Kendal Banker & Liverpool Merchant William Edward Maude (1818-1904)


caution !! this is an initial draft ...

I keep these notes on my server so I don't lose them !!




The 'story' of William Edward Maude (1818-1904) was a tale of enterprise and the rise of Liverpool. A Liverpool merchant who in 1850 purchased a business at Acton Bridge in the middle of rural Cheshire.

What was this business? And why was a Liverpool merchant interested in it?

The history of this riparian site on the River Weaver touched the intertwined stories of energy, international trade, the industrial revolution and the development of science ... at the heart of our story was William Edward Maude who had his fingers in almost everything?

Acton Bridge Rolling MillsActon Bridge Forge, Rolling Mills & Animal by Products.

In 1640 land at Action Bridge by the side of the River Weaver was purchased by the Milner family. The river and flowing water had been used from early times for transport & water power. A likely place for the local blacksmith.

By 1696 The iron smelting industry in the North West had been reorganised during the charcoal energy crisis by The Cheshire Partnership. They built The Vale Royal Blast furnace close to fuel sources of Delamere Forest.

In 1718 The Vale Royal Company established The Acton Forge. One of several satellite forges required to balance the output of the giant blast furnace at Vale Royal.

1734 The Weaver Navigation opened. The Dee was silting up and Chester, the north western gateway to Wales and Ireland since Roman times, lost out to deep water at Liverpool. The Liverpool merchants opened up the mid Cheshire salt fields and linked them to salt water refineries down the river and to coal supplies from Lancashire via The Sankey Canal in 1757. This triangular trade in salt spurred the development of Liverpool from 1715 and the Merseyside chemical industry.
After the construction of the Weaver navigation locks there was a usable head of water available at Acton Bride.

1767 Nicholas Ryder left Scotland Bridge, Salford and the Cranage Forge and set up The Marston Forge at Northwich.

1781 Daniel Whittaker & Co followed the success of the Northwich Mill just up the river and planned to build a cotton mill at Acton Bridge. The plan was aborted and he invested in the Greenfield Valley in Flintshare.

1800 The Acton Forge was redeveloped by James Bateman & William Sherratt of Manchester and The Salford Iron Works. They took advantage of the water head to power a coal fired reverberatory furnace producing 'puddled' wrought iron from pig iron and Henry Cort's new technology involved rolling mills.

1804 Thomas Ryder left Marston and occupied the forge at Acton Bridge.

1808 The Industrial Revolution increased the variety of trade activity and several businesses occupied site by the navigation. There was multiple site occupancy which included a lime distribution depot, a packet service from Gibson's wharf and a coal depot at Wilbraham's Quay.

1815 William Sherratt was still involved with Thomas Ryder at Acton Bridge.

1832 J & T Sherratt of The Salford Iron Works renovated the forge as a scrap forge and put it up for sale.

1833 William Swift & Son from Bolton purchased the forge and operated it for a while.

In 1838 John Budd and the Liverpool office of Vivian & Sons of Swansea were inspired to add value to their imported Silesian zinc by utilising the power of the river Weaver at Acton Bridge to roll zinc sheets.

John Budd was in partnership with Cooper Ewbank as metal brokers at 23 Water Street, Liverpool, and zinc plate manufacturers at Acton Bridge. 
John Budd (1808-53) was the younger brother of John Palmer Budd (1803-83) who was big in copper and the metal trade.
John Vivian (1750-1826) of Truro, Cornwall had moved to Swansea to smelt his copper and recruited his Cornish friends, the Budds, to help with an expanding business. A branch office of Vivian & Sons was set up in Liverpool, where the action was, and John Budd was put in charge. No doubt inspired by John Budd's patented technology from 1835, Vivian & Sons were involved in a diversification strategy from 1842 which included zinc technology and printing cylinders at Hafod, Swansea.

By 1840 there was trouble at the mill and Budd & Ewbank were involved in cross petitioning and a land mark court case which revealed much about the business at Acton Bridge.

1843 The Tithe Maps confirmed that John Budd operated a zinc works at Acton Bridge.

1843 W E Maude was into exportation of Stourbridge firebricks at Derby Buildings, Fenwick Street, Liverpool.

1946 W E M was doing well and importing 6 cases of wine from Jersey!  

1846 W E Maude & Co, Liverpool Merchants were importing Peruvian guano at 4 Harrington Street, Liverpool. Imported by Gibbs, Bright & Co - Gibbs, Bright & Co was established in Bristol in 1818, when George Gibbs and his son George began an association with Robert Bright. The Gibbs family made its first fortune in the late 1700s as Bristol wool merchants; trading cloth to Spain and importing fruit and wine. Gibbs, Bright & Co opened a Liverpool office in 1805.

The Gibbs established a monopoly on the import of guano from Chile/Peru for fertiliser and this success lead to the establishment of a merchant bank called Anthony Gibbs & Sons. The Brights owned sugar producing estates in the Jamaica and a connection between the two families was established through their West Indies trading activities. By 1856 211,000 tons of guano were imported via Bristol & London. Profits from this trade were such that William became the richest non noble man in England. Remembered in the Victorian music hall ditty:

'William Gibbs made his dibs, Selling the turds of foreign birds'

Imported Guano, it was initially a supplement added to ground bones as a fertiliser.

