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British Industrial History

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William Romaine Callender

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William Romaine Callender (1825–1876), cotton spinner and politician

1825 born on 2 June at 7 Nelson Street, Chorlton Row, Manchester, the elder son of William Romaine Callender (1794–1872), merchant and calico printer, and his first wife, Hannah, the daughter of Samuel Pope from Exeter, probably a solicitor.

1847 Joined the family business of Callender and Sons, merchants and manufacturers

1849 Married Hannah Mayson. They had 3 sons and 2 daughters

The firm became one of Manchester's leading cotton spinners and merchants, acquiring in 1862 the mills of Thomas Bazley in Water Street, Manchester, and the Dean Mills, Halliwell, Bolton.

1862 Callender put into practice his paternalist beliefs at Barrow Bridge Village, where he attempted to revive its mutual improvement society and regularly addressed his workers on the values of literacy and self-help.

Callender also invested, with Thomas Hughes among others, in the co-operative Cobden memorial mills in 1866, and in the late 1860s the family firm had purchased and modernized the Jackson Street Spinning Company of the philanthropist Robert Barnes.

1872 His father and brother died

1876 Died in St Leonards, Sussex. It was subsequently claimed that Callender had retained in the firm large sums due to the his father's and brother's heirs that precipitated a complicated family legal dispute which was only resolved in 1889 - as a result the mills were closed in August 1877, the workforce was dispersed, and Barrow Bridge, the erstwhile model community, was soon known as Lancashire's ‘deserted village’.




By 1825 William senior was a partner in the expanding Manchester firm of Kershaw, Leese and Callender. He left this firm in 1836 and, after several more partnerships, set up Callender and Sons, merchants and manufacturers; his sons later joining as partners.


See Also

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Sources of Information

  • Biography of William Romaine Callender, ODNB