Ossett - the history of a Yorkshire town

Ossett Wilsons to Leeds

After the death of their father John Wilson in 1851, the five older Wilson brothers, Thomas, John, James and Joshua Wilson carried on with the family business of cloth making, most likely with separate operations each based at Northfield Mill. Later on in the 1860s, James and Joshua Wilson formed a business partnership as J & J Wilson, which was based at Northfield Mill.

This study concentrates on the history of Joshua Wilson who was to become the most successful of John Wilson's children following a difficult start in Ossett, which included bankruptcy, the loss of his house and an enforced move to Leeds to find work.

Joshua Wilson and Sons Letterhead

Joshua Wilson
Joshua Wilson was born on the 30th November 1824, one of the 12 children of John Wilson and Ann Ellis. Joshua was an ambitious man and by 1861 he was employing 16 men at Northfield Mill. He was married on the 3rd September 1843 in Dewsbury at the age of 18 to 20 year-old Jane Giggal, the daughter of Ossett clothier Jonathan Giggal and his wife Mary, nee Wilby.

The Giggal family can be traced back to the time of the English civil war and the Ossett Giggals are descendants of William Giggal from nearby Batley. The grandson of William, John Giggal eventually moved to Ossett and was married by his 30th year. It was at Ossett that he was known as a clothier, later a 'yeoman' and, perhaps more importantly, by 1730, if not long before, a staunch dissenter taking his part in the life of the 'Independent' community

Joshua and Jane Wilson did not waste any time in starting their family and their first child Mary Ann was born only three months after they married. They had thirteen children in all, but were unlucky enough to lose their first two in childhood. The full list is as follows:

Mary Ann, born 24-12-1843, died 10-1-1849
Francis, born 21-12-1845, died 1846
Henry, born 24-6-1847
Joshua, born 27-4-1849, died 9-6-1898
Samuel, born 14-1-1851, died 12-12-1918
John William, born 12-6-1852, died Jan 1916
Jane, born 24-12-1853 died 26-11-1908
Denison, born 3-4-1855 died 11-8-1919
Andrew, born 17-8-1856, died 26-11-1896
Mary Ellen, born 11-3-1858, died 15-11-1905
Ada, born 27-1-1860 died 21-6-1911
Beckett Ellis, born 27-9-1864, died 5-7-1900
Gladstone, born 11-3-1866, died 23-3-1946

In the 1851 Ossett census, 26 year-old Joshua Wilson was listed as a cloth weaver, already employing five men. The 1860s and 1870s were good times in woollen manufacture in Britain for those able to adapt due to a growing European demand. For example, around 1870, as a result of the Franco-Prussian War, there was a demand for uniforms, and Ossett as a whole prospered. But there were many pit-falls for the unwary. As an example of these vicissitudes, Joshua Wilson, after a fast start (in 1861 he was employing 16 men) was declared bankrupt in 1869.

Bankruptcy and the move to Leeds
By 1861, the cloth making operated by James and Joshua Wilson at Northfield Mill, Ossett as J and J Wilson was dissolved and the two brothers each operated their own separate businesses at Northfield Mill. The bankruptcy proceedings at Leeds Court, which follow below, give more details of the quite complex business relationship. I get the impression reading between the lines that the two Wilson brothers were trying to limit the damage. In the event James Wilson bought out Joshua's interest at Northfield Mill after the bankruptcy.

After the trial Joshua Wilson moved with his family to live in Leeds where he worked first as a manager of a woollen mill, probably at Armley Mills. In 1874, he started as one of many tenant manufacturers at Bean Ing Mill near the river, built by Benjamin Gott in 1792, which is now the site of the Yorkshire Post building. As the business became more successful, Joshua Wilson and Sons took over the entire Bean Ing Mill building, but Wilson never owned the mill outright and the Gott family retained ownership. The picture below is Bean Ing Mills at its peak during Victorian times.

Bean Ing Mills in Victorian times

Joshua Wilson was an honourable man and after his business became successful, he paid off his creditors in full as can be seen from the press transcript below:

Honourable conduct of Leeds manufacturer - From the 'Ossett Observer' 17th Jan 1885

"We have much pleasure in stating that Messrs Joshua Wilson and Sons, worsted coating manufacturers of Bean Ing Mills, Wellington Street and 2 York Place, Leeds have this week forwarded cheques to the creditors for the balance of 20 shillings in the pound amounting to about 6,000 on the old debts of Mr Joshua Wilson, late of Ossett, now senior partner of the firm. Mr Wilson was in consequence of adverse circumstances in trade, obliged in 1869 to petition the Bankruptcy Court; he then received a full discharge from all his debts and liabilities. After his failure, Mr Wilson took a situation as a manager for a well-known firm of manufacturers in Leeds; he left them about ten years ago and commenced business in partnership with his sons, they agreeing at the time that as soon as the firm were in a position to pay his old creditors 20 shillings in the pound they would do so. The cheques have been forwarded to the creditors through Messrs Wilson's accountants, Messrs John Routh and Co., Leeds."

Joshua Wilson 1881 Census
Cloth manufacturer living at Balks House, Lower Wortley Road, Wortley in Bramley, Leeds.

At this time Joshua and his wife Jane (nee Giggal) had their sons Sam (aged 30) - cloth manufacturer, Andrew (aged 24) wool comber and Beckett E. (aged 16) scholar plus his two daughters Mary E. (aged 23) and Ada (aged 21) both without occupation living at home. They had two servants: Louisa Benfield (aged 23) from Cardiff and Jane Barber (aged 22) from Sandwick Ferry, Lincoln working at Balks House.

Joshua's wife Jane died on the 13th April 1883 from liver failure at Balks House in Wortley. Shortly afterwards, Joshua and his family moved to live at Belfort House in Harrogate. Several of Joshua's children also moved to prestigious addresses in Harrogate around the end of the 1880s.

On the 5th May 1887, Joshua Wilson now 62, married for the second time to 51year-old spinster, Elizabeth Thompson, a solicitor's daughter from York. The marriage took place at the New Street Chapel in York. Sadly, Elizabeth died on the 5th January 1893 from muscular atrophy and Joshua was alone again.

Joshua Wilson anecdote:
The following is a small snip from reminiscences of a postman who wrote articles in the Harrogate Herald under the name of "Uncle John" in the 1930s - his pieces were recalling memories of 50 years previous.

This snip is from the Harrogate Herald, 5th May 1936 and is describing a walk along the Leeds Road, and he indicates that he is in the St Georges Road area of Leeds Road, where Belfort House is situated.

"I have wandered a little way from Leeds Road and now hasten back to it. The right hand side is the same now as then from the first house up to Great George Street (now St George's Road). Several notable people resided in this stretch of Leeds Road. One was Joshua Wilson, a very wealthy, plain spoken, typical Yorkshireman. He was a merchant somewhere in the Leeds or Bradford area, and even in his retirement, spoke the Yorkshire dialect as he did when a boy working in the mill.

One incident concerning Joshua Wilson is worth repeating. General William Booth, of the Salvation Army, was addressing a large public meeting in Harrogate, explaining his scheme, known as "Darkest England, and the way out". The General dealt with it in his very forcible and emphatic way and at the end, asked for questions. Several were asked and answered, and the General asked for promises of financial help for the scheme. This request was, however, not received with enthusiasm, and only a few small offers were forthcoming. This did not suit Joshua Wilson. He arose, and in his broad dialect, said something like this: 'Na' look here General. I doant brag mich about mysel same as tha does, bur it seems to me that tha is a chap what maks brass goa a lang way. Tha has mi sympathy for helpin' poor folk, and mi pockeyt says it can spare a copper or two so here's my cheque for a hundred pund, and maybe I can spring a bit more when tha gets things goin'.

This, of course, broke down the coolness of the meeting, and General Booth was quite satisfied with the response of the Harrogate people to his appeal."

During his time in Harrogate after leaving the running of the family business to his sons, Joshua occupied himself with property speculation and he bought and sold lots of properties in the more desirable parts of Harrogate. He kept a detailed diary and some of the transcripts reveal a very sharp business brain with great insight into purchasing property in what he realised were the up and coming parts of Harrogate.

Joshua Wilson had been in failing health for some time and he died on the 1st September 1897. The cause of death was stated as "stricture of the intestine 4 years. Peritonitis 14 days". He was buried in Wortley Cemetery, Leeds in the family grave.

