​​​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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