Timothy Lightbown | Thomas Grime | Alexander Thomas Eccles | Henry Green

Henry Green​
Henry Green Image ct.jpg
​Mayor of Darwen 1881- 1882

Henry was the son of Thomas Green a weaver from Darwen, and his wife, Mary. He was baptised at Darwen St James's Church on 2nd September 1813, as was his older sister, Betty in 1810. Unfortunately, his father, Thomas, died soon afterwards, and was buried at St Mary the Virgin Church in Blackburn, aged only 30 years on 21st December 1815.

The Darwen News notes that Henry was sent to the mill to earn his own living at the age of only six years, which was a common occurrence in those days. The Short Time Act had not yet been passed, so that there were no half-timers, nor was there any legislation in force regulating the hours in factories. Under these circumstances Henry cannot have had any great educational advantages, and it is believed that the only formal education he received was through his attendance at Sunday School.

In 1833 Henry married Ellen Entwistle at St Mary the Virgin, Blackburn, and, by 1841, they were living on Duckworth Street in Darwen with their four young children.  The 1851 census shows the family still on Duckworth Street, and Henry gives his occupation as Power Loom Manager.

However by 1861 they had moved to Wood Street, Darwen, now with two more young daughters and 1 servant, and Henry is a Cotton Manufacturer employing 300 people.
He had formed a partnership with Mr Doctor Graham, Mr Thomas Fish, and Mr John Kay, working at Woodside Mills for many years.

In 1886, this partnership was dissolved and a new partnership formed by Mr Green and Mr Graham at Culvert Mill, Watery Lane, Darwen.  He later went into partnership with his two sons, Thomas and James, owning a couple of mills in Blackburn.

Mr Green was for many years the chairman of Cotton Hall Spinning and Manufacturing Company, and also of Darwen Manufacturing Company at Carr's Mill.

Henry Green was a member of the Darwen Local Board for many years, and when the town was incorporated as a municipal borough in 1878, he was returned as a member of the Town Council and at the first meeting of that body he was elected an alderman.

During the early part of his career he took an active part in educational matters and was a prominent member of the Mechanic's Institute, which in those days was the principal educational institution in the town. He was a firm believer in compulsory education and was heard to state “ The forced attendance of children at school would be of great value to the rising generation, and would place within the reach of everyone facilities whereby they may, if they think proper, prepare themselves for the better fulfilling of their duties as citizens.”

He was an ardent Non-Conformist and strenuous advocate of civil and religious liberty,
being a member, and for many years a deacon of Belgrave Congregational Church, where his interest in popular education lead him to act as School Manager. When later the new schools were erected he was a liberal subscriber to the building fund, and along with others, exercised a general supervision of the works.

But it was as a temperance reformer that he was most widely known. He was one of the earliest members of the Darwen Temperance Society, which was formed in the summer of 1834, and he was one of a number of local veterans to address a public meeting held on the celebration of the Society's jubilee.

In politics he was a Liberal, and a frequent attender at Market Street Liberal Club in the town, where he also liked to indulge his favourite pastime of chess.

On 9th November 1881 he was unanimously elected Mayor of the Borough.  Following his election he drew a picture of what Darwen was like when he was younger, saying “I can remember the time when there were no flagged parapets, no water for domestic use but what had to be carried for long distances, no lamps to light the streets, no gas for household consumption, no removal of night-soil, no sweeping or watering of streets, no collection of refuse, and no control over new buildings or the laying out of streets.”

He was a diligent reader and had considerable literary taste and judgement so that when the Literary Society was started during his mayoralty, its earliest meetings were held in the mayor's parlour.  He was rarely absent from its monthly meetings and regularly took part in the debates.

