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British Industrial History

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John Paley

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of John Paley and Co of Preston.


1855 Obituary [1]

'Death of John Paley, Esq.— Our obituary of to-day records the death of John Paley, Esq., of Ribblesdale-place, Preston, an alderman and borough magistrate, and a worthy type of that enterprising class of manufacturers who have contributed so materially to the commercial prosperity of Preston. Possessing those important requisites for success in business — persevering industry, indomitable energy, and unvarying punctuality, accompanied with strict habits of providence— Mr. Paley was the architect of his own fortune, raising himself from the humble rank of an artizan to that of a wealthy employer of labour ; from the joiner's bench to the highest office in the municipality.

The deceased served an apprenticeship to a wheelwright and joiner at Pateley Bridge, Yorkshire, and coming to Preston in 1792, was taken into the employment of Mr. John Horrocks, for whom he worked as a joiner at the Spittals Moss factory.

In 1799, Mr. Paley entered into partnership with Mr. Riley (foreman in the mechanics' shop at Mr. Horrocks's Yard works), and they commenced business as machine-makers, ironfounders, and engineers; their employer furnishing them with both room and steam power. There being at that time no foundry in Preston, Mr. Paley not unfrequently walked to Wigan, carrying a model and bringing back in the same way the casting required.

From Spittals Moss the firm removed to Heatley-street, where, under the auspices of Mr. Horrocks, a factory was erected in the Guild year, 1802, and where cotton-spinning was added to engineering and machine-making. Some of the oldest steam engines in this neighbourhood were constructed by Messrs. Riley and Paley— including, we believe, the one now running at Penwortham factory, and also that at the works of Messrs. Catterall, at Catterall, near Garstang (then occupied by Messrs. Fielding).

Besides Messrs. Riley and Paley, the following were at various times connected with the firm in Heatley-street, viz., Mr. John Horrocks, sen., Mr. John Horrocks, jun., Mr. Sidgreaves, Mr. William Leighton, Mr. William Petty, Mr. John Woods, Mr. Lawrence Harrison, and Mr. John Paley, jun. Subsequently— about twenty years ago, as near as we can learn— Mr. Paley purchased Stanley-street Mill, from the executors of Mr. Bleasdale.

He was elected a capital and common councilman in the old corporation on the 17th of May, 1822; and in January, 1836, was returned as one of the representatives of St. George's ward in the place of his son, Mr. John Paley, jun., who had been elevated to the aldermanic bench. On the 28th of August, 1838, during the mayoralty of the late Thomas German. Esq., Mr. Paley was elected an alderman to fill a vacancy occasioned by the death of John Lawe, Esq. , and in November of the same year he attained the civic chair.

In 1810, he was placed upon the borough commission of the peace; and both as a magistrate as a member of the corporation, he discharged the duties devolving upon him to the latest period of his protracted life. We saw him on the bench and in the council chamber— a hale old man, in full possession of his faculties— but a few short days before his death. The last time he was out was on Wednesday, the 31st ultimo, previous to which date, however, he had suffered from slight indisposition— the precursor of his approaching dissolution.

On Tuesday last, he calmly passed into the "sleep which knows no waking," having attained the patriarchal age of 88. He has left a widow (to whom he had been married 63 years) in her 86th year. Mrs. Paley came from the neighbourhood of Haslingden.

The surviving children are Mr. John Paley, Mr. Wm. Paley, Mrs. Abraham, and Mrs. Wilson. The remains of the deceased are to be interred at St. George's Church this morning (Saturday).'


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. Blackburn Standard, Wednesday 14th February 1855