By 1870 guano was superseded by caliche ore, a cheaper source of nitrate of soda, and super phosphate fertilisers were available. Hence by 1880 the company had moved its South American base to Chile, where it manufactured nitrate of soda and its by product, iodine from calchite ore, both of which were in high demand for use in the burgeoning European and North American munitions trade ... and iodine was a useful animal feeds supplement ... and became valuable in nutrition.

Sodium nitrate, NaNO3, was known as Peru/Chile saltpeter, to distinguish it from 'ordinary' saltpeter, potassium nitrate. Large deposits were found in the Atacama desert.

W. Maude, Merchants and bankers: a brief record of Antony Gibbs and Sons … 1808–1958 (privately printed, London, 1958)

Gibbs, Bright & Co used distribution agents in Bristol and no doubt William Edward Maude operated in the same way at 4 Harrington Street in Liverpool. By 1841 guano was being sold by Isaac Lang as a nutritious mix for bone manures. Dr Ryan, Professor at the Royal Polytechnic Institution, London was recommending them and knew a thing or two about manures. And by 1848 Hunt's of Lambeth were making a name for themselves.

By 1849 William E Maude would be well aware of another distributer who was adding value to guano. Hunt's superphosphates were well known. William was surely a colleague of John Budd in Liverpool and knew of his activities on the Weaver.

1849 The Manchester Courier advertised the zinc wares of Richard Lloyd & Company, Acton Bridge. John Budd had apparently left the operations at Acton Bridge to his leading hand a blacksmith from Cardiganshire?

1850 Richard Lloyd & Co were identified in Bagshaws Directory of Cheshire as the zinc works proprietors, and Bagshaws confirmed the saw milling activities.

1850 The Chester Chronicle was advertising sheet zinc, saw mills and bone crushing facilities at Acton Bridge. The company address No 3 Harrington Street was William Edward Maude's Liverpool office.

John Budd sold out to a fellow Liverpool merchant William Edward Maude with textile printing connections. William Edward's father William Maude (1772-) had married the daughter of James Greenway a rather famous calico printer of Darwen. 

1852 Richard Lloyd was selling off a steam engine and saw milling equipment.

1852 Saltpetre was shipped from Acton to Milnthorpe Station for John Wakefield in Sedgwick. W H Wakefield was a black powder manufacturer.

1853 Gores Directory of Liverpool confirmed Richard Lloyd was in partnership with W E Maude, a Liverpool merchant and commission agent. By 1853 on the same page in the Chester Chronicle there was a Rookery Bridge Bone Mills advert and an Acton Bridge advert ... for superphosphate of lime ... what was the source of the sulphuric acid?

1853 The Chester Chronicle advertising focused on bone milling.

1853 The Birmingham Gazette was advertising for skilled zinc workers at Acton Bridge. Mr F H Greenstreet was in charge of zinc, a man of repute ... and patents. The zinc business was diversifying or specialising in value added merchandise.

1853/64 William Edward Maude, a Liverpool merchant, was actively patenting technology associated with carriages, ships and steam engines.

1854 Maude & Lloyd partnership was dissolved, a relatively short lived affair.

1855 an agent in Glasgow was advertising. And William Edward was advertising directly in The Belfast News.

1857 The Post Office Directory lists W E Maude.

1857 William Edward Maude inherited the considerable Maude estates in Westmoreland & Lancashire.

1860 Francis White & Co, History, Gazetteer &  Directory of Cheshire describes W E Maude's zinc works adjacent to the stone bridge as 'extensive' and names their local representative as Thomas Priestly.

1860/61 the Weaver tonnage records indicated W E Maude & Co were shipping both zinc & bones, in Weaver flats up to Acton Bridge.

1861 W E Maude was in court suing the Lancaster and Ulverston Railway over fencing, no doubt no he was an estate owner more interested in his ewes than the Acton Bridge factory? 

1861 Northwich Guardian reported Druids at The Zinc Works Mr Thomas Priestley.

1862 Northwich Guardian reported the tragic drowning of Thomas John  Priestley, Mr Priestley's 18 year old son.

1863 Northwich Guardian reported a warehouse with weighing machine, crane & co, on the Weaver, 'to be let'.

1864 Northwich Guardian announced to be sold W E Maude: warehouse and cottages.

1863 Westmorland Gazette reported that W E Mude intended to retire from farming and let his lands for grazing ...

1864 Morris & Co's Directory of Cheshire in 1864 lists Maude W E operating his zinc rolling mill.

1864 the Minute Books of The Weaver Navigation confirm W E Maude was still leasing the mill site from Milner.

1865 Northwich Guardian advertised William Parks had contracted with Lowwood to sell their 'salt' to farmers to remove the turnip taste in milk?