Below: Entrance to Bean Ing Mills in 1948

Front of Bean Ing Mills in 1948

Henry Wilson
Henry Wilson was the eldest living child of Joshua was born on the 24th June 1847 in Ossett. The two youngest siblings had died in childhood. Henry married Jane Armitage, daughter of Batley Mungo Manufacturer, Joseph Armitage on the 25th February 1869 in the Wesleyan Centenary Chapel in Dewsbury. Henry did not move to Leeds with the rest of the family and was not involved directly in the family business. By the 1881 census, he was a successful Mungo Merchant and Cotton Dealer living in Albert Terrace, Dewsbury. He later moved to live in Harrogate when he was probably retired from business. By 1893, the couple were living at "Ingleville" in Harrogate and by the 1901 census; Henry is shown as living on own means. As far as is known, Henry and Jane Wilson did not have children. To date, the death of Henry and Jane Wilson has not been found.

Joshua Wilson junior
Joshua Wilson junior was born on the 27th April 1849 in Ossett. Like most of his siblings, he moved to Leeds with his father in about 1870. Joshua was married to Bridget Harrop, the daughter of Horbury mill-owner George Harrop of Rock House on the 8th December 1877 at St. Peter's Church in Horbury. The Harrop family were woollen cloth manufacturers and ran the extensive Albion Mill operation at Horbury Bridge.

Joshua and Bridget had a large family of seven children as follows:

Cecilia Wilson probably died at birth
(Joshua) Harrop Wilson born 1880 Headingley, Leeds, died 1954
Stanley Ewart Ashley Wilson born 1881 in Leeds, died 1940
Clifford Wilson born 1883 Leeds, died in 1926
Arnold Percy Wilson born 1885 Leeds
Alan Wilson born 1889 Leeds, died in 1965

Joshua Harrop WilsonStanley Ewart Ashley WilsonLeft: Joshua Harrop Wilson and to his right, younger brother Stanley Ewart Ashley Wilson, who were both directors of the family business in Leeds. Joshua Harrop Wilson was normally referred to as J. Harrop Wilson and was a Major in the British Army during WW1. He married Dorothy Mann (born 1889), the daughter of a wealthy Warwickshire wine merchant in 1920 and they had two children, Derek Harrop Wilson who died aged 13 in 1934 and Michael Harrop Wilson, who died in Harrogate unmarried at the age of 72 in 2000. J. Harrop Wilson died in 1954 aged 74 whilst in Torquay.

Stanley E. A. Wilson never married and after his father's death, he continued living at Oakley House in Gledhow, Leeds and took an active part in the running of the family business. He died in 1940 aged 59.

Clifford Wilson established a worsted cloth making business at Moorside Mills, Eccleshill, Bradford in 1908. He later worked in partnership with his brother Arnold as "C and A Wilson". Clifford married Lucy England in 1909 and they had two sons. Sadly, Clifford contracted TB and died at a sanatorium in Switzerland in 1926 at the early age of 42 years. His obituary on the 7th April 1926 in the "Yorkshire Post" had this:

"Mr. Clifford Wilson, a member of the firm of Messrs C and A Wilson, worsted spinners, of Moorside Mills, Eccleshill, Bradford, who resided at Overdale, Pool, died on Sunday at Davos-Platz Switzerland, where he had been staying for several months for health reasons. For some years Mr. Wilson was prominently associated with the Undercliffe Cricket Club, and for a time was captain of the team. He was 43 years of age and leaves a widow and two sons." His Will was granted Probate in London on the 25 October, 1926, to Lucy Wilson and Stanley Ewart Ashley Wilson, manufacturer. Effects £32,254.1.5.

Arnold Percy Wilson was educated at Malvern School in Worcestershire and left mid-summer 1903 to attend Clare College, Cambridge. Like two of his brothers, he joined the British Army in WW1, reaching the rank of Major. He married Australian Claudine Willinks (born 1902) at the Savoy Hotel, London in 1926 and they had two children. Arnold was in partnership with his brother Clifford as worsted cloth manufacturers after then end of WW1 trading as C and A Wilson, Moorside Mills, Eccleshill, Bradford.

Alan Wilson was the youngest son of Joshua Wilson junior and like his elder brother J. Harrop Wilson, he joined the British Army during WW1 as a Lieutenant and later earning promotion to Captain. Alan Wilson joined the regular army straight from Rugby School in 1911 and was in France shortly after war was declared. He went through the Battle of the Marne in September and the first Ysen battle. Alan Wilson was invalided home in 1914 and spent several months with a reserve regiment before returning to the Front in April 1915 where he remained. After the war, he worked for the family business of Joshua Wilson & Sons in Leeds until retirement. Alan Wilson died on November 6th 1965 in a Harrogate Nursing Home, but had lived previously at Flat 2, 31 Leeds Road, Harrogate. His wife Jennie (Jane Robinson) and two children survived him.

By the 1881 census, Joshua and Bridget were living in Cardigan Road, Headingley, not too far from the family business at Bean Ing Mills in Leeds. Joshua's occupation is given as textile manufacturer, but they later moved to the much larger Oakley House in Gledhow, Leeds. Joshua Wilson died in Scarborough on the 9th June 1898 whilst recovering from influenza. The cause of death on his death certificate is given as gout, pleurisy and heart failure. His obituary was published in the Yorkshire Post.

Yorkshire Post - June 10th 1898
"The death took place yesterday, at 39, The Esplanade, Scarborough of Mr. Joshua Wilson of Oakley House, Gledhow, Leeds, second son of the late Mr. Joshua Wilson, J.P. of Belfort House, Harrogate, and senior partner in the firm of Messrs. Joshua Wilson and Sons (Limited), worsted coating manufacturers, of Bean Ing Mills, Wellington Street, Leeds. Mr. Wilson had a serious attack of influenza about six weeks ago and the malady left him in a very weak state, though he was so far recovered that he was able to take driving exercise.  Shortly before Whitsuntide he decided to take a holiday at Scarborough, in order to recuperate.  His stay at that watering place did not, however, prove so advantageous as his medical advisers had hoped, and he was confined to his room practically from his arrival there till his death, which took place yesterday morning. He suffered from pleurisy and internal gout. Mr. Wilson was in the fiftieth year of his age and was well known in commercial circles in Yorkshire. He was a Liberal in politics and was a regular worshipper at Chapeltown Wesleyan Chapel. He did not, however, take any part in political or public matters. He married Miss Harrop, daughter of the late Mr. George Harrop, of Rock House, Horbury, who with a family of five children survive him."

The remains of Mr. Joshua Wilson, of Oakley House, Gledhow, Leeds, who died on Thursday last were interred at Lawnswood Cemetery, Leeds at noon yesterday. There was a large attendance of friends and sympathisers. Following the coffin were Mr. Harrop Wilson, Mr. Stanley Wilson, Masters Allan, Clifford and Arnold Wilson (sons of the deceased), Mr. and Mrs. Henry Wilson, Mr. and Mrs. Sam Wilson, Mr. and Mrs. John William Wilson, Mr. and Mrs. Denison Wilson, Mr. Beckett Wilson and Miss Wilson, Mr. and Mrs. Gladstone Wilson, Mrs. and Master Andrew Wilson, Mr. and Mrs. B. Kitson, Mr. and Mrs. H. Gaunt, Mr. William Harrop of Huddersfield; Mr. Joshua Harrop, Horbury; Mr. Herbert Harrop and Mr. George Harrop, Ossett; Mr. and Mrs. Philip Harrop, Manningham; Mr. and Mrs. Groom, Oxford; Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Wilson, Ossett; Mr. and Mrs. Fish, Snaith; and Mrs. and Misses Harrop, Ossett. Others who attended at the graveside were Alderman and Mrs. Alf Cooke, Mr. Edwin Woodhouse, Mr. J.C. Buckley, Mr. Norman Ingham, Mr. Jonathan Peate, Mr. Frederick Wardle, Mr. William Brown (Bramley), Mr. F.C. Kitchen, Charles Ingham (Wortley), Mr. John Thompson (Calverley), Mr. A.T. Waite, Mr. J.W. Crawford, Mr. J.A. Edmondson, Mr. Ernest Nussey, Mr. T.S. Simpson (solicitor to the family), Mr Alfred Behagg (London representative of Messrs. Joshua Wilson and Sons, Limited), Mr. A.F. Russell (Glasgow representative of the firm) , Mr. G. Walker Pemberton and Mr. J.W. Heaps. Mr. Obadiah Nussey, who was unable to attend, sent his carriage.

The burial service was conducted by the Rev. Hilton Pollitt, Wesleyan minister, of York. The coffin, which was of polished oak, bore the inscription - "Joshua Wilson, born April 27th 1849. Died June 9th 1898." Many wreaths and other floral devices were forwarded. A wreath from the widow and children was the only one placed on the coffin, which was deposited in a vault tastefully decorated by the gardener at Oakley House. Other floral offerings were received from the employees of the firm at the mill and the warehouse, the outdoor servants, the house servants, the Royal Exchange Club and the Wellington Foundry, as well as from relatives and other private persons. The funeral arrangements were in the hands of Messrs John Wales Smith & Sons (Limited).

