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History

Harris Family

On the 5th June 1778 Jane Peckover, the sister of Edmund, Jonathan and Joseph Peckover of Fakenham, Norfolk, married Richard Harris corn trader and seeds man from London. This marriage connected the future generations of these two families. The marriage took place in Hendon.

The families would come together to form an important banking company in Bradford.

Richard Harris born on 29 August 1751 was the son of Robert and Elizabeth (nee Cross). Robert was originally from Hampshire and was a mercer but Elizabeth’s family was from London where her father was a hat seller and haberdasher.

Richard Harris

Richard became a corn merchant and seeds man which he practiced in Walworth area and where he and Jane raised twelve children:

Richard Peckover (1779 -1846), Mary Ann,(1780-1809), Charles(1782-1847),Jane(1783-1852),Sarah(1787-1875)(Grave No. D332), Edward (1787-1852), Henry (1789-1872)(Grave No. D332), Lydia(1791-1884), Susannah (1792-1847), Priscilla (1795-1825), Carolina(1798-1875) and Alfred(1801-1880).

It was Charles, Alfred and Henry who came to Bradford together with their sister Sarah who was a minister at the Friends Meeting House. She ended her days living at Eldon Place dying 7 March 1873. be apprenticed to John Hustler, another Quaker who was a woolstapler and a highly influential townsman.

Edmund Peckover established what became known as The Bradford Old Bank in 1795 and his nephew Charles Harris joined him in the concern in 1803 when the bank became known as Peckover, Harris & Co. Following Edmund Peckover’s death, Charles brother Henry was admitted in 1812 and in 1824, Alfred, the youngest of the Harris sons was admitted and the bank acquired a further name of Harris’s Bank.

After Edmund’s death, Charles moved into Eastbrook House which was still in a part of Bradford which was deemed pleasant with its serpentine lake, gardens and woodland. The estate extended to include land on which Eastbrook Chapel was built in Leeds Road. Charles was one of the originators of the Friends School in Chapel Street, the first of its kind in Bradford.

He also provided the building for the first Dispensary at the junction of Peckover Street and High Street (now Barkerend Road).

Charles moved away to Fulford Grange, York where he died in 1847. His brother Henry and cousin Daniel Peckover moved into Eastbrook