Nat Gould

His life and books

William Hobbs 1791-1863

William Hobbs was born in 1791 at Hanham in Gloucestershire, then a village a few miles east of Bristol.

He went to Canada in 1809 and was a cotton merchant there until 1817 (1). He was resident in Manchester by 1823 when he married Elizabeth Wright 1799-1876 on 1 May in that year at Bradbourne in Derbyshire. She was a daughter of John Wright 1752-1840 of Bradbourne and his wife Elizabeth 1762-1844.

When the 1841 Census was taken William Hobbs was living at Bradbourne with his wife Elizabeth Hobbs, his widowed mother-in-law Elizabeth Wright and his unmarried sister Mary Wright.

By 1851 he and his wife were living at Broomcroft in Didsbury, Manchester. Staying with them when the Census was taken in that year were his unmarried nephew Robert Hobbs (born in about 1829 at Stapleton in Gloucestershire) and a Canadian visitor William Whiteford (born in about 1820), a cotton manufacturer of Montreal.

A nephew (presumably Robert Hobbs) of "William Hobbs of Didsbury, Lancashire, an extensive cotton manufacturer of Spring Bank Mills, Stockport; Vale House Mills, Entwistle; and Gibraltar Mills, Ashton-under-Line, England ... came to Canada at the age of twenty, in 1851, joining the firm of W. Whiteford & Co., successors to the late Peter McGill & Co" (1).

On 3 April 1863 there died "at Broomcroft House, Didsbury, Manchester, after a long and painful illness, William Hobbs, Esq., aged 73, deeply lamented" (2).


(1) History and Biographical Gazetteer of Montreal to the Year 1892 J.D. Borthwick (1892) page 485. (Line should be Lyne and Entwistle should probably read Tintwistle.) Vale House Mill in Longdendale was built in 1775 by Samuel Oldknow, the first cotton spinning and weaving mill in Longdendendale, but by 1864 was owned by William Hobbs & Co. The extensive premises and village were bought by Manchester Corporation in that year and demolished for the construction of a reservoir : The Cotton Industry in Longdendale and Glossopdale T. Quayle (2206) page 126.

(2) Bristol Mercury 11 April 1863.