1865 Northwich Guardian reported on a party at The Horns, Acton Bridge for the Saltpetre Works.

1870 Northwich Guardian reported the sale of W E Maude Zinc Works.

1870 on the 13th of May the Liverpool Courier announced that William Maude was seeking a new tenant for his zinc, saw and bone mill, complete with steam boilers and two water wheels.

1871 The Birmingham Gazette advertises the impending sale of the zinc works machinery and announces the conversion of the mill to a manure works. The conversion undertaken by the Astles brothers was confirmed in the Liverpool Mercury. And in The Sheffield Telegraph.   

1871 The Liverpool Mercury informed us that Mr Maude was involved with the Lowwood Gunpowder Company, Orange Court, Liverpool.   

1872 Northwich Guardian reported on a court case was found for W E Maude the defendant, with costs.            

 1872 Northwich Guardian reported yet another smoke nuisance for Lowwood and Mr Priestley at Acton Bridge.                         

1873 William Edward Maude, 'previously of Liverpool, now of Blawith' was an absent proprietor at Acton Bridge, he was busy administering his inheritances from Blawith.

1874 Morris & Co Directory of Cheshire identified the two works at Acton Bridge as Astles, Thomas & John, and The Lowwood Gunpowder Company.

1876 Worrall's Directory confirmed William Maude was the owner of the manure business with John Astles as the manager. And the Lowwood Gunpowder Co Ltd was listed as the proprietor of the saltpetre works under the management of John Edwards Harrison.

William inherited the estates at Blawith & Cartmel where the Maudes and the Wakefields were bankers, friends, neighbours & business partners in Stricklandgate, Kendal & the Kendal Farmers Club. William Henry Wakefield (1828-1889), a banker and gunpowder maker, of Sedgwick House, Kendal. The Wakefields opened the first gun powder mills in Cumbria, at Sedgwick near Kendal in 1764. The mills moved from Sedgwick to Gatebeck, near Endmoor in 1850. W H Wakefield & Co took over The Lowwood Gunpowder Co in 1882. William Edward Maude's involvement in saltpetre at Acton Bridge was inspired by these Cumbrian connections ...

... so saltpetre production was an ongoing part of William Edward Maude's business strategy. He was a Liverpool Merchant importing goodies from wherever he could find them and then adding value by local processing at Acton Bridge into new marketable products. Saltpetre was imported and refined into 'usable' saltpetre for gunpowder. As Fredk Page noted,

'Maude was involved in on-going imports from Chile, he could have been bringing in anything containing nitrate in some form. Enterprising manure and glue works would be capable of converting the nitrates in caliche, for example, into saltpetre without too much effort. It seems to me to be very unlikely that glue works used ‘piss and shit’ (pardon the chemistry terms) to produce a nitrate'.

1876 July 1st, an article in the Northwich Guardian reported the launch of the Lowwood coaster Leven built by the Wincham Ship Building, Boiler & Salt Co, Witton Brook. An iron vessel 88ft long 102 gross tonnage with Galton boilers.  The launch, by Mrs Youd, daughter of Mr Harrison manager of the Lowwood Factory at Acton Bridge, was followed by trials in October/November and at sea in December. The 'Leven' was owned by The Lowwood Gunpowder Co and shipped saltpetre from the Acton Bridge works up the coast to Ulverston ... and was it also used to tranship imported material from Liverpool?

1876 Electoral Register - William E Maude was the owner of a freehold warehouse in Acton.

In 1880 Tommy Astles was advertising in the Nantwich Guardian as the come back kid?

In 1882 steam power replaced water power and the Minute Books of The Weaver Navigation recorded that W E Maude received compensation of £1,680 from the Trustees for the loss of water power at Acton Bridge.

In 1882 Tommy Astles was ready for a new challenge and the bone works was put up for sale. Maude still looking for new possibilities in shipbuilding?

The sale notice in the Northwich Guardian included a detailed description of the separate 'bone' and 'corn' mills. Now, after the building of the Dutton Locks, both mills were bone and corn were distinctly separated but driven by the same steam engine. South American bones were received from flats and stored above the bone mill and processed at 60 tons per week, 10 hours per day. There were two dwelling houses and six cottages. The central part of the site is leasehold with freehold at the north and south ends. The south end with two warehouses and one cottage was described as a yard suitable for ship repair/building.

1884 Tommy Astles chases a dream in Australia.

1898 Northwich Guardian advertised S B Neill selling Kontelo from Acton Mills ... wot?? Were the Neills involved in Acton Mills as early as 1898. Was that why James Skidmore moved to Acton Bridge on retirement?

1899 Northwich Guardian again advertised Kontelo Sidney Bancroft Neill was Joseph Oswald Neill's younger brother. Their father Joseph Skidmore Neill was a builder but also 'in finance' and living at The Cliff, Acton Bridge? In 1908 S B Neill was on a passenger ship to Canada?