C & A Wilson - Moorside Mills, Eccleshill, Bradford
Two of Joshua Wilson's sons, Clifford Wilson and Arnold Wilson established a worsted cloth making business at Moorside Mills, Eccleshill, Bradford in 1908 after buying the premises from Messrs Hollings & Butterfield who had owned the mill for eight years previously. Moorside Mills was built around 1875 as a small worsted spinning mill by John Moore. After a fire in 1909, which destroyed the roof of the mill and a newly installed steam engine, the Wilson brothers installed a mill engine built by Cole, Marchent and Morley of Bradford, with a rope race on the northern end of the mill, behind which was the chimney and boiler house. They extended the existing mill in 1916, and in 1918 a new four-bay garage was built, together with a new entrance road, weighbridge and weigh house. In 1919 two extra floors were added to the new mill, an extra storey added onto the old mill and the clock tower was erected as a memorial to the employees killed during the First World War.

C & A Wilson, Moorside Mills

Above: Postcard from the 1920s. C & A Wilson, Botany Spinners, Moorside Mills, Eccleshill, Bradford.

In 1970, Bradford Council bought Moorside Mills from Messrs. W & J Whitehead to preserve the area's rapidly vanishing industrial heritage and Bradford Industrial Museum was opened to the public on December 14th 1974. W & J Whitehead's main mill was at New Lane, Laisterdyke, Bradford, which continued production after Moorside Mills closed in 1970. The museum houses permanent displays of textile machinery, steam powered engines, Jowett motor vehicles and a saddle back steam locomotive. Immediately adjacent to the museum, Moorside House, the mill owner's house has been decorated in the style of Victorian England in the 1870s. Gaythorne Row, a terrace of mill workers' cottages is opposite Moorside House and here you can get a flavour of how the mill workers lived in the 1870s, 1940s and 1950s. Moorside Mills is also home to the museum's team of working horses and period horse-drawn vehicles which are all housed in the stables, which was formerly a motor garage built in 1918 by the Wilsons.

Bradford Industrial Museum

Above: Moorside Mills, Eccleshill, Bradford, which was previously C & A Wilson, Worsted Cloth Manufacturers between the years of 1908-1929 and now the Bradford Industrial Museum.

The museum is open from Tuesday to Saturday 10am until 5pm; Sunday and Bank Holiday Mondays 12 noon until 5pm. Phone: 01274 435900 or Fax 01274 636362. The Museum is situated about 3 miles from Bradford City centre on Moorside Road, just off the A658 Harrogate Road and is signposted from the Bradford Ring Road. Entry to the museum is free and there is no charge for car parking. There is full access for the disabled and wheelchairs can be provided.

Clifford Wilson and his brother, Major Arnold Wilson ran the firm of C & A Wilson, Worsted Spinners at Moorside Mills for approximately 21 years from 1908. They were regarded as benevolent employers and, for example, provided charabanc trips every Saturday in summer for their workers according to a timetable so that everyone got a day out. The workers were also provided a sort of uniform; the men brown and red overalls with "C & A Wilson, Moorside Mills, Eccleshill" embroidered on them whilst the women workers had their own personalized company clothing.

Sadly, Clifford Wilson died at the early age of 42 from TB in 1926 whilst staying at a sanatorium in Switzerland where he had been trying to recuperate for five months. This was a serious blow to the business since Clifford and his wife Lucy were the mainstays. Clifford's brother Arnold Wilson went to live at Moorside House in 1927 to be close to the business, but ultimately he was not successful and C & A Wilson went bankrupt in 1929. The mill was bought by W & J Whitehead in 1931 until they too went out of business in the 1960s.

Samuel Wilson
Samuel Wilson (1851-1918)Sam Wilson was born on the 14th January 1851 in Ossett and like his brothers, he moved to Leeds to help with the running of the family cloth-making business. Sam was married to Ann Harrop, the sister of Bridget Harrop who had married Joshua Wilson Junior. The couple lived for many years at Rutland Lodge in Potternewton, Leeds but sadly they were not blessed with children. Sam Wilson was one of the joint managing directors of Joshua Wilson and Sons after the death of his father and he became a keen collector of works of art and an acknowledged expert.

Sam Wilson died on the 12th December 1918 and, after his death, his widow Ann, bequeathed his extensive art collection consisting pictures, drawings, sculpture, furniture and porcelain plus a sum of £1,000 for the "adornment of its surroundings" to Leeds Art Gallery. The Sam Wilson Collection was officially opened to the public in October 1925 and used to be displayed on the upper floors of the gallery on the Headrow in Leeds.

In about 2008, the entire Sam Wilson collection was put into storage by Leeds Art Gallery. Apparently, the last person related to Sam Wilson who was making sure the collection was kept on display passed away. Leeds City Art Gallery felt they no longer needed to keep the collection on display since there were other contemporary art collections that they preferred to show to the general public.  However, the gallery is still known as the Sam Wilson Gallery.

Funeral of the late Mr. Sam Wilson J.P. of Leeds
"The funeral of the late Mr. Sam Wilson, J.P. of Rutland Lodge, Potternewton and chairman of Messrs Joshua Wilson and Sons, of Leeds, worsted coating manufacturers, took place yesterday at Lawnswood. The family mourners were Mrs. Wilson (widow), Mr. Denison Wilson (brother), Mr. and Mrs. Gladstone Wilson (brother and sister-in-law), Mrs. J.W. Wilson (sister-in-law), Major Harrop Wilson, Mr. Stanley Wilson, Mr. Clifford Wilson, Captain Arnold Wilson, Lieut. Alan Wilson (nephews), Captain Andrew Wilson (nephew) and Mrs. Andrew Wilson, Mrs. Wilson, Mr. and Mrs. Groom, Mr. and Mrs. Cooke, Mr. G.H. Gaunt, Mr. Wilson Kitson, Mr. Roland Gaunt, and Mr. Sam Gaunt (nephews). Mr. Joshua Harrop, Mr. Philip Harrop, Mr. Herbert Harrop, Mrs. Whitaker and Mr. and Mrs. Routley.

There was a large attendance of friends of the late Mr. Wilson and family. The magistrates present were the Lord Mayor (Mr. Joseph Henry), Mr. Edwin Woodhouse, D.L., Mr. Jonathan Peate, Mr. Grosvenor Talbot, Mr. J.H. Wickweed, Mr. Frank Gott, Mr. A.W. Bain and Mr. Thornton, Clerk. Mr. W.H. Thorp and Mr. A.J. Sanders represented the City Art Gallery Committee, of which Mr. Wilson was a member. Others present were Mr. James Yates, Mr. T.H. Goode (Scarborough), Mr. W.S. Barker, Mr. Tom Bradley, Mr. C.T. Hendle, Mr. Mark Senior, Mr. John Harrop, Mr. Sam May, Mr. C.S. Bedford, Mr. G.R. Lancaster, Mr. F.J.F. Curtis, Major C.L. Braithwaite, Mr. Wm. Hall, Mr. Joe Lamb, Mr. T.H. Forsythe, Mr. C. Dixon, Mr. M.A. Robinson, Mr. H.H. Lane (Clerk to the Commissioners of Income Tax), Mr. Henry Chalker (representing Mrs. Percy Chadwick, Mrs. Everatt and Messrs Stewart and Chalker, Wakefield), Mr. W.D. Pearson, Mr. H.P. Legg, Mr. Chas. Gaunt, Mr. Herbert Barraclough, Mr. Ernest Gaunt, Mr. Frank Crawford, Mr. G.H. Crawford, the Rev. Joseph Granger, Mr. Wm. L? and Mr. A. Campnett? Many beautiful wreaths were sent. There was one from the workpeople of Messrs Joshua Wilson and Sons and one from the Chairman and Committee of the Art Gallery. The funeral arrangements were in the hands of John Wales Smith and Sons (Limited)."

Yorkshire Evening Post - 13th December 1918
Samuel Wilson of Rutland Lodge, Potternewton, Chairman of Joshua Wilson and Sons died on the 12th December 1918 after an illness lasting 2-3 months, aged 67. He left a widow and was childless.

John William Wilson
John William WilsonJohn William Wilson was born on the 12th June 1852 in Ossett and would have moved to Leeds with his father to work in the family worsted cloth business. He married first Caroline Gaunt, the sister of his brother-in-law George Gaunt in about 1880, but sadly Caroline died childless in 1893 when the couple were living in Harrogate. John William remarried 35 year-old Mary Emma Brown in June 1895 in Harrogate, but again, the couple did not have any children.

John William Wilson was one of the managing directors of the family business and played a leading role in running the concern after the death of his father in 1897. He died on the 19th January 1916 leaving a considerable estate valued at nearly 235,000, which would be the equivalent of several millions by today's value.