During his mayoralty the new Market Hall was opened on 21st June 1882. Local mills and businesses had been encouraged to allow their workers time off for the afternoon, so the streets were filled with onlookers when the M. P. Mr Frederick Grafton arrived at noon. He was welcomed by the Mayor, members of the Town Council and borough officials, after which there a public procession through the town.  On returning to the Market Hall, Mr Grafton was presented with a golden key by Alderman Green, and asked to perform the opening ceremony. Later in the day there was a banquet at the Co-operative Hall and a ball at the Market Hall, the latter being attended by about 1200 people.

For more than twenty years Henry and his family lived at Woodbine House at the junction of Tockholes Road and Vale Street, and it was there that he passed away after a short illness on 8th March 1897 aged 83. His wife, Ellen had died before him in 1890, and they were buried together in Darwen Cemetery.

Probate was granted to his two surviving sons, Thomas and James, both Cotton Manufacturers, and, to his son-in-law Joshua Williamson, a retired Grocer (the husband of his daughter, Ann Jane).  His effects totalled £1448 1s.

The funeral service was held at Belgrave Congregational Chapel, attended by the Town Clerk on behalf of the Mayor, and invited council members.

Compiled by Joyce Calder, December 2022


The Darwen News
Index to Wills and Administrations-gov.uk


​​​Timothy Lightbown​
​​Timothy Lightbown.jpg
Portrait by unamed artist in Blackburn Museum & Art Gallery, Art UK​
​Mayor of Darwen 1884 to 1886

Timothy was born in Darwen in 1838 to John and Phoebe Lightbown (nee Holden). By 1841 he had emigrated to America with his parents and older sister, Mary Alice; the 1850, 1855, and 1860 censuses show the family living in Paris, Oneida, New York State. In 1861, Timothy married Mary Elizabeth Pritchard, a Canadian by birth, and they returned to England before 1871. The 1871 Census shows Timothy and Mary living at 39 Hindle Street, Over Darwen with their son, William Ellis (born 1862 in Pennsylvania), and sister-in-law, Agnes Pritchard. Mary Elizabeth died in 1871, aged 34 years, and, in the following year, Timothy remarried, as detailed in the Blackburn Standard Newspaper:

“9 October 1872 at United Methodist Free Church, Darwen, by Reverend R. Lyon,
Timothy Lightbown Esq., Manufacturer, of Over Darwen to Miss Alice Kay, Falcon House, Hollin Grove, Lower Darwen”

Timothy and Alice then continued to live at Falcon House for the rest of their lives. In 1862, Dove Cottage Mill was leased to Timothy and his half-brothers, Henry & Roger, and, in 1882, Brookside Mill was sold to Timothy & Roger who formed the Brookside Weaving Co. Ltd.

Timothy was elected Mayor of Darwen in 1884, and served for two years.

On 14th February, 1885, Timothy Lightbown of Falcon House, Darwen became Commissioner of the Peace for the Borough of Darwen.

On 19th March, 1892, he and others were elected to serve as Aldermen of the Borough for a period of 6 years.

On 3rd December 1906, Alderman Timothy Lightbown was made Honorary Freeman of Darwen.

A report in the Manchester Evening News notes that on 4th March 1885 the Mayor of Darwen, Mr Timothy Lightbown J. P. gave a donation of £100 to the Darwen Free Library to be spent in books.

Information from Darwen Heritage Centre​ notes that on October 14th 1886 a much admired fountain was erected at a cost of £200 in Whitehall Park, Darwen, the donor being the then Mayoress (Mrs. Alderman T. Lightbown).  

Timothy Lightbown died at Falcon House on 7th September 1910 and probate was granted to his son, William Ellis Lightbown, Salesman, Walmsley Preston Kay, Solicitor, and Moses Ellison, director of a Limited Company.  Effects totalled £39,240 15s.