1900 William Edward Maude was registered in the Cheshire Electoral Rolls as the owner of a freehold warehouse at Acton Bridge. His address at the time was 75 Upper Leeson Street, Dublin ... William & Ruth were visitors at the house of Ruth's step mother Letitia Mary Swinburne (1817-)

On August 11th 1900 The Northwich Guardian advertised the auction sale of two plots of land and buildings on the River Weaver at Acton Bridge ... was this the fateful purchase which spawned The Weaver Refining Company? Interesting ... the solicitors involved were Moser and Sons of Kendal ... ? Some of the Maude family papers, 1609-1827, are held by Cumbria Archive Centre, Kendal, deposited there by Messrs Milne, Moser and Sons, Solicitors, Kendal.

Looked like W E Maude sold his interests at Acton Bridge to Edward Hindley and Joseph Neill

July 20th 1903 Edward Hindley purchased the freehold of the land occupied by the Lowwood Saltpetre Works from W E Maude.

Fred Page detailed his thoughts about the activities of William Edward Maude at Acton Bridge -

My instincts also tell me that the way to unravel the whole Acton Bridge story is by following the W E Maude trail.
The following is entirely speculation, but may be of interest. It certainly needs to be checked:
I suspect that the bone mill had a central place in what was going on. During the first half of the 1800s bones were just rendered and ground to form a powder that was spread on the fields. The trouble is that the calcium phosphate in bones is not very soluble, so guano was an real improvement as a source of phosphorus. You can imagine Maude expanding the range of products he offers to farmers. Later, acid was sometimes used to make the bone or guano more soluble as a superphosphate. The stuff was also blended with other raw fertilisers, including ammonium sulphate and sodium nitrate. These could also have been sold directly to customers.
Sodium nitrate was imported from Iquique in Peru (or in Chile after the war). It was refined close to where the caliche was dug up and sent to the UK, probably in sacks as a fairly pure (95%) product. Gibbs & Co and another company, W J Myers & Co, were the main imports of guano into Liverpool in the 1840s, but from then on Gibbs dominated the trade. Gibbs also became big in the sodium nitrate business. I think that W E Maude might have acted as an importer for Gibbs, providing warehousing, sale and distribution of guano and then sodium nitrate. They probably also used it as a raw material in their ‘manures’ (fertilisers), made by blending the sodium nitrate with bone dust, guano and other things.
From there business developed. The saltpetre refinery took the crude sodium nitrate and converted it from the sticky lumps received from Peru into fine, dry crystals that could be blended directly by the gunpowder makers. This is what I am claiming was done down here in SW England. I suspect it was also done elsewhere in the country.
Another development might have been glue. Bone contains about 30% collagen, a protein which can be broken down with acid and then evaporated to form the sticky resin called glue. Possibly this is what British Glues and Chemicals were doing with a little bit of trading in commodity chemicals on the side.

It seems William Edward Maude was continuously involved in the Acton Bridge mill site for at least 47 years? So who was this guy?

The Maudes of Blawith.

Burke's genealogical & Heraldic history of the landed gentry details the Maude family history.
This lineage was from John Maude (1570-1635) of Alverthorpe Hall and likely linked to the Maudes of Otley and W and E Maude bankers of Otley who were reported bankrupt in 15 April 1817.

Joseph MaudeJoseph Maude (1739-1803) was a banker. Born in Sunderland he sold his possessions and moved to Kendal in 1773.

He came from a family of coal exporters in Sunderland where he worked for his uncle Barnabas (1701-1770). His father William (1699-1753) had married well in 1738 to, Margaret, the daughter of a twice Mayor of Kendal, Thomas Holme. Joseph also did well for himself and amassed a considerable fortune, selling up in 1770. Three years later, at the age of 40, he moved to Kendal where he set up as a merchant, bill-broker and moneylender. Before long he had become one of Kendal's most influential merchants. He built Stricklandgate House in 1776.

He married into the Holme family and consolidated his position in Kendal society. The Holmes provided mayors of Kendal on no less than five occasions. Not only was Joseph successful in business but also as a father, producing a family of 12 children at about one a year. The census of 1787 shows his family and household as -

Stricklandgate HouseJoseph & Sarah his wife
His nine sons - Thomas, Frederick, William, Joseph, Warren, Edwin, John, Charles & Barnabas
His three daughters - Miss Maude (the eldest), Annamaria & Charlotta
He had two menservants - Roger Hunter & William Robinson, and five maidservants - Agnes Sorray, June Smallwood, Ann Braithwaite, Mary Barnet & Leah Viall (some of the girls probably to deal with maternity needs!).
Twenty one people in all, altogether quite a household!

Stricklandgate developed as a road with big houses for prominent members of business and society, interspersed with shops, small houses and yards with cottages and work premises at the rear. There were eventually shops on each side of the house. It was said that Kendal's wealth lay along this short road where most of the town's shearmen, dyers and mercers lived but, like the rest of Kendal at the time, the roads were in a terrible condition. A visitor remarked in 1797 - 'I would wish to say something in praise of the town but it is too ill-paved to mind anything but your feet.' There were no pavements then and it was not until 1824 that John Macadam put down his experimental road surface in Stricklandgate which led to the modern term tarmacadam.