Harrogate Herald - 26th January 1916
"We deeply regret to announce the death of Mr. John William Wilson, JP, which took place at his residence, Queen Villas, York Place, Harrogate, early on Wednesday morning. He was 63 years of age. Mr. Wilson was in his usual good health up to a fortnight ago, when he is believed to have caught a chill. Complications followed, and these acted on a weak heart, and he passed quietly away.

He was a member of the firm of Joshua Wilson & Sons, Limited, worsted manufacturers of Bean Ing Mills, Wellington Street, Leeds, in which he was one of the managing directors, and he took a prominent part in the business up to his illness. Mr Wilson, who was a most able man of business, was admired and respected for the honourable position he occupied in the worsted manufacturing trade in Yorkshire. The deceased formerly resided at Wortley, but in 1887 he came to live here in Harrogate, and occupied the house facing the South Stray, which he had bought a year or two earlier. His name has been associated for many years with the Harrogate Infirmary as one of the warmest hearted and practical supporters of that institution. He was, indeed, a philanthropist and contributed generously to charitable institutions in the town. Rarely, if ever, did anyone appealing to him on behalf of a worthy object meet with a refusal, and in a quiet but effective way he had been a stout support to many local charitable works. He had been for eight years chairman of the Harrogate Infirmary Board, and he worked heart and soul for the good of this institution. He was also on the Leeds Infirmary Weekly Board for several years.

Mr. Wilson was also a member of the Royal Bath Hospital Committee, and keenly interested himself in the work of this institution. He had for several years been a West Riding Magistrate, and frequently sat on the Knaresborough Bench. He was for a short time one of Harrogate's representatives on the West Riding County Council, and he was also a Commissioner for Income Tax. He was a Liberal, though he took no active part in politics. He was a member of the Harrogate Golf Club, and had a round on the Starbeck links just before his illness. Mr. Wilson was a familiar figure at Trinity Wesleyan Church, and took a prominent part in the management of the Church's affairs.

Amongst the family mourners were Mrs. Wilson (widow), Mr. H. Wilson (brother), Mr. and Mrs. Sam Wilson, Mr. and Mrs. Denison Wilson, Mr. and Mrs. Gladstone Wilson (brothers and sisters-in-law), Mr. and Mrs. Harry Cooke (sister and brother-in-law), Major Harrop Wilson, Mr. Stanley Wilson, Mr Clifford Wilson, Captain Arnold Wilson, Lieutenant Alan Wilson, and Lieutenant Charles Wilson (nephews), Mr. Brown (brother-in-law), Mrs. Hindle (sister-in-law), Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Wilson (nephew and niece), Miss Muriel Wilson (niece), Mr. E. Kitson, Mr. G.H. Gaunt, and Mr. S. Gaunt (nephews), Mr. H. Harrop and Mr. P.H. Wilson (cousins). "

Will of John William Wilson - 4th May 1916
The gross value of John William Wilson's estate was valued at 234.717s.13d.1. The net value was 217,482.16s.7d. Probate was granted in London on 4 May 1916 to Mary Emma Wilson, widow, Sam and Gladstone Wilson, brothers, both worsted manufacturers.

He left his wife 500 to be paid one month after his decease and also his wines, liquors and other consumable household stores and provisions, linen, china, glass, watches, jewels, personal apparel and all articles of personal use and adornment and also his motor cars and motor appliances and my horses, carriages, harness trappings and fittings used therewith. He also bequeathed her an annuity of 2,000 but should she remarry this would be reduced to 250.00 for the remainder of her life. He bequeathed the sisters of his deceased wife - Mary Annie Gaunt and Emily Gaunt - an annuity of 52.00 so long as they remain unmarried to be payable equally between them. Should one or other die or marry the whole amount to go to the remaining one so long as she remains unmarried.

He bequeaths to each of two domestic servants - Annie Elizabeth Rowen and Jane Wilson - 'whether in my service at my decease or not' an annuity of 26.00 for life. He bequeaths to each of his domestic servants (indoor and outdoor) in service at the time of his death having served five years or upwards a legacy of 25 and those who have been in service with him for three years or more 10.00.

He bequeathed the following pecuniary legacies:

1,000 to Leeds General Infirmary.
1,000 to the Wesleyan Methodist Foreign Missionary Society.
500 to the Leeds Hospital for Women and Children.
500 to the Leeds Unmarried Women's Benevolent Institution.
500 to the Leeds Tradesmen's Benevolent Institution.
500 to the National Children's Home and Orphanage Bonner Road, London.
500 to the Royal Bath Hospital and Rawson Convalescent Home Harrogate.
500 to the Harrogate Infirmary.

To the Trustees for Wesleyan Methodist Chapel purposes two sums of 500 each are bequeathed for "the Board" to invest and the income used by the Circuit Steward(s) of the Wesleyan Methodist Connexion in which 1. The Trinity Wesleyan Chapel, Harrogate, is situated and 2. The Ossett Wesleyan Chapel is situated in support of the Minister or Ministers duly appointed to preach in the two chapels.

JWW's Ordinary and Preference shares in the company of Joshua Wilson & Sons Ltd were bequeathed one-third to Sam, one-third to Gladstone and the final third in equal shares to his nephews Joshua Harrop Wilson and Stanley Ewart Ashley Wilson. He expresses his desire that the shares bequeathed to his brother Sam shall be bequeathed by him to his nephews Joshua H. Wilson, Stanley E.A. Wilson, Charles Slater Wilson and Geoffrey Wilson in equal shares.

All real and personal estate not otherwise disposed of to be put in trust. The Trustees shall permit his wife to have the use and enjoyment so long as she remains his widow of his plate, plated articles, books, pictures, prints, musical instruments, furniture and other articles of household use or ornament and also his outdoor effects in upon or about any residence and grounds he may occupy at the time of his decease. While remaining his widow she can use without payment of rent any dwelling house in her husband's occupation at the time of his decease keeping it in good repair and condition and insured against fire and paying the relevant rates and taxes.

His funeral and testamentary expenses, debts and pecuniary legacies, shall be paid for out of his trust property and "the cost of mourning for such persons and of any tombstone or other Memorial which they may think fit". The Trustees should invest "the clear residue" (known as his residuary estate). Subject to the life interest of his wife he bequeaths to his brother Gladstone "the painting in oils of my late father Joshua Wilson" and the remainder of his paintings, pictures and prints "to be sold or disposed of by my Trustees as they think fit". He empowers them to purchase any of them provided they are bought at Public Auction, or at the valuation of some competent Valuer agreed on by all the Trustees, the proceeds going to his residuary estate. During his wife's widowhood the Trustees should hold the surplus income from his residuary estate after satisfying the said annuities upon trust for my brothers Henry, Sam, Denison and Gladstone and the children who shall (or have) attained 21 years of age of my deceased brothers and sisters Joshua Wilson, Andrew Wilson, Jane Kitson and Ada Gaunt in equal shares, each of my brothers taking one share and the children of each deceased brother or sister taking one share equally between them. (Provisions then made in case one of the four brothers mentioned die during his wife's widowhood and also if his wife should die or remarry). He gives power to his wife to appoint new Trustees during her widowhood.

JW's address is given as 2, Queens Villas, 61, York Place, Harrogate,(also on Beckett's Will) and Sam is at Rutland Lodge, Chapel Allerton, and Gladstone at Stratford House, Chapel Allerton.

Jane Wilson
Jane Wilson was born on the 24th December 1853 in Ossett and was married in the December quarter of 1875 to 24 year-old Benjamin Lax Huscroft Kitson, a cloth finisher. By 1881, the couple were living at Moor Cottages, Wortley, Leeds. By 1901, they were living in Chapel Allerton, Leeds and Benjamin's occupation was given as a retired cloth dyer finisher.

Benjamin and Jane had a large family of six children as follows:

Thomas Wilson Kitson born 1876 Armley, Leeds
Herbert Kitson born 1880 Wortley, Leeds
Lillian Kitson born 1881 Leeds
Benjamin Kitson born 1882 Leeds
Jane Kitson born 1883 Leeds
Joshua Kitson born 1885 Leeds

Jane died intestate on the 26th November 1908 in Leeds after her husband Benjamin predeceased her on the 24th November 1903 in Chapel Allerton, Leeds.

Jane Kitson of The Woodlands, Stainbeck Lane, Chapel Allerton, Leeds died on the 26th December 1908 intestate a widow. Probate was granted at the District Probate Registry (Stamp totally illegible) to Thomas Wilson Kitson of 25, Estcourt Terrace Headingley, Leeds, Cashier and Herbert Kitson of Woodland Terrace, Stainbeck Lane, aforesaid, Tailor, the natural and lawful sons and two of the next of kin of the said intestate.