There is an ornate gravestone for him and his wife in Darwen Cemetery with the inscription:
“In Loving Memory Of Alice Lightbown The Beloved Wife Of Timothy Lightbown Of Falcon House Darwen Who Died May 30th 1909 Aged 76 Years. 
Also of Timothy Lightbown For 22 Years Alderman of This Borough Who Died 7th Sept 1910 Aged 72 Years”

After his death, Falcon House (on the corner of Falcon Avenue and Blackburn Road) became Darwen Masonic Lodge, then Darwen Liberal Club, but later fell into disrepair and was demolished c. 2015

Shaw, J.G. 'History and Traditions of Darwen and Its People'
findmypast. co.uk
Index to Wills and Administrations – gov.uk

Compiled by Joyce Calder
February 2022

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Thomas ​Grime​

Thomas Grime CT.jpg

Mayor of Darwen 1886 to 1887

Thomas Grime was born 28th January 1826, the son of John Grime, a weaver of Darwen and his wife Mary (nee Harwood), and was baptised at the Ebenezer Chapel in Darwen on 16th July 1826.  He was one of 8 children and the family lived at Green Street Darwen, before moving to Wellington Street, where the 1851 census shows Thomas as a Railway Clerk.

He went to work in the mill at 12 years of age, and eight years later became head  cloth-looker at Newfield Mills, Lower Darwen.  In 1848 he was appointed station master at Sough, and in 1853 he became cashier at the Hollins paper mill of Messrs. C & J G Potter.

On 14th August 1851 he married Mary Webster (daughter of George Webster of Over Darwen) at Blackburn St. Mary the Virgin church as witnessed by John Carlisle and John Sanderson.

By 1861 Thomas and Mary were living at Top o'th Croft Lower Darwen, and he was clerk to a Paper Manufacturer.  

In 1865 he and Doctor Aspinall commenced business as paper manufacturers at Knott Mill Paper Works, which was situated on the land between the present Darwen Library and Darwen Railway Station.

In 1871 he was living at Shorey Bank, Over Darwen.

He and Mary did not have any children, but adopted Albert Carlisle, who was the youngest son of Mary's sister, Jane and her husband, John Carlisle of Clitheroe.

The 1881 and 1891 censuses show Thomas, Mary, Albert and servants living at Heatherby House off Bolton Road in Darwen.  

Their adopted son Albert Carlisle Grime married Evelyn Otway Dray in Brixton, London in 1893 but he then died in Darwen on 15th February 1898 aged 34 years, having suffered a fall at his mother's house on Bolton Road.

In January 1867, Thomas was elected to the Local Board of Health with three other local businessmen, and in the following year was appointed chairman of the finance committee, a position he retained until he was appointed Chairman of the Board in 1872.

In February 1869 he was initiated into the Darwen Harmony and Industry Masonic Lodge where he remained a member until his death.

The Preston Herald newspaper reported details of the laying of the Foundation Stone of the Jollie Memorial Church in Barrow on 15th April 1876:-

“The foundation stone of the Jollie Memorial Church, Barrow which is to be erected as a memorial of the Reverend Thomas Jollie, one of the founders of the Lancashire Independency, and first Pastor of the first Congregational Church in North East Lancashire was laid by Mr. Thomas Grime of Darwen.

Mr. H. Harrison, in an appropriate speech, presented a silver trowel, which bore a suitable inscription, and a mallet made of curled oak, to Mr. Grime for the purpose of laying the stone.  He then in a workmanlike manner adjusted the stone, and declared it well and truly laid.”

December 1886 saw the opening of a new Temperance Club in Duckworth Street Darwen, as mentioned in the Preston Herald:-

“The new premises of the No.1 Working Men's Temperance Club, the erection of which will involve an outlay of upwards of £1000, were formally opened by Mr. Graham Fish.
Among those who took part in the proceedings were the Mayor (Councillor Grime) and Councillor Timothy Lightbown J. P. (ex Mayor).
After the ceremony a tea meeting took place at which upwards of 400 sat down.  The club can now boast of a membership of over 230.  A bazaar will be held early next year to clear off the debt.”

