Obituaries of Richard Haworth (1820-1883)

Manchester Guardian, 3 Dec 1883


We regret to announce the death of Mr. Richard Haworth, of the firm of Messrs. Richard Haworth & Co., cotton spinners and manufacturers in this city. About two years ago Mr. Haworth showed signs of ill-health, which was attributed by his medical attendant to disease of the heart. During the autumn the malady reached an acute stage, and he died after much suffering between nine and ten o'clock on Friday night, at his residence, Mersey Bank, Didsbury. In his last illness he was attended by Sir William Jenner, Dr. William Roberts, of Manchester, and other physicians.

Born at Bury in 1820, the deceased had attained the sixty-third year of his age. He was the youngest of eight children of a poor artisan. His father met with a fatal accident, and he was early in life thrown to a large extent upon his own resources. His mother (to whose excellent precepts and example he ascribed much of the success he afterwards achieved in life) sent him successively to a school kept by a lady and to the Bury National School. The education he received at these establishments was of the most elementary and scanty description. At the age of twelve and a half years, when he had barely mastered the rudiments of the "three R's," he was sent to learn to weave fustians at Messrs. Charles Openshaw and Company's mill at Bury. One day while engaged brushing a loom that was in motion his hand was caught in the machinery and badly injured, and this accident changed to some extent the future course of his life. When his hand had healed he secured employment as a weft lad, and he utilised his spare hours by attending a night school. In this way he supplied some of the deficiencies in his knowledge of reading, writing, and arithmetic, and he also took lessons in geometry and mensuration. It some [sic] became apparent that he had a great aptitude for figures and finance. The possession and cultivation of this talent enabled him in after life to make the most extensive calculations with exceptional facility and accuracy, and largely contributed to his success in business. From weft boy he rose to the more responsible position of cloth looker in Messrs. Openshaws' mill. In the autumn of 1838 he was engaged by Messrs. Rylands and Sons, at their Ainsworth mill, near Bolton, and after the lapse of about five years he was taken into the employment of the late Mr. Thomas Clegg, of Manchester, as bookkeeper. Meanwhile he had commenced doing an ever-increasing business on his own account, and after he had been several years in Mr. Clegg's service he thought he might advantageously devote his undivided energies to his own business. Accordingly he opened an establishment in Cannon-street, in this city, under the style of Richard Haworth and Co. Since that time the business has gone on steadily increasing. The mills of the firm, erected in various quarters of the city, are celebrated, not alone for their extent, but for the remarkable excellence of their arrangements and for the perfection of their machinery. Extraordinary provision is made in them for the physical comfort, the mental improvement, and the social recreation of the workpeople, in whom Mr. Haworth always evinced the warmest personal interest. Distinguished visitors to Manchester have, as an almost invariable rule been taken to see the mills as part of the lions of this busy, manufacturing district. In some papers he has left behind, Mr. Haworth states that throughout the whole of his career he strictly observed the following principles, viz., "Never to use his credit to such an extent as to jeapordise his position (he considered that safety was the most important thing to aim at and he made everything subservient to that); never to postpone the payment of an account when it was due, but as far as practicable to pay it before it was due; never to have an advance from an agent or broker, or to place himself under obligations to anyone that would interfere with his independence or freedom of action; always to have so much spare capital that he would never be compelled to sell his productions to meet engagements." During the American war, when the price of cotton and cloth advanced so rapidly and so much that vast numbers were tempted to use their credit to the utmost in speculating in cotton, Mr. Haworth's principles were put to a severe test. Many of those who so speculated did well at one time, but were brought to grief when the market fell. Mr. Haworth claimed for himself that he never departed from the principles of sound trade.

Apart from commercial affairs, Mr. Haworth was best known for his connection with the Wesleyan Methodist body, of which he was a zealous and influential member. He was appointed one of the representative laymen who, a few years ago, were for the first time admitted to a share in the labours of the Conference, and was one of the treasurers of the Wesleyan Chapel Committee. Besides a large amount of personal labour in collecting the contributions of friends, he gave the thanksgiving fund a donation of £1,000. But there was no department of Methodist activity which failed to obtain his support. He took an active part in the lay home mission, assisting in the conduct of its services in Angel Meadow and in other of the poorest and most neglected parts of the town. He did a great deal to promote education amongst the middle class of Wesleyans by the establishment of boarding schools at Colwyn Bay and Rhyl. While thus actively assisting the Wesleyans, Mr. Haworth also lent an occasional helping hand to other religious denominations. He was a firm believer in the connection between Church and State, and it was about the time of the disestablishment of the Irish Church that he first took up a pronounced position in regard to political affairs. In politics he was a Conservative. More than once he was asked to allow himself to be put in nomination for the Parliamentary representation of Manchester, but he declined their invitations because of the personal attention his business required, and because he believed he could serve the community better by engaging in religious and philanthropic work at home than by entering Parliament. Many of our local charities will miss his contributions and his counsel. He took great interest in the Hospital Sunday Fund, of which he acted as treasurer from its commencement. Amongst other public posts he filled was the chairmanship of the Equitable Fire Insurance Company, of which he was one of the original promoters, and of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Accident Insurance Society. He was also on the directorate of the Consolidated Bank, and for twenty years he acted as treasurer of the Sunday Closing fund. He was a justice of the peace for Manchester, and for some years a member of the Withington Local Board; he was a member of the first School Board in Manchester; and at one time a member of the Board of Management of the Royal Infirmary. The deceased gentleman was married to a daughter of the late Mr. James Sewall [sic], of Hulme. He leaves four sons and two daughters. One of his sons is a Wesleyan minister at Teddington, Surrey; the other three -- Messrs. George Chester Haworth, John Fletcher Haworth, and Fred Haworth -- are now the active partners in the firm of Richard Haworth and Co.