Dated 14th day of April 1909.
Gross value of Estate £508.0.8
Net value of Personal Estate £117.4.10.

Denison Wilson
Denison Wilson was born on the 3rd April 1855 in Ossett and moved to Leeds with his parents in about 1869. He established a wool combing business at Charlesworth Mills, Shipley with his brother Andrew as a parallel operation to the worsted clothing business that was run by his father and brothers.

Denison was married in the second quarter of 1879 at Bramley, Leeds to Emma Lavinia Pycock who had been born in about 1858 in Leeds. The couple lived in Bradford and later Ilkley and had at least four children as follows:

Laura Elsie Wilson born 1881 Armley, Leeds
Denison Wilson born 1887 Manningham, Bradford
Jane Winifred Wilson born about 1892 Halifax
Daisy Mildred Wilson born about 1896

Denison Wilson died 11th August 1919 at 1, Dean Street, South Shore, Blackpool and the cause of death on his death certificate was chronic nephritis 5 years, cardiac failure 1 day.

Denison Wilson of Belmont, Ilkley, in the County of York, gentleman, appointed his wife Lavinia (of 10 Crossbeck Road, Ilkley, at the time of probate) and his brother Gladstone as his executors. Probate was granted 23rd January 1920. Gross value of estate 14,416.2.0 - Net value of Personal Estate 14,106.7.11. Will dated 12th June 1916.

He bequeaths his wife all "consumable stores wearing apparel, household furniture, plate, plated goods, jewellery, trinkets, linen, china, glass, books, pictures, prints and other effects of the like nature which be and about any dwelling house in my occupation at my decease". Also a legacy of two hundred and fifty pounds free of duty.

The trustees are bequeathed all real and personal estate upon trust and given powers to sell and convert into money as they seek fit. His funeral and testamentary expenses and debts and the legacies hereby bequeathed and the cost of any tombstone which his trustees shall think fit to place over my grave shall be met.

The income of his residuary estate is to go to his wife during her life so long as she remains a widow and during the remainder of her life pay to her an annuity of one hundred pounds free of all duties and taxes such annuity to be payable half yearly to commence from the date of her remarriage.

After her death or remarriage the trustees shall hold his residuary estate in trust "for such of my children living at my death and such of my grandchildren living at my death (and being children of any then deceased child of mine) as shall attain twenty one years of age in equal shares per stirpes as tenants in common except that my daughter Jane Winifred Whitaker or her children as the case may be shall bring into hotchpot and account for as part of her or their share in my residuary estate the sum of 400 advanced by me to the husband of my said daughter or such part thereof as shall be owing at the time of my decease". His children receive the income only of their share in the trust.

His son Denison or his children "shall not bring into account any sum or sums, which I may have advanced or paid on behalf of my said son".

After the decease of any individual child of his the surviving husband or wife can be the beneficiary of the income willed to them so long as they remain the widow or widower of such child. After that provision is made for children of the said child once they attain the age of 21.

Andrew Wilson
Andrew Wilson was born on the 17th August 1856 in Ossett, but had moved to Leeds with his parents by about 1869. Andrew Wilson married Jane Wilcock in Bradford in 1884 and by 1896 they had four children:

Andrew Wilson born 1884, Leeds
Norman Wilson born 1890, Leeds and died 14-7-1916
Alec Wilson born 1893, Leeds
Muriel Wilson born 1896, Leeds

Andrew Wilson was part of the Joshua Wilson and Sons business dynasty and, with his older brother Denison Wilson he ran a successful wool combing business at Charlestown Mill in Shipley trading as D & A Wilson. The family lived at Potternewton, Leeds, close to brothers Sam and Joshua Jr.

It was November 1896 and Andrew Wilson had been suffering badly with quinsy, which is a painful condition caused by abscesses forming on the tonsils. It gives rise to a very sore throat and without the medicines we have today, must have been very debilitating. For Andrew Wilson, the pain was so bad and so depressing that it caused him to commit suicide in a most unpleasant fashion one cold November night.

From the The Yorkshire Post - Friday November 27th 1896

"Suicide of Leeds Gentleman
A most painful impression was created in business circles in Leeds yesterday by the announcement of the death under tragic circumstances of Mr. Andrew Wilson, of “Woodfield”, Potternewton. Mr. Wilson was a member of the firm Messrs. D & A Wilson, wool combers of Charlestown Mills, Shipley, and was one of the sons of Mr. Joshua Wilson of Belfort House, Harrogate who established the well-known firm of Messrs. Joshua Wilson & Sons, worsted coating manufacturers, of Wellington Street, Leeds and Bean Ing Mills. Mr. Andrew Wilson had not enjoyed good health for some time past, and the circumstances surrounding his death point to the fact that acting on sudden impulse, he had put an end to his life rendered burdensome by illness.

Mr. Wilson and his wife had, it appears, arranged to spend Wednesday evening with his eldest brother Mr. Joshua Wilson, Jr. who resides at “Oakleigh”, Gledhow. Together with other members of the family, they had left their residence at Potternewton about six o’clock in their carriage for Gledhow. On arriving at Whitehouse Lane, which leads from Roundhay Road to Newton Hill, Mr. Wilson told the coachman to stop, and said he would get out and follow on. The carriage therefore, proceeded slowly towards Mr. Joshua Wilson’s lodge gates and there waited for him. To the surprise of the occupants of the vehicle, Mr. Wilson did not appear and after some time had elapsed, Mrs. Wilson and her companions became alarmed and took steps to institute a search. Accompanied by one of the park rangers and assisted subsequently by Mr. Beilby, the superintendent, a search party commenced a thorough exploration of the park grounds, but although their efforts were continued until a late hour, no trace of the missing gentleman could be found.

Yesterday morning, Mr. Beilby, along with a workman named Hanson resumed the quest and about eight o’clock the former found the prostrate figure of the man he was in search of on the bank of Waterloo Lake. Mr. Wilson was lying with his feet in the water and his head on the landing stage from which the lake steamer and pleasure boats depart during the summer season. He was bleeding from a gash in his throat but was still conscious and in answer to Mr. Beilby’s question “Are you Mr. Wilson?” made a sound, which was taken by the park superintendent to be an answer in the affirmative. With the aid of several workmen, the unfortunate gentleman was conveyed to one of the waiting rooms at the entrance to the park, and a messenger was sent to summon Mr. Rowton, surgeon of Roundhay. Before the doctor’s arrival, however, Mr. Wilson expired. On a search of his clothing being subsequently made, it was found that a considerable quantity of loose money, various papers and his gold watch, as well as a diamond ring on one of his fingers, were untouched. The body was removed to the Mansion in the park, where an inquest will be held at one o’clock this (Friday) afternoon.

As already indicated, Mr. Wilson had recently been in a somewhat precarious state of health. In August last, he suffered severely from quinsy, and was attended by Dr. Coleman of Armley. From the attack he had never thoroughly recovered. It was followed by great physical weakness and general debility, and the depression resulting from such a state of health is the only possible cause that can be assigned for so sad a calamity as that which shocked the family yesterday. It seems clear that the injury, which proved fatal, can only have been inflicted shortly before Mr. Beilby appeared upon the scene. Mr. Wilson, it is thought, must have wandered about the park during the whole of the night. From the fact that his clothing was wet, it would seem that he had attempted to drown himself before cutting his throat. At the spot where he was found, the water was only a foot deep, and there are heel marks in the sandy bottom, which would indicate that Mr. Wilson was sitting on the edge of the water when he inflicted his injury, and then fell back among the boats, which are moored there. Strange to say, no trace whatever of a knife or razor can be found discovered in the neighbourhood of the landing stage.

To the many friends of the deceased, the news of his death came as a profound shock, and everywhere in the city; the greatest sympathy was expressed with the bereaved wife and family. Mr. Wilson, who was 43 years of age, was held in general esteem in Leeds and the West Riding, and although he lived a quiet retired life, was known as a capable and straightforward businessman. He was a Liberal in politics and a member of the Wesleyan body. He was married, 14 years ago, to Miss Willcock of Stanningley, and leaves four children, the eldest of whom is nine years of age.