The same newspaper had given details of a meeting of shareholders of Knott Mill (Darwen) Paper Company Ltd in November 1877 at which a balance sheet was submitted, showing a considerable loss, which was attributed to the continued depression of trade. It was stated that the market price of paper had declined during the last two years by about 25%, while the price of paper-making materials had very largely increased, so that it was now almost impossible to carry on the trade to a profit. After considerable discussion a resolution was supported by several gentlemen present expressing their entire confidence in the chairman, Mr. Thomas Grime, asking him to accept the position of Managing Director.

However, presumably the paper trade remained difficult and Mr. Grime's bankruptcy hearing took place on 15th May 1889:-

“At the Count Court Blackburn Mr L. Broadbent made application to his Honour Judge Coventry for the discharge in bankruptcy of Mr. Thomas Grime, trading as Thomas Grime & Co. of Knott Mill Paper Works. Mr. T. Edelston, the official receiver, stated that the liabilties were £6,174, whilst the assets had already realised £1,140.”

His death was reported in the Darwen News:-

“We regret to announce the death of Mr Thomas Grime of Bolton Road, which took place between 8 and 9 o'clock in the morning of Wednesday, 22nd May. He had been in a critical condition for a time, and his death was due to congestion of the liver.”

and his funeral in the Preston Herald:-

“The remains of the late Mr. Thomas Grime, an ex-Mayor of the borough were interred at the cemetery. The service was conducted at the residence of the deceased gentleman by Reverend Henry Irving.  A large number of prominent gentlemen in the town, principally members of the Harmony & Industry Masonic Lodge formed in procession.  The coffin was of polished oak, had brass fittings and was completely covered with a very large number of beautiful wreaths, one of which was formed from forget-me-nots in the shape of a masonic emblem.”

He was buried in Darwen Cemetery, and in 1904 his wife was also interred there.

Compiled by Joyce Calder, September 2022


Online Resources:

  • ancestry.co.uk
  • familysearch.co.uk
  • findmypast. co.uk
  • lan-opc.org.uk
  • Darwen News
  • Preston Herald
With thanks to Darwen Heritage Centre​

Mayor of Darwen 1887 to 1889 and 1908 to 1909
Alexander Thomas Eccles was born in 1851, the son of Joseph and Betty Eccles of Darwen.  Joseph was a member of a firm of Cotton Spinners and Manufacturers which ran Ellenshaw and New Bridge Mills, and he later commenced business on his own account, building Bottomcroft Mill on Blackburn Road, before acquiring other mills in Preston.

The 1851 census shows Joseph and Betty living on Union Street, Darwen with their children Joseph (born 1846), and  Alexander Thomas. By 1861 they lived at 33 Railway Road, Darwen with their two sons and their daughter, Betsy (born 1855).

Alexander received his preliminary education at a private school in Darwen before attending Blackburn Grammar School.  He remained at the Grammar School until he was fifteen years old and then proceeded to Cranfield College at Maidenhead for a further two years. His education completed, he entered his father's mills to gain an insight into the cotton business, but was encouraged by his father to travel and visited many parts of the British Isles, also Canada, the United States of America and several European countries.

The 1871 census shows Alexander living at High Lawn, Blackburn Road, Darwen with his parents and siblings, but by 1881 he and his widowed father were at the same address with two servants.

In 1876 Alexander was the secretary of the newly founded Congregationalist Church
at Hollins Grove, being one of those who established a Sunday School there.  For thirty years after the church was established he was the choirmaster.

In 1883 Mr Eccles became a member of the Borough Council, as one of the representatives for North West Ward, succeeding his uncle, Mr Thomas Eccles J. P.,
in that position.  His first appointment was as vice-chairman of the Finance Committee and not long afterwards he succeeded Councillor Grime as chairman.  In September 1889 he was made a Justice of the Peace for the borough, and in the following year was made an Alderman.

In 1887 Mr Eccles was invited to the position of Mayor.  He accepted the offer and served the office for two years.  During the first year of his mayoralty his eldest son Joseph was born and he and Mrs Eccles were the recipients of a silver cradle, suscribed for by the members of the council.

