Sir Francis (Frank) Crossley, born 26th October 1817, was a well-known carpet manufacturer and philanthropist who, together with his father, John Crossley, and his brothers, founded the firm of John Crossley & Sons.
Encouraged by George Collier, Francis developed the power-loom and the company pioneered the use of such machinery for carpet-making, thus replacing the earlier handlooms and subsequently making the company the largest carpet factory in the world. The shift from handlooms increased the firm's capacity 12-fold, and also reduced costs.
He was Liberal MP for Halifax. He was MP for the West Riding [1859-1865], and for the northern division of the West Riding [1869-1872].
He was a magistrate for the West Riding and East Suffolk .
His legacies to Halifax include
In 1845, he married Martha Eliza Brinton at Kidderminster.
A Carrara marble statue of the seated Crossley by Joseph Durham was unveiled on 14th August 1860 and stands in the pavilion at People's Park.
He lived at Belle Vue until 1861 when he moved to the Somerleyton estate in Suffolk. When he was MP, he lived at 60 Eaton Square, London SW .
On 9th January 1863,
Queen Victoria directed letters patent to be passed under the Great Seal, granting the dignity of baronet of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland unto Mr Francis Crossley, MP for the West Riding, hose gift to the people of Halifax of a costly park, and whose other acts of noble munificence, made these additions to the rank of Baronetage a giving of honour to whom honour was really due
and he was created Lord Somerleyton.
His health had
been in a precarious state for a few years
before his death, suffering from heart disease and dropsy.
He died at Belle Vue [5th January 1872] (aged 54).
He was buried at Lister Lane Cemetery [Plot 147].
Rev Dr Enoch Mellor published his funeral sermon.
Probate records show that he left effects valued at under £800,000. His will was proved at Wakefield by John Crossley and Edward Crossley [27th May 1872]. His executors were Louis John Crossley, Henry Crossley and Benjamin Musgrave. There was a provision in his will:
And whereas amongst my books will be found a volume, which I very much prize, containing an address presented to me on the occasion of the opening of the People's Park, at Halifax, and having the signatures of upwards of eight thousand of the townsmen and townswomen of Halifax aforesaid, appended thereto. Now I hereby expressly commend the same volume to the special care and conservancy of my dear wife and son, Savile Brinton Crossley, and of such others of my descendants as may from time to time be entitled to the possession thereof, being assured that they will take such means as will best secure the delivery down of that volume as an heirloom in my family to the latest possible generation, so that the same may belong to the male head of my personal branch of the family of Crossley for the time being
Notices of his wife's funeral [25th August 1891] at Somerleyton Churchyard, suggested that it was
contemplated removing [Sir Francis's] remains from Halifax, where they now repose, to Somerleyton
See Sir Francis Crossley's Loan Fund, Halifax & Ovenden Junction Railway Company, Halifax Courier, Halifax, Huddersfield & Keighley Railway and Range Bank Day School, Halifax
Page Ref: QQ_148
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