Inquest – The death of a Leeds Gentleman at Roundhay Park
The inquest on the body of the late Mr. Andrew Wilson, of Woodfield, Newton Hill, Leeds and Charlestown Mills, Shipley, who died on Thursday morning in Roundhay Park under pathetic circumstances, was held yesterday at the Mansion in the Park, before Mr. Thomas Taylor, coroner. The evidence bore out the facts, which have already been published in the Yorkshire Post. Mr. Wilson, according to his elder brother (Mr. Joshua Wilson), had been in a depressed state of mind since recovering from a serious attack of quinsy two months ago, but had nevertheless been able to attend to business as usual. On Wednesday, he left his home with his wife and father, to spend the evening with Mr. Joshua Wilson at the latter’s residence, “Oakleigh”, Gledhow. When the carriage reached Whitehouse Lane, where there is a somewhat steep ascent, Mr. Wilson, as he had done often before, left the vehicle, with the evident intention of completing the journey on foot. Nothing more, however, was seen of him until eight o’clock the next morning, when he was found lying in a dying condition, with a horrible gash in his throat, near the Waterloo Lake in Roundhay Park. Evidence was given by George Wood, gardener to Dr. Jessop, to the effect that some hours after the finding of the body, he discovered an overcoat, pair of gloves, and bunch of keys, all of which were identified as having belonged to the deceased, behind a wall on Dr. Jessop’s premises, about a quarter of a mile from the lake. The articles in question were all covered with blood, as was also the ground in the neighbourhood of the spot. A fragment of glass about four inches long and three inches broad was lying close to the overcoat and the stains upon it clearly showed that it had been used by the unhappy man to inflict the wound in his throat. It had evidently been taken from a heap of broken glass a few yards away. The deceased, as the Coroner pointed out, had not succeeded in cutting the main artery, and the probability is that after cutting his throat, he wandered about the park, gradually losing blood, and becoming weaker and weaker. The jury returned a verdict of “suicide whilst temporarily insane” and added that they wished to express their sympathy with the widow and relatives of the deceased. Mr. E.O. Simpson, solicitor attended the inquest on behalf of the family, and Superintendent Tebbutt, of the West Riding Constabulary, was also present.

Andrew Wilson's eldest son, Andrew Wilson served during WW1 as Captain Andrew Wilson. Nothing is known of his later life.

Middle son Lieutenant Norman Wilson of the 7th Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment (Prince of Wales's Own) died in action during the Somme campaign of WW1, near Authuile, 5 km north of Albert, France. He was just 26 years of age.

Youngest son, Alec Wilson was educated at Harrogate and Rugby School. During WW1, 23 year-old Captain Alec Wilson won the MC for conspicuous gallantry. He captured and held an enemy strongpoint and gallantly led his men into attack materially assisting the formation of a new line. Alec Wilson joined the army in 1911 on leaving school. When war broke out, he went to the Front with the West Yorkshire Regiment. He went through the Battle of the Marne in September 1914 and subsequently the first Yser battle. He was invalided home in November 1914 and after several months with a reserve regiment he went back to the front in April 1915.

Andrew's widow Jane later remarried Leeds Alderman, Harry Cooke and subsequently went to live in Scarborough in later life.

Mary Ellen Wilson
Mary Ellen Wilson was born on the 11th March 1858 in Ossett. She remained unmarried until after the deaths of her parents and stepmother, but on the 4th September 1902 at the Trinity Wesleyan Church in Harrogate, she married 57 year-old Ossett widower and mungo merchant Williamson Lawton Langley. Williamson Langley had been the financial director of Langley Brothers, mungo manufacturers, Dale Street, Ossett at the time of the 1881 census and it is possible that he had known Mary Ellen when she lived in Ossett.

Sadly, Mary Ellen would not live very long to enjoy her marriage and she died on the 15th November 1905 in Harrogate where the couple had settled.

Ada Wilson
Ada Wilson was born on the 27th January 1860 in Ossett. She married 30 year-old Leeds grocer George Henry Gaunt on the 3rd August 1881 in the Wesleyan Chapel, Greenside, Wortley and the couple went on to have a family of seven children as follows:

George Henry Gaunt born 1882 Leeds
Ernest W. Gaunt born 1884 Leeds
Sam Gaunt born 1886 Leeds
Ada Gaunt born Leeds 1888
Rowland Gaunt born 1890 Leeds
Mary Caroline Gaunt born 1893 Bramley, Leeds
Clara Gaunt born 1894 Leeds
Edgar Gaunt born 1897 Leeds

Ada died on the 21st June 1911 aged 51 years from heart failure at 97, Savile Park Road, Halifax, the home of her eldest son George Henry Gaunt Jr. Her husband George lived on until 1920 when he died in Leeds at the age of 69.

Beckett Ellis Wilson
Beckett Ellis Wilson was born on the 27th September 1864 in Ossett and would have been quite young when the family moved to Leeds. Beckett never married and his occupation at the time of his death on the 5th July 1900 from Bright's Disease (a kidney disorder) was retired cloth manufacturer. Beckett Ellis Wilson died at 18 Park Parade in Harrogate and as this was his sister Mary Ellen Wilson's address, it is likely that they lived together after the death of their parents.

In his Will, made in December 1897 in Harrogate, Beckett makes John William and Mary Ellen his trustees and the address of Mary Ellen is given as 18 Park Parade. He left 9,421.11s.3d. gross 9,115.1s.11d. net.

Beckett died at 18 Park Parade, Harrogate on the 5th July 1900 aged 36 years from Bright's Disease, a form of kidney disease, which is easily treatable today.

Gladstone Wilson
Gladstone WilsonGladstone Wilson was the youngest of the thirteen children of Joshua and Jane Wilson. He was born on the 11th March 1866 in Ossett. By the time of the 1881 census, 15 year-old Gladstone was at Boarding School at Arnold House, Lytham Road in Blackpool. He married 24 year-old Mabel Lillian Slater, born 18th October 1868, the daughter of Stanningley mill owner Elijah Slater on the 10th May 1893 at Farsley Parish Church. The couple then settled in Potternewton, Leeds. In the 1901 census they were at 22 York Place, Harrogate, which was a lodging house run by Esther Foster and the Wilsons had half of the house. These were very respectable lodgings and the Wilson family would have looked out over the Stray towards the Tewit Well.

Wedding - Harrogate Advertiser - 13th May 1893
"The marriage of Mr Gladstone Wilson, son of Mr Joshua Wilson, JP, of Belfort, Harrogate, and Bean Ing Mills, Leeds, to Miss Mabel Lillian Slater, daughter of Mr E. Slater, JP, of Ashville, Farsley, and Providence Mills, Stanningley, was solemnised at the Farsley Parish Church, on Wednesday last. There was a large gathering to witness the ceremony, which was preformed by the Rev E King, BA, LLB, Vicar. The service was fully choral. The bride was attired in a dress of rich ivory satin, with full court train, and petticoat trimmed with Brussels lace and caught up with orange blossom. The sleeves were wide and the collar trimmed with seed pearls and draped with lace, whilst she wore a handsome diamond crescent, the gift of the bridegroom, and carried a choice bouquet of flowers. The bridesmaids were Miss Daisy Slater, Miss Elsie Wilson, Miss Ethel Gaunt, and Miss Maude England. They were attired in dresses of pink ondine silk, made Empire style, with full sleeves, and lace frills, with Leghorn hats trimmed with pink roses, and carried bouquets of carnations. A reception was afterwards held at Ashville, and then the happy pair left for London en route for the Devonshire coast. The presents, which were principally silver goods, were very numerous, and included a Crown Derby afternoon tea service from Mrs. Slater, silver tea and coffee service from Mr. Wilson, case of silver dessert knives and forks from Mr. Nussey, Headingley, who acted as best man; silver tray and entrée dishes from Messrs. Slater and Sons' employees; Dresden China clock with ornaments and candelabra from the workpeople of Messrs. Wilson and Sons; cheque from Mr. Slater; cake knife and fork from the servants at Belfort, Harrogate."

Harrogate Advertiser - 13th May 1893
"WILSON-SLATER. On the 10th inst., at the Parish Church, Farsley, by the Rev E King, BA, LLB, Gladstone, youngest son of Joshua Wilson, JP, of Belfort, Harrogate, to Mabel Lillian, daughter of Elijah Slater, JP, of Ashville, Farsley. No cards."

The couple had a family of four children as follows:

Charles Slater Wilson born 1894 Potternewton, Leeds
Geoffrey Wilson born 21st August 1895 Potternewton, Leeds
Marjorie Wilson born 5th May 1902 Harrogate
Esme Wilson born 31st Jan 1905 Leeds

Gladstone Wilson died on the 23rd March 1946 after a distinguished business career as chairman of Joshua Wilson and Sons. His son Geoffrey Wilson was present at the death at 5, Stainbeck Lane (Stratford House) in the sub-district of Leeds North. Cause of death was pulmonary oedema, cerebral atheroma with coronary atheroma and senility. His wife Mabel died aged nearly 102 years at a Nursing Home in Ticehurst, Sussex.

Gladstone and Mabel Wilson

Above: Gladstone Wilson and his wife Mabel in the 1920s at the wedding of one of their children

Death of Mr. Gladstone Wilson
The death occurred on Saturday of Mr. Gladstone Wilson of Stratford House, Stainbeck Lane, Chapel Allerton, Leeds, chairman of directors of Joshua Wilson and Sons Ltd, Wellington Street, Leeds and a prominent figure in Leeds business circles. He was aged 80.