'Four Centuries of Banking: The Northern Constituent Banks' by George Chandler, describes Joseph's move from Sunderland to Kendal as difficult but nevertheless improved communications were leading to larger unified banks. The first two banks in Kendal were founded on the same day, 1st January 1788.

Joseph formed one of them in Stramongate, 'Maude, Wilson and Crewdson'.  Joseph Maude, Christopher Wilson and Thomas Crewdson were the original partners; their business prospered and in 1792 they removed into more commodious premises which had been specially constructed at No 69, Highgate. Thomas Crewdson died in 1795. In 1801, the original partnership was dissolved by mutual consent and in 1803 Joseph Maude died at Stricklandgate House. His bequests included £25 to the Kendal Bluecoat School and his estate went to his son Thomas Holme who continued to live in Stricklandgate House for some years.

Stricklandgate PlaqueThe Kendal Bank of Savings established its office in Stricklandgate House in 1815.

John Wood's map of 1833 shows that Thomas Holme extended his land holdings behind and to the north of the house. His next door neighbours at the time were Miss Roddick, William Cookson and William Fisher, all involved in some way with the wool and linen trade. Twenty years later, Henry Hoggarth shows on his map that the grounds had been extended further, and were then named 'Maude's Meadow'.

In 1854 W E Maude leased the house to the Kendal literary and scientific society with some of its founder members being William Wordsworth, Robert Southey, John Dalton and Adam Sedgewick. Later it became the town's museum and library.

After the deaths of Thomas Crewdson and Joseph the bank continued as  'Maude, Wilson and Crewdson' with other members of the family now ensconced in the business. Joseph's son and heir, Thomas Holme Maude, joined as a partner as did Christopher Wilson II, William Dillworth Crewdson I & David Huddlestone, 'all of Kendal in the county of Westmoreland, bankers & co-partners'. Thomas Holme retired a few years later and the family cashed in on their success and disappeared from the banking business. The bank continued as W D Crewdson & Son.

 The other Kendal bank formed at the same time was founded by John Wakefield. He opened in his house a few doors away from Stricklandgate House.  John Wakefield was an entrepreneur of wide ranging interests, not only did he open the Stricklandgate bank but he had also opened the first gun powder mills in Cumbria, at Sedgwick near Kendal in 1764. William Henry Wakefield (1828-1889), a banker and gunpowder maker, of Sedgwick House, Kendal was a descendent of John Wakefield. The mills moved from Sedgwick to Gatebeck, near Endmoor in 1850.

Normally, banks were formed by firms of attorneys so it is significant that Maude's and Wakefield's standing in the town was so high that they were able to break with tradition. Both banks were so secure that they were able to withstand the financial crises of the early 19th century when many large banks failed. The local farmers loved Wakefields and a 'Jacky Wakefield' bank note was reckoned the equal of a gold sovereign!

Both banks continued to thrive until their amalgamation in 1840, as Wakefield, Crewdson & Company, 'The Kendal Bank', and it seems that he must have moved from the house as it was rented out for short periods.

The Kendal Bank The Kendal Bank erected this building in 1873, the alleyway to the south becoming the New Bank Yard.

Interestingly both the Crewdsons and the Wakefields were Quakers and the friendship continued - the firm merged with the bank of Liverpool which became Martins Bank in 1928 and Barclays Bank in 1969.

Thomas Holme Maud (1739-1803) does not seem to have inherited his father's business ability or interests and politics took over he became Mayor of Kendal twice, in 1799 and 1813.

'A CHRONOLOGICAL TABLE of the Chief Magistrates of the Borough of Kendal, from its first incorporation, in 1575, and of the most remarkable events, chiefly in the town and neighbourhood' records - '1799-1800 Thomas Holme Maude. The last of the Free Companies of Kendal (the Cordwainers) broken up. Oatmeal sold for 8s. a stone of sixteen pounds. From 1800 to 1806 the main timbers of the Parish Church underwent thorough repair, and Divine service was suspended several weeks. July 10, a faculty was granted to the Mayor, Recorder, &c., for erecting galleries in Kendal Church, the expense of which was 193l. 6s. 3d'. In his second mayoral year, a great procession of Corporation and Trades was held which was accompanied by 'a general illumination'. Perhaps this was the origin of the Torchlight Procession!

Thomas Holme added to the Maude estate by building in Cartmel, Lancashire - 'A Topographical Dictionary of England (1848), pp. 87-95' describes - 'A neat house, called Blawith Cottage, belongs to Thomas Holme Maude Esq. it has a southern aspect, commanding an extensive view over the Lancaster sands.' 

The Maudes accumulated important lands in Westmoreland & Lancashire and the generations had married well. Luckily for William Edward Maude, his uncle, Thomas Holme, left no heirs and his two elder brothers both died before Thomas and also left no issue. William Edward Maude inherited the considerable Maude estates around 1857 when his aunt died. But the story starts earlier ...

