Obituary of Joshua Henry Wilson

The Todmorden Advertiser & Hebden Bridge Newsletter [Friday 23rd December 1910]


We regret to announce the death of Mr Joshua Henry Wilson, head of the world-renowned firm of Wilson Bros., bobbin & shuttle manufacturers, of Cornholme and of Garston, Liverpool.

Mr Wilson had resided for many years, since his removal from Cornholme, at Southport and Liverpool, and his death occurred at a nursing institution in York Place, Manchester, on Tuesday, at the advanced age of 83 years.

Born at Cornholme in 1827, Mr Wilson was the second son of his, parents, Mr and Mrs Lawrence Wilson.

His father had started the business of bobbin manufacturing in the year 1825.

There was a large family, and Mr Joshua Henry was one of the three or four brothers, who came into the business (of whom only one, the Continental representative of the firm, Mr Thomas Edward Wilson, survives), and helped in its development and extension, until he saw it the foremost bobbin manufacturing concern in the world. He was married in 1850, at Bridge Street U.M.F.C., Todmorden. to Jane. the youngest daughter of Mr James Gaukroger, a cotton spinner, of Heptonstall, by whom he had two children – the elder, Arthur Henry. born in 1853 (who died at the tender age of 2 years) and Herbert William, who took up the reins of the business on his father's retirement. Mrs Wilson died on July 16th, 1909. at Southport, after a long illness, so that her husband has only survived her by seventeen months. During his lifetime he has always been very actively associated with Cornholme U.M. Church and School, and the present church and school are largely the result of the generosity of the family of Wilson. Mr Joshua Henry Wilson became a member of the church at an early age, and always identified himself actively with all work in connection with the place, being a trustee of the church, and at various times he had occupied many honourable positions in the school. He was a class leader for a very long number of years, and was superintendent of the Sunday School for probably about 20 years, until his removal from the district in 1891. His interest in the place was kept up to the very last, and he always insisted on being kept well posted up with the affairs of the place. Always a most generous giver, no yearly effort of the church or school weed without some tangible and considerable token of his attachment, and at the recent bazaar, his son, Mr Herbert Wilson forwarded a cheque for £50, which his father had promised to the funds of the bazaar. A tablet in the church to the memory of Mr and Mrs Lawrence Wilson was erected by him. A splendid oil-painting of Mr Joshua Hy. Wilson (by Alex. Stanesby)  hangs in the lecture-room of the school, with the following inscription:

Mr Joshua Hy. Wilson.

Subscribed for and presented to the Trustees by the friends connected with the Church and Sunday School as a token of their high appreciation of his character and of the faithful and devoted services rendered by him for more than 50 years in the building up and sustaining the interests of this place.

Cornholme. Sept. 10th. 1892.

When Cornholme U.M.C. was burnt down in the early part of March 1866, Mr Wilson was prominent in his endeavours to salvage what part of the furnishing of the place could be saved from the fire, and more than once, both in minor conflagrations and in the serious fires which gutted the Cornholme works, he was always foremost in the fight with the flames. In addition to his interest in the firm and in Cornholme U.M.C., he wan keenly interested in education and local affairs, and was one of the main supporters of the "British" school which used to stand just above Redwaterfoot Railway Arch. He was a valuable member of the Cornholme Local Board for many years prior to the amalgamation with Todmorden, and it will be acknowledged that Cornholme owes no little amount to his munificent generosity, and his no less earnest work in public and semi-public affairs. As an earnest temperance worker, he was at one time president of the Todmorden Band of Hope Union. Mr Wilson was a co-trustee with the late Mr Eli Higham (father of Mr John Sharp Higham MP) of the Greenwood estate, which comprised quite a large portion of the Township of Todmorden, and his trusteeship continued till about 1901, when the residue of the estate came under the hammer. One portion of it – the Stones estate – was bought in 1865 by the late Mr Thomas Fielden.


The funeral is fixed for today, at Southport Cemetery, where Mrs Wilson is buried, and a number of representatives of the staff and workpeople at Cornholme and Garston will attend, besides representatives of the Cornholme U.D.C. will be present. Wreaths from the office staff and foremen at Cornholme and from the workpeople, and from the trustees of the church are being sent as tokens of regard


© Malcolm Bull 2022
Revised 13:13 / 19th January 2022 / 7218

Page Ref: X368

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