Mr. Wilson was formerly connected with a number of public bodies in the city. He was appointed a Leeds magistrate before the first World War and resigned in 1938 because he could not attend courts regularly. His resignation was the first in Leeds following the issue of the Lord Chancellor's Magisterial Bench reorganisational circular. He was also formerly a member of the Board of Management of Leeds General Infirmary.

Mr. Wilson was well known in Yorkshire sporting circles. Keenly interested in cricket, he was a member of the Yorkshire County Club and played golf at the Alwoodley Club. Mr Wilson was a member of the Leeds Club. His son Geoffrey Wilson captained the Yorkshire County cricket team from 1922 to 1924. Mr Wilson leaves a widow, two sons and two daughters.

Will: Dated 19 October 1932.
His wife and son Geoffrey were executors together with Francis John Fallowfield Curtis of Simpson Curtis & Co. 41 Park Square, Leeds, solicitor. The gross value of the estate was 159,982.18s.7d. and the net value of the personal estate was 149,530.15s.1d. Estate duty and interest paid 49,719.0s.0d.

Mr. Joshua Wilson of Leeds and Harrogate - Obituary
In Leeds commercial circles the news of the death of Mr Joshua Wilson, chairman of Messrs Joshua Wilson and Sons (Limited), worsted coating manufacturers of Bean Ing Mills, Wellington Street will be received with much regret. Up to a few years ago Mr Wilson took an important share in the business, which he founded, but though he remained the nominal head of the firm and continued his interest in its affairs, he relinquished the more active duties of management six or seven years ago and changed his residence from Oakley House, Gledhow to Belfort House, Harrogate.

A few years since he and his friends were shocked to read an account of his death in one or two local newspapers, the mistake having evidently arisen by a confusion of names. The deceased gentleman's health had been failing during recent years and he never fully recovered from a serious illness, which he suffered last year. Recently it was apparent that he could not live much longer, and the members of his family were hardly surprised when they were summoned to his deathbed early yesterday. He died at ten o'clock in the morning. Born at Ossett in 1824, he would have completed his 73rd year had he lived until the 30th of November.

During the greater part of a long life, Mr Wilson was closely identified with the cloth trade in Leeds. About a quarter of a century ago, in conjunction with three of his sons, he established the business with which his name has since been connected. A portion of the premises in Wellington Street, at one time best known as Gott's Mills, was rented and there Mr Wilson and his sons began the manufacture of worsted coating. It was a comparatively small concern in the beginning, but from time-to-time as the business grew, further sections of the premises were taken and now nearly the whole of the mills are in the occupation of the firm, which, by the way, was converted into a private limited liability company about three years ago. Over a thousand hands now find employment at the company's mills, at which are carried on all the processes necessary to the production of worsted coating from the preparation of the wool to the completion of the dyed and finished cloth. Bean Ing Mills are among the largest establishments in the Leeds cloth trade and as representing one of the leading industries of the city; they were visited by the Shah of Persia on the occasion of his second tour in England, and more recently by the Shahaada of Afghanistan. The signatures of these distinguished visitors are preserved as interesting mementoes.

The claims of an extended business debarred Mr Wilson from taking part in public life even if he had any inclination to do so, which is doubtful. In November 1881, when living at Wortley, he was returned to the Council as Liberal representative of the Armley and Wortley ward, but retired at the end of his term of three years. He was a governor of the Yorkshire College and among the charitable institutions in which he took an interest were the Leeds Infirmary and the Harrogate Bath Hospital. A prominent member of the Wesleyan church, he contributed largely to its funds and while residing at Wortley there was hardly an office he did not fill at one time or another. In 1894 he was made a magistrate for the city, but owing to his advancing years and his residence in Harrogate, he was very rarely seen on the bench. Many institutions and many individuals knew of his generosity, but whatever he gave was given without ostentation. The deceased gentleman leaves seven sons (four of whom are in the business) and three daughters. He was twice married, his second wife dying a few years ago. The funeral will take place at Wortley Cemetery, Oldfield Lane at one o'clock next Monday, and the cortege leaving the North-Eastern Station at 12:20.

September 1897 - Yorkshire Post

Funeral of Mr. Joshua Wilson
Yesterday the remains of Mr Joshua Wilson, head of the well-known firm of worsted clothing manufacturers in Leeds were laid to rest in Wortley Cemetery, off Oldfield Lane. The body was brought by road from Belfort House in Harrogate, where the deceased gentleman resided and the cortege was constituted at the North Eastern Station, Leeds on arrival of the relatives. Following the funeral car were six private family carriages in which were seated the following:

1st - Mr Beckett Wilson and Miss Wilson
2nd - Mr and Mrs Henry Wilson
3rd - Mr and Mrs Sam Wilson
4th - Mr and Mrs John William Wilson
5th - Mr and Mrs Denison Wilson
6th - Mrs Andrew Wilson and Master Andrew Wilson, Mr and Mrs Gladstone Wilson

The seventh carriage was occupied by Mr. and Mrs Gaunt and Mr. and Mrs Kitson, the eighth by Master Joshua Harrop Wilson, Master Stanley Wilson, Mr. Thomas Wilson Kitson and Master Herbert Kitson and the ninth by Master George Henry Gaunt and by Master Sam Gaunt. Private carriages were sent by Alderman Alf Cooke, Alderman Hepworth, Mr. Charles Yates (Weetwood), Mr. Daniel Hinchcliffe (Churwell), Mr. William Irwin, Mr. T. Slater and others. On the way, the procession was joined by a large number of the employees of Messrs Joshua Wilson and Sons, who marched in front of the coffin quite a hundred strong. The heads of departments were all present, namely Mr. J.S. Younghusband (secretary to the company), Mr. Joseph Wright, Mr. J.W. Shackleton, Mr. Joshua Woodcock, Mr. J. Sedgwick, Mr. J. Senior, Mr. J. Horne, Mr. Arthur Robinson, Mr. C. Harttman and Mr. W. Hoggatt. Family wreaths almost obscured the coffin from view. It was of polished oak with ormoloy fittings and contained an inner shell. On the breastplate was a plain inscription, the date of birth being given as November 30th 1824. Floral offerings were also sent by a large circle of friends.

Among those present at the service or at the graveside were Mr. W. Middleton, Dr. Coleman, Mr. J.J. Flitch, Mr. G.J. Cockburn, Alderman Scarr and Mr. Peter Gilston (city magistrates) and Mr. John Thornton (magistrates clerk); the Rev. W.H. Johnson (superintendent of the Armley Wesleyan Circuit); the Rev. James Wakeley, Mr. Titus Hardcastle, Mr John Walker, and Mr. John Holdsworth (also representing the Armley Circuit); Mr. J.F. Gaunt and Mr. William Blakey (representing the Greenside Wesleyan Chapel, which the deceased was formerly associated); Mr. Christopher Moody (Farnley), Mr. E. Beckett Faber, Mr. O. Nussey, Mr. George Henry Nussey, Mr. James Hargreave Nussey, Mr. J. Petty, Mr. Alfred Threapleton, Mr. Benjamin Threapleton, Mr. J.H. Richardson, Mr. Benjamin Meek, Mr. William Gaunt, Mr. Charles B. Kettlewell, Mr. Frank Gott, Mr. Wilfrid Hepton, Mr. T.S. Simpson, Mr. R.L. Hattersley (Keighley), Mr. W.R. Homer (Harrogate), Mr. Moses Atkinson, Mr. James Bedford, Mr. G.R. Portway, Mr. J.W. Crawford, Mr. George Morrell, and Mr. T.A. Kitchen. The Harrogate ministers, the Rev. Owen Davies and the Rev. W.B. Fitzgerald conducted the funeral rites and a brief address was delivered by the Rev. J.S. Banks of Headingley. Speaking of the high qualities of the deceased, he remarked that his business was built up as much by his moral qualities, his integrity and his uprightness, as by his commercial shrewdness and tact. The late Mr. Wilson was a man to respect, to trust and to love, combining strength with a wonderful kindliness and tenderness of heart. He was an attached Methodist and a humble Christian. The sufferings of his later years brought down his natural strength, but matured and perfected his character, and high tributes of respect were paid to his memory from all sides.

The coffin was deposited in the family burying ground in a grave partly faced with glazed bricks, and lined with a profusion of white chrysanthemums, asters, dahlias, laurel leaves, maiden-hair ferns, and other delicate blooms. Messrs. John Wales Smith Sons had charge of the funeral arrangements.

