1861 and 1865 and created great distress. During the American Civil War the ports were blockaded, preventing cotton getting through to the Lancashire mills. Manufacturers failed, mills were closed down and the operatives were thrown out of work.
There were disputes and strikes as the weavers tried to improve their lot. In 1859, the Padiham power loom weavers went on strike.
Around 1854 a body of men risked everything, including their own jobs, to try to better the working conditions of the weavers. They first met in a lowly cottage in Back Lane in the present day West Street area of town.
In time they were able to form the Padiham Weavers Association and moved from the cottage in Back Lane to a house in Gawthorpe Street, and later in the 1890s to premises in St Leonard's Street.
It was soon obvious though that the association would need purpose built accommodation to further its cause. With this in mind the committee was able to buy four old cottages in Sowerby Street in 1903 for £750 with the intention of pulling them down and building a new Weavers Institute. The cost of pulling the cottages down and erection of the new building was £1,200 – plus the cost of furniture and a new billiard table which was expected to cost a further £200.
The new building was opened on April 30th, 1904, there were two entrances, one at each end of the building. The ground floor was divided into two sections, one for the staff and the other for use of the members, and containing a spacious entrance hall, secretary's office, committee room, conversation room, reading room and billiard room, with the usual conveniences located at the Ribble Street end.
The upper floor was to be the assembly room with seating for 250 persons with a platform at one end and two retiring rooms. The whole of this room was fitted with a barrel vaulted ceiling with rich ornamental plasterwork and windows glazed with coloured lead lights. The walls of the entrance hall, the toilets and the staircase were lined with coloured tiles, and the floor laid out with Terrazzo marble.
The new institute was built to a design by Burnley architects Hitchon and Pritchard – the masonry work was done by Padiham builder Daniel Helm.
This fine building served the Padiham weavers for more than 60 years and it finally closed down around the mid to late 1960s. This was the dying days of King Cotton as mills closed down, or were converted to other uses ...

It seems the Howarth's move into shop keeping was a good call. Independent spirits could not save cotton, Padiham cotton was destined to boom & bust whereas shop keeping went on from strength to strength ... cake shops, betting shops, petrol shops, furnishing shops ...

John Howarth & Co ?This splendid photograph is a mystery. It certainly includes John Howarth, 3rd from the right back row. But who are the others.

Would it not be wonderful if the others could be identified?

And the location of the rather unusual house?

Was it in New Zealand?

Or Padiham?



Any corrections and additional information gratefully received contact john p birchall

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