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British Industrial History

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Thomas Patten (1690-1772)

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The name of Patten dominated the industrial and social history of Warrington from the 17th to the late 19th century.

The Patten family originated in Chelmsford, Essex about 1119

William Patten founded Magdalen College Oxford, was Bishop of Winchester, and Chancellor of England in 1456.

1536 Another branch of the Patten family arrived in Warrington

By the middle of the 17th century the family had settled in Patten Lane, off Bridge Street, as merchants dealing in a wide range of commodities including tobacco, sugar and tea.

c.1690 Thomas Patten Senior realised the importance of the river for Warrington to become a key distribution point for inland trade and was responsible for making the lower Mersey navigable from Runcorn to Bank Quay, enabling copper to be brought by boat from Ireland, Cornwall and Anglesey right to the family's quay.

1690 Birth of Thomas Patten Junior

By 1697 Patten had established a copper works at Bank Quay in Warrington, and had improved the navigation of the River Mersey specifically to enable him to import copper ore for his works. By 1795, however, the works were said to be disused.[1]

1717 Patten Senior erected a copper works at Bank Quay, Warrington[2]

1718 Thomas Junior married Margaret Blackburne[3]

1719 The Cheadle Company was formed by Thomas Patten and his associates; they took the lease on the Alton Mill which they converted to making wire and established a new joint stock company for making wire[4]

c.1720 Birth of son Thomas Patten (1720-1806)

1737 Hamlet Winstanley, painter and engraver, painted a full length portrait of Thomas Patten of Warrington[5]. Winstanley was a well known artist who lived in one of the houses which he designed and built in Stanley Street, named after his patrons, the Stanleys of Knowsley.

1750 By the mid 18th century, these local merchants had become important and landed gentry. Patten commissioned James Gibbs to build a fine country house - Bank Hall.

Patten's copper smelting works at Bank Quay was visited by Swedish industrial spy R. R. Angerstein in 1754, who found 12 'wind furnaces'. Calcined ore from Cornwall was crushed using an edge runner mill. The copper was sent to Patten's mill in Cheadle, Staffs, to produce brass.

1770 Birth of his grandson, Thomas Patten (1770-1827), in Warrington (son of Colonel Thomas Patten and his wife Dorothea (nee Bold))[6]

1772 Thomas Patten (1720-1806) (presumably this one although it might have been his father) established the Stanley Copper Works at St. Helens, on land 'adjacent to the Gerrard Coal wharf'. Apparently 30 tons per week were cast into brass and copper ingots. By 1785 the copper works was under the ownership of a new consortium headed by Thomas Williams with Michael Hughes as manager, though Alexander Chorley was responsible for day to day operation. Chorley died in 1803 and management of the copper works was taken over by William Morgan.[7]

1772 Patten died in Warrington.


Stanley Copper Works became the Stanley Smelting Co in 1785. The exact location of the copper works is not known, but it was close to the iron slitting mill and may have been situated on the track to Stanley Bank Farm. The copper ore is thought to have been the Parys Mountain in Anglesey. Copper production had ceased by 1815. Note: The iron slitting mill was established in 1773 by a partnership of Alexander Chorley, Thomas Leech, John Postlethwaite and John Rigby, slitting iron from the furnaces at Carr Mill to the north of Stanley Bank.[8]

1790 Copper ore had been mined at Ecton in the Manifold Valley from the mid-18th century. In 1790 Thomas Patten bought a tin-plate factory alongside the river at Oakamoor and developed a large copper works (Cheadle Copper and Brass Co). The Froghall to Uttoxeter canal was built in 1799-1811, linking Oakamoor to the Caldon Canal. The Cheadle Copper Co. thrived in the 19th century, specialising in copper wire. It finally closed in the 1960s.[9]



See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. CHESHIRE HISTORIC TOWNS SURVEY - Warrington - Archaeological Assessment, by Mike Shaw & Jo Clark
  2. Some founders of the chemical industry, by J Fenwick Allen, 1907[1]
  3. [2] Ancestry tree
  4. English Brass and Copper Industries to 1880, by Henry Hamilton [3]
  5. Biography of Hamlet Winstanley, ODNB
  6. Family tree on Ancestry
  7. [4] 'An Archaeological Excavation at Stanley Bank, St Helens, Merseyside'. NGR SJ 538 972 March 2009, by M. Adams
  8. [5] Stanley Mill website
  9. [6] Peak District Information - Oakamoor, Staffordshire
  • History of Bank Hall [7]