In 1895 he was invited by the Liberal group in Chorley to stand as the Liberal candidate in the forthcoming contest to become Member of Parliament for Chorley, but he declined the invitation, leaving the only other candidate, the Conservative member Lord Balcarres to receive the nomination.

In 1905 he was the first Borough Magistrate to be added to the Commission of the Peace for Lancashire, and was later invited to become Mayor again for the 1908 – 1909 period.
He remained a member of the council until 1920, during which time he was associated with every committee, serving as chairman on most of them, and at the time of his retirement was its oldest member.

He had married Helena Mills who was the daughter of Abraham Mills, a cotton manufacturer of Middleton, Lancashire at the West End Church in Southport on 24th November 1886.

Alexander and Helena had 5 children – Joseph Louis (born1888), Muriel (1889),
Ethel Mary (1890), Hubert Ballantyne (1891) and Bessie (1895).  

The family regularly visited Grange-over-Sands in Cumbria, and the 1891 census shows the three eldest children and their parents at Oneglia Lodging House, The Esplanade.

By 1901 their two sons Joseph and Hubert were boarders at Bilton Grange, Dunchurch near Rugby, which was a school originally set up by Reverend Walter Earle in 1887. Their three sisters were at that time living in Grange-over-Sands with 2 governesses and other servants, but their parents do not appear in the census.

In 1911 Alexander, Helena and their 4 eldest children were resident at “The Grange” in Hawkshaw Avenue with five servants. Their youngest child Bessie had died in 1904.

Having been one of the founders of Hollins Grove Congregational Church in 1876,
Mr Eccles was closely involved in the planning and fundraising for a new chapel which was to be built nearby, which meant that the original building could be used as a Day and Sunday School providing accommodation for 518 scholars.  The estimated cost for the new chapel and organ, plus alterations to the old building was £8,000 to £9,000.

A  special subscription tea party was held in February 1905 and promises to the Chapel Building Fund were shown to be already over £1,300.  Fundraising continued throughout the following year by way of a Carnival, Garden Party, Sale of Work etc so that the total reached over £3,000.  It was noted that Mr Eccles made a contribution of £1,000 and in addition promised to subscribe £2 for every £1 contributed, up to a total of £500.

February 1907 saw the laying of the foundation stone by Mrs Alexander Eccles, and in December of the same year the new Chapel was opened by Miss Eccles, by which time the funds raised had increased to £6,115.

Alexander and his wife spent their summers in Anglesey, and in 1914 The London Gazette reports that  “Alexander Thomas Eccles Esq. of Uwchydon, Treaddur Bay, Holyhead and The Grange, Darwen Lancashire is to be nominated for Sheriff of Anglesey for 1915.”

In 1920 he was one of three Aldermen who had the Freedom of the Borough of Darwen conferred upon them in recognition of their services, the others being Alderman Carus of Hoddlesden Hall and Alderman Cocker of Inglewood.

In 1925 he moved to Grange-over-Sands, Cumbria and shortly afterwards the congregation of Hollins Grove Chapel held a large assembly in the school at which a specially commissioned oil portrait of Mr Eccles was presented to him in recognition of his many years' service to the Chapel.

He continued to visit Darwen to meet his friends and acquaintances until his death in Grange in May 1934.  His wife Helena had died there only a few months earlier.

Probate was granted on 10 July 1934 to his sons Joseph Louis Eccles, nurseryman, and Hubert Ballantyne Eccles, poultry farmer, and to his son in law Robert Brian Bickerdike, chemical manufacturer.  His effects amounted to £86,755 17s.

Compiled by Joyce Calder, November 2022

The Darwen News
Hollins Grove Congregational Church, Souvenir of Opening – Darwen Library
Hollins Grove Congregational Church, Diamond Jubilee brochure – Darwen Library
Darwen Heritage Centre​
Index to Wills and Administrations – gov.uk