At St. Bartholomew's Church, Salford (in which parish Mr. Haworth's very extensive cotton mills and weaving sheds are situated), the Rector, the Rev. G.W. Petherick, in the course of his sermon last night, made a touching allusion to the loss the parish has sustained by the death of Mr. Haworth, who owned large mills in the neighbourhood, giving employment to thousands of parishioners. The deceased gentleman was ever liberal in supporting Church work in their midst. Their congregation had indeed lost a friend; and sympathy with Mr. Haworth's bereaved family is universal.

Manchester Guardian, 3 Dec 1883

On the 30th November, at his residence, Mersey Bank, Didsbury, RICHARD HAWORTH, in his 64th year. Will be interred at the Southern Cemetery on Wednesday, at twelve o'clock. Friends will kindly accept this intimation.

Manchester Times, 8 Dec 1883

THE LATE MR. RICHARD HAWORTH.--We regret to record the death of Mr. Richard Haworth, which took place at his residence, Mersey Bank, Didsbury, in his 64th year, on Friday week. For two years past Mr. Haworth has been ill-health, and it has been seen for some time that it was hopeless to expect recovery. Mr. Haworth, who was born in 1820, was the youngest son of George Chester Haworth, of Bury. He received his early education at the Bury Grammar School, but he left that institution at the age of 13 to learn weaving. Subsequently he held several situations in mills and warehouses, and in 1852 he started business in Manchester as a cotton spinner and manufacturer, and amassed a fortune. The firm was known as Richard Haworth and Co. He at first carried on the business of manufacturing at South-street, Manchester, Chapel-street, Ancoats, and Broughton Bridge, Salford. Later on he bought the Britannia Mills, in East-street, Manchester, and built the Egerton and Tatton Mills, the Ordsal and Throstle Nest sheds, and the works in Ordsal Lane, Salford. By the men he employed--about 2,500 in number--Mr. Haworth was much liked, for he treated them at all times with great consideration and kindness. Mr. Haworth was one of the most prominent members of the Wesleyan body in Manchester, and was returned as one of the first members of the Manchester School Board. In other ways he came prominently before his fellow-citizens. He took great interest in the Hospital Sunday movement and acted as treasurer. He was an active magistrate, and for some years he served his immediate neighbours as a member of the Withington Local Board. Mr. Haworth was a Conservative, but he did not take a prominent part in political life. On one occasion he was asked to come forward as the Conservative candidate for the representation of the city but he declined. He also refused to be put in nomination for membership of the Salford Town Council on the ground that his business engagements would not permit him to give the necessary time to either parliamentary or municipal work. The funeral took place on Wednesday at the Southern Cemtery.

Leeds Mercury, 24 May 1884

The will of Mr. Richard Haworth, J.P., late of Mersey Bank, Didsbury, Lancashire, cotton spinner and manufacturer, who died on November 30th last, was proved on the 10th inst. by George Chester Haworth and the Rev. James Sewell Haworth, the sons, the value of the personal estate amounting to upwards of £187,000. The testator bequeaths £500, an annuity of £1,000, and the use and enjoyment for life of such of his household stores, wines, furniture, plate, books, pictures, horses, and carriages as she may select, to his wife, Mrs. Sarah Haworth, in addition to any provision made for her by settlement; £500 to each of his children; £500 each to the Manchester and Salford Hospital Sunday Fund and the Wesleyan Missionary Society; £200 to the Wesleyan Worn-out Preachers Fund; £150 to the stewards of the circuit of which he was a member at the time of his decease; £100 to the Wesleyan Theological Seminary, Didsubry; £100 and an annuity of £200 to Miss Fanny Price, if in his employ or service at the time of his death; and legacies to relatives, Wesleyan ministers, employés of the firm of Richard Haworth and Co., domestic and outdoor servants. In addition, he directs his executors to fulfil the promises he has made towards supplying the funds for building a Wesleyan chapel, and for the sustentation of the minister. As to the residue of his real and personal estate, he leaves one-seventh each to his sons, George Chester, John Fletcher, Frederick, and James Sewell; one-seventh, upon trust, for the children of his late daughter, Mrs. Elizabeth Sewell Daniel, subject to the payment thereout of an annuity to her husband, and also, at his decease, to his present wife; and one-seventh each, upon trust, for his daughters, Mrs. Sarah Jane Hacking and Mrs. Mary Adeline Pearson. The sons are given the option successively, according to seniority, of buying his property at Mersey Bank, and to the son who so purchases he gives his watch, marble bust, portrait in oils, presentation plate and testimonials, to go as heirlooms.

content last revised 8 Jan 2011