Potter Maude & Co - Calico Printers.

Calico PrintingIn 1802 William Edward's father, William, married Jane Greenway (1786-), the younger daughter of a Manchester merchant & chapman James Greenway of Livesey Fold, Darwen, Blackburn, the proprietor of a print works twenty miles from Manchester. The marriage took place in Manchester Cathedral on February 9th. This was a fortuitous coupling and on Oct 26th 1818 William Edward Maude was Christened at St Mary-the-Virgin, Blackburn, Lancashire, England, son of William & Jane. There were two elder brothers, Frederick Maude Christened on July 25th 1806 and Thomas Holme Maude Christened Dec 19th 1812 both at St Mary's Church, Blackburn, Lancashire, England and a younger brother, Eustace Montalt Maude, Christened on Oct 5th 1826 and lots of sisters. Thomas Holme died unmarried in 1842. In the 1841 census Frederick was a Clerk in Preston, unmarried, he died in 1843. In 1841 Eustace was in Jersey with Jane his Mum and sister Charlotte, he died in 1844 only 18 years.

Long before William Edward inherited his estates in the north he had to earn a living and through his father and mother he became involved in the Lancashire textile industry. Significantly for young William Edward's education his father joined his mother's dad in business, James Greenway had a calico printing business powered by water!

These calico printing pioneers were working 'in the dark', the French were the chemical theorists, the English were a nation of shop keepers ... they simply got on with the job and produced anything that sold, and they produced more of anything that sold well. James Greenway and his mate, Jonathan Haworth, up the road in Oswaldtwistle, produced 'Blackburn Greys', bog standard calicoes of the time, but they discovered they sold more if the husks and blemishes were removed and the cloth given a bright, smooth, colour fast appearance ... they were intent on improving the quality ... carding, bleaching, calendaring, sizing, dyeing and printing ... and there was competition around. By 1795 John Aikin wrote that Robert Peel was printing calicoes in Bury with copper rollers.

Colours; red from madder, blue from indigo, then aniline and murexide purple, fushine pink, picric acid yellow, Prussian blue, tannic acid, alizarin ... Fibres from wool, silk and cotton ... Mordents which managed the complex interactions of fibre & colour ...  Bleaching from the sun and Le Blanc powder ... James Greenway and Jonathan Haworth were not theoretical chemists but they were practical chemists ... as Charles O'Neill confirmed in 1860 ...

James Greenway (1742–1821) left his mark. He came from Oxfordshire and built his printing works at Livesey Fold in Darwen in 1777. Another of his daughters Sarah married John Potter (the uncle of Beatrix Potter) and John joined the Greenway printing business.

In 1808 James built a new mill at Dob Meadow, Darwen and set up his two sons-in-law to run the business as Potter, Maude & Co. The brothers-in-law Potter & Maude went bankrupt in 1831 ... but other family initiatives didn't!

WalpamurIn 1839 Sarah & John's son Charles, working with his brother Harold, adapted a calico printing press for printing wall paper, patented it and the rest is history. The Potters thrived on wallpaper, 'Walpamur' and 'Crown' paints ...

Hilton WorksThe early history of calico printing & bleaching and papermaking in Darwen was described in a history of Blackburn, town and parish by W A Abram, 1877.

The Lancashire Family History & Heraldry Society also reported on James Greenway in 2003 -

'Mr Melvyn Hirst, fascinated us all with his researches into the Greenway family of Darwen in a talk entitled 'Searching for the origins of an early Lancashire calico printer; James Greenway of Over Darwen'. James was not only a calico printer he was an astute businessman who rose to become a leading figure in Darwen. There was a public house in the town named after him until the recent fashion for changing all good old names into rather ridiculous modern ones. James was connected to a good number of other calico printing businesses in Lancashire and even as far away as Scotland. His business in Darwen eventually turned from printing calico to printing wallpaper. It was a gripping talk with maps, photographs and books in illustration. Mr. Hirst gave the titles of some useful books - 'A history of print works in the Manchester district 1760-1846' by John Graham, 'The cotton masters, 1830-1860' by Anthony Howe and 'Lancashire Memories' by Louisa Potter'.

The story of William senior and his father-in-law James, has been summarised recently in a development appraisal of Sunnyhurst Wood - 'The Landscape History of Sunnyhurst Wood, Darwen - Survey & Report the Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council by Dr Alan G. Crosby, 2007' -

'The first major specific change to the local landscape was the result of industrialisation. In 1808 James Greenway, who had operated the print works at Livesey Fold since 1777, went into partnership with John Potter and William Maude, and subsequently retiring, the business continued as Potter, Maude & Co. The company opened a calico printing works on the Earnsdale or Sunnyhurst Brook at Dob Meadows (variously spelled as one or two words). This involved building a weir or dam across the brook to impound a substantial reservoir - the lodges, and the dam and spillway system, still survive though the mill buildings have long gone. In 1832 the works was leased by James Greenway junior to Charles Potter and William Ross, and in 1841 that partnership was dissolved. Ross continued as sole trader until 1847, when he retired and the works was leased to Messrs Heron, Baron and Eddlestone. In 1878 the business was sold, the works auctioned, and the machinery removed (in 1889 J G Shaw noted that ‘the trade is now extinct’). Although it later reopened for a period, the works never expanded significantly - the site was too constricted and the potential for development was very limited.'