September 1897 Yorkshire Post

Will and two Codicils signed 20 February 1897
Joshua Wilson's Will was proved on the 21st October 1897 and re-sworn in February 1903. The Net value of the Will was £67,192.14s.8d. Executors were his sons Joshua Wilson of Oakley House, Gledhow, manufacturer, Sam Wilson, Rutland Lodge, Potternewton, manufacturer, and John William Wilson, Queens Villas, Harrogate, manufacturer.

He leaves all his "Presentation Plate" to Joshua and on his death to "the eldest of Sam, John William and Gladstone then living for his lifetime, passing on his death to the elder son in turn...then to become the absolute property of the ultimate survivor of my said sons".

His household furniture and effects from his "dwelling house" are left upon trust "but if Mary Ellen shall be unmarried at my decease she may make such selection from the household furniture...for the purpose of furnishing a home. This does "not include any horse's carriages or outside effects". Also bequeathed to her are all the "consumable stores".

He leaves his real estate, his shares in Joshua Wilson and Sons Ltd., securities for money, household furniture and effects (subject to the aforesaid) and all other personal estate and effects for the trustees to convert into money (subject to directions concerning Charlestown Mills and my shares in Joshua Wilson and Sons Ltd) from which his debts, funeral and testamentary expenses "and the expenses of mourning for my family and domestics living with me at my decease, and the expenses of a Memorial or Tombstone over my grave and the expenses of proving and registering my Will and any legacies which I may bequeath by any codicil"

Joshua leaves to each of his three daughters Jane, Mary Ellen and Ada, the sum of £10,000 on trust so that they may benefit from the income. (Deducting various sums already advanced to Jane and Ada).

He says: "the Trustees shall hold my residuary trust monies upon trust to pay and divide the same to for and among such of my eight sons namely Henry, Joshua, Sam, John William, Denison, Andrew, Beckett Ellis and Gladstone."

The Will says "Joshua's shares in Joshua Wilson and Sons Ltd shall not be sold or disposed of but that the same shall be retained by my Trustees and appropriated or transferred at par value to my sons and daughters or their respective issue in respect and on account of their respective shares and portions under this my Will as follows. To my son Henry - five thousand pounds Preference Shares. Joshua - one thousand pounds Preference Shares and two thousand six hundred and seventy pounds Ordinary Shares. Sam - One thousand pounds Preference Shares and two thousand six hundred and seventy pounds Ordinary Shares. John William: one thousand pounds Preference Shares and two thousand six hundred and sixty pounds Ordinary Shares. Beckett Ellis: five thousand pounds Preference Shares. Gladstone: one thousand pounds Ordinary Shares and to each of my daughters Jane, Mary Ellen and Ada: four thousand pounds Preference Shares.

He says he has recently given Gladstone 500 Ordinary Shares in Joshua Wilson and Sons of the value of £10 each "which should be taken in part satisfaction of the share and interest of my said son". The Trustees are directed to retain Beckett's share and pay income to him only. (This appears to be a safeguard for his inheritance). It seems there was a possibility of him becoming bankrupt or "do or suffer something whereby the said income if belonging absolutely to him or some part thereof would become payable to or vested in some other person".

In a Codicil dated 9th December 1896 owing to Andrew's death, Joshua revokes the part of the Will concerning his Mills and premises at Shipley known as Charlestown Mills and the land and premises occupied lately by his sons Denison and Andrew as tenants in common. He directs instead that "my son Denison may by notice in writing to my Trustees, to be given within three calendar months of my decease, require them to grant him a Lease of the said Charlestown Mills and the land and premises occupied therewith for the term of seven years at an annual rent of one thousand pounds".This he says shall be granted together with an option at anytime during this term to buy the premises for the price of £17,000.

He declares that the "share of and in my residuary trust monies which my son Andrew would have taken if he had survived him" should be put in trust for his children to inherit when they reach the age of 21 and that his daughter-in-law Jane Wilson shall use the income until she shall contract another marriage.

In a second Codicil dated 20 February 1897, Joshua states "whereas by my Will I have directed that my Trustees shall retain the share of my son Beckett Ellis of and in my residuary trust monies on the trusts therein mentioned, now I hereby direct that my Trustees may notwithstanding the trusts mentioned in my said Will at anytime either before or after the ownership limited in favour of my said son in the said share shall have been determined in his lifetime at their absolute discretion pay or apply any part or parts of the whole if they think fit of the capital of the said share to my said son or to any other person or persons for his benefit but so that the discretion hereby given to my Trustees shall not in any way entitle my said son or any other person or persons to require any such payment or application."

The Sam Wilson Collection
Joshua Wilson's son Sam Wilson was a successful clothing manufacturer who, during the early 1900s, accumulated an important collection of contemporary British art and furniture at Rutland Lodge, his luxurious home on Potternewton Lane in Leeds. The collection, including this chimneypiece (made circa 1908-1914) was bequeathed to the people of Leeds in 1925.

Neglected and forgotten, After being bought by Leeds City Council, Rutland Lodge was left in a neglected and run-down state. The fine old house has now been demolished and a modern new Health Centrehas been built in its place.

The Sam Wilson collection achieved recognition in its day as an outstanding amalgamation of paintings, sculpture, pastels, furniture and ceramics which denoted a taste focused on modern British painting - now referred to as 'English Impressionism' - studiously avoiding the glamour of the Royal Academy with its straining heroes, lofty sentiments and literary allusions.

Wilson wanted pictures for his own home in Leeds at Rutland Lodge, Potternewton, domestic in scale and reflecting a modern outlook as befitted a successful woollen manufacturer. In many ways he is the early 20th century equivalent of the earlier industrialist who bought Pre-Raphaelite paintings. In 1915 he bequeathed his collection to the City of Leeds.

The selection from his collection of Orpen, Clausen, Senior, Knight which we see today represents his taste for, on the whole, light, airy works, breezy landscapes, well-painted farm hands with rugged features which look to French open-air painting for a precursor. Exceptions to this are the neo-romantic symbolist pictures of George Sauter and the dark passion revealed in Orpen's figure subjects.

Wilson's greatest act of patronage was to buy the Brangwyn panels from the Venice Biennale in 1905 for presentation to the City Art Gallery.

The Sam Wilson Chimney Piece

Alfred Gilbert THE SAM WILSON CHIMNEY PIECE (A Dream of Joy During a Sleep of Sorrow)

Porcelains, Bronzes and Furniture
Of quite equal interest from the point of view of pure beauty and decorative charm is the old Chinese porcelain, which forms a considerable part of the bequest, though it does not bulk as largely as the pictures. There is very little in it that is not Oriental and it represents some of the best of the Chinese periods. This, and the furniture, will go far to furnish the room in which the collection is placed, taking away from it the sort of museum look that is inseparable from a collection of nothing but pictures. This increase of decorative value, indeed, adds very definitely to the importance of the gift, and corresponds aptly to the recent efforts of the Art Gallery Committees in trying to develop this side of its Art Gallery's interest. Much of the furniture, in fact- notably the French commodes - will show to much better advantage in these surroundings than in a private room. Musicians will regards this deportment of the gift with increased pleasure, from the fact that with the furniture is given a magnificent boudoir grand pianoforte by made expressly for one of the later Paris Exhibitions. Its external ornamentation is done on an elaborate scale, and though in the light of present day is rather overcharged the effect is none the less true of French art of the time. More to the purpose, perhaps, is that the tone of the instrument is still very fine and resonant. The pianoforte will be a very significant addition to the gallery furniture.

So, too, in a very special way will be Mr Wilson's bronze subject by Alfred Gilbert. There are in the collection two beautiful bronze figures - "Patience Arming" and "Comedy and Tragedy" - which belong to Mr Gilbert's finest period; and a much more ambitious piece of the same artist's workmanship is a superb bronze mantelpiece, one of the most interesting examples of Mr Gilberts work in recent years. It was done especially for Mr Wilson during Mr Gilbert's, residence at Bruges.
No valuation of the bequest has been made, but undoubtedly, apart from its artistic merit the bequest is one of great value. It may be added that the late Mr Wilson makes provision in his will for a gift of £500 to the Wesleyan Chapel at Chapel Allerton, of which he was a member for many years; and that he also bequeathed sums varying from £25 to £100 to certain employees now with the firm, including those who have had records of service of 30 years and more. There are also legacies to the household staff of Rutland Lodge, indoor and outdoor.

The Joshua Wilson and Sons textile manufacturing business continued until the 1960s. Joshua Wilson's grandson, Major (Joshua) Harrop Wilson was the Managing Director in 1947 and lived at Red House, Gledhow Lane, Leeds. On his death in 1954, the business was inherited by his son Michael Harrop Wilson (1928-2000) who lived in Kent Road, Harrogate. It was noted in the obituaries column of The Times dated 28th May 2001 that in Michael Wilson's Will, he had left estate worth £5,810,659.