In 1831 the demise of Potter, Maude & Co was confirmed in the bankruptcy courts. The Manchester Times reported that the equipment was to be sold off. The textile industry in Darwen was struggling, competition was fierce, manufacturers had been forced to cut wages in 1819 and there had been ugly riots in 1826. James Greenway, John Potter and William Maude were at their wits end. Innovation and technical progress was the only way to avoid bankruptcy and climb out of the abyss.

The Dob Meadows mill continued operating but it was the Potter Mills at Livesey Fold, Belgrave & Hilton which prospered with their innovations in paper and water based paints. However all concerned would have been aware of the activities of John Budd in 1835, his patent for fabric printing cylinders and his mill at Acton Bridge ... his innovative zinc cylinders were cutting the costs of printing ... perhaps William Edward Maude ventured to Liverpool to look for new opportunities?

In 1850 The Chester Chronicle was advertising sheet zinc, saw mills and bone crushing facilities at Acton Bridge. The company address No 3 Harrington Street ... William Edward Maude's Liverpool office. Had John Budd sold out to a fellow Liverpool merchant?

The 1851 census records 32 year old William Edward as a lodger in Liscard on the Wirral.

In November 1851 The Manchester Times reported the death at Lytham of William Maude (1770-1851) in his 80th year formerly of Blackburn??

In 1853 William was in partnership with Richard Lloyd at Acton Bridge. The partnership was dissolved in February 1855. By March 1855 sole proprietor W E Maude & Co were advertising their zinc products in The Belfast News Letter.

In 1858 on the 27th of October William Edward Maude of New Brighton married Ruth Swinburne of Calgarth. William's profession was described as 'Gentleman'. His father, William Maude, was also a 'Gentleman'. Witnesses were John Swinburne,  H Swinburne, Mary, Jane, Katherine and Letitia Mary Swinburne. Ruth's father Edward Swinburne was described as 'Esquire'. However the Swinburne family sported an excellent pedigree, Ruth's dad Edward was descended from Sir John Swinburne of Capheaton, 1st Baronet. An good yarn about Sir John as a young lad in France has survived ... as has the identification of 24 children!

The marriage at St Mary's Windermere, Westmorland was reported in The Gentleman's Magazine in 1858 confirming William's residence at New Brighton but also at Blawith, North Lancashire.

The 1861 census finds William described as a landed proprietor and owner of zinc rolling mills & zinc merchant employing 10 men & 2 boys, residing at the imposing 'Warwick Villa', Liscard. Still married to 30 year old Ruth but without children. The details confirm William was born in 1819 in Blackburn and Ruth was born in 1831 in Bowness. Clearly William was now combining his interests in Liverpool & Acton Bridge with his inherited role as a gentleman farmer.

Warwick VillaWarwick Villa, stands on the west corner of Wellington Road and Atherton Street and has retained its name throughout it's life, though on some deeds it appears as 'Warwick Cottage'. Sold by William Rowson to a Mr Isaac Harrop in 1844, it seems to have changed its occupants with great regularity every decade or so, with the result that a variety of Merchants, Solicitors, Stockbrokers and so on all called it home at one time or another. William Edward lived there from his marriage in 1858 to some time after the 1871 census. In 1861 the house was advertised for letting. Mr Sandie, a Soap Manufacturer, lived there at the turn of the last century, in the days when it was quite usual, particularly after a gale, to find sand drifting up to the back door.
'Warwick Villa' is one of the several houses in Wellington Road which present a single storey frontage on the landward entrance side and two storeys to the seaward side, this being due to the fall in land from Wellington Road to the shore. The dwelling is classical is style, the most attractive side that facing the sea, whilst the other elevation appears to have had the bays added at some later date and are more Gothic, this fact confirmed by repair work. There is a strong possibility that the house was designed by Harvey Lonsdale Elmes who used the same architecture for 'Redcliffe' and 'Ellerslie'.

Wallasey BoardIn 1860 William was a member of the Local Board at Wallasey.

In 1867 Mr W E Maude, merchant, from New Brighton was witness to a shipwreck which was long remembered in the local community; the 'Elizabeth Buckman' disgorged its cargo of casks of rum which were washed up on the New Brighton beach and quickly washed down the throats of the parched locals ...

The 1871 census adds nothing new to the Maude household and is notable only for the absence of children.

The 1881 census reports William aged 62 and Ruth aged 50 but now living at Maudes Mansion, Blawith, East Broughton, Lancashire.

The 1891 census William was the owner occupier of 200 acres employing 3 men and a boy, an innovative gentleman farmer of considerable wealth!Vortex Turbine

The 1901 census - Ruth & William Edward, now 82 years old, were visiting Ruth's step mother Letitia Mary Swinburne (1817-), now an 84 year old widow, at Upper Leeson Street, Dublin.


William Edward Maude, like his father, was first and foremost a businessman, he grew his business as a Liverpool merchant, into adding value to his trades with his mill at Acton Bridge, then on to agricultural added value on his inherited estate in Blawith.

Some further noted milestones -

In 1852 The Westmorland Gazette published a sale notice for produce from the estate of W E Maude. William was busy advertising the benefits of bone manures, no doubt from his Acton Bridge Mill!?

On the 17th August 1856 W E Maude of Holmescales Farm in Old Hutton, Kendal placed an order for the Williamson Brothers Vortex Turbine Number One. The turbine was a fantastic piece of Victorian engineering and was built in 1856 at Kendal. It was a vertical shaft Vortex developing 5 horsepower under a head of 30 feet at a speed of 300 rpm. It was placed at the base of a deep well and was fed by a 9-inch pipe from a nearby stream. The shaft from the turbine was used to power miscellaneous farm machinery through bevel gearing. The turbine worked for over 100 years and needed one replacement runner wheel and a few other minor repairs – a testament to the engineering skill employed during its manufacture.
As described by the museum of Lakeland Life & Industry this was the first of many Williamson Brothers turbines ordered and the beginnings of a local expertise in hydropower that still remains to this day.

 In 1857 the Transactions of the Historic Society of Lancashire & Cheshire reported on the water power trials conducted by W E Maude at Holmescales Farm.

In 1857, the vortex was being endorsed by William for mill owners far afield.

In 1858 The Book of Farm Implements & Machines confirmed that William Maude was involved in innovations in water power on his farm.

In 1856 The Lancaster Gazette reported that William was showing off the particular advantages of his zinc products - 'they especially remarked on the zinc roofing over a part of the out buildings, which is light, neat in appearance and much less expensive than slate'.

In 1862 The Kendal Farmers Club was a grand affair where William Maude and his buddy W H Wakefield exchanged their interests in modern farming and agricultural shows & competitions. William delivered an impressive lecture asking all the difficult questions about a declining agricultural economy by a upstart merchant who knew a bit about economics.

'The Lake Counties from 1830 to the mid 20th century' by J D Marshall & John K Walton describes the efforts in 1862 of innovative farmers, like William Maude & The Duke of Devonshire, to persuade farmers to invest in dairy farming where returns were high and abandon efforts to compete in arable farming with cheap grain imports from the United States.

In 1863 Homescales Farm was up for sale, William was retiring from farming for bigger projects?

The Grange HotelWilliam had an interest in several properties, he built Brown Robin mansion, Grange-over-Sands, as a private residence and had further property investments in London which were the subject of a petition reported in The Times of London in 1868. Another impressive project was the grange hotel, Grange-over-Sands, the prospectus was issued in 1863. The hotel, created great interest & anticipation when it was being built in 1865. A year later the company was advertising for more funds. And inevitably there were disputes and even a court cases over 'ornamental grounds' ... interestingly William Henry Wakefield was a co-petitioner ... The Grange Company was wound up in 1884 ... not everything William Edward Maude touched turned to gold ... however the hotel is still going strong today!

Of particular interest was the contribution made to the late industrial revolution by William Edward Maude and his father at Acton Bridge and Darwen. But a further fascinating theme was how the merchants invested their profits, not only in technology, but also in landed estates as long term security for their family. The inherited landed estates were still a status dream to emulate and a symbol of success. The industrialists & bankers seemed to believe that the idyllic rural lands of milk & honey were the key to lasting success rather than the dark satanic mills where the money was made?

William Edward's experience of investment in John Budd's rolling mill, and Tommy Astles' manure works at Acton Bridge no doubt led him to his agricultural improvement projects and the exploitation of water power technology, bone manures and zinc?

Did William's inherited estates at Blawith & Cartmel in close proximity to the Lowwood Gunpowder Co on the Levan have any connection with his purchase of the Saltpetre Works at Acton Bridge?

The Maudes and the Wakefields were friends, neighbours & business partners in Stricklandgate, Kendal & the Kendal Farmers Club ... and in a strange repetition of history, they became partners again at the Acton Bridge Saltpetre Works?

The 1862 lecture given by Maude to the Kendal farmers after he had retired to be a Gentleman farmer, confirmed a driven businessman. He was clearly passionate about agricultural improvement through selective stock breeding and productivity of the soil. Another businessman and friend, W H ‘Gunpowder’ Wakefield was secretary of the Farmers Club. It was easy to imagine how W E Maude, a Liverpool merchant, invested in Acton Bridge zinc rolling, then bone grinding and manures, supplemented by his nitrate imports and then saltpetre manufacture for the Cumbrian mills. The Acton Bridge business was adding value to his Liverpool imports. Maude went on the add value to his Kendal estates.

 W E Maude was a business man not a farmer as his lecture makes clear.


Any corrections and additional information gratefully received contact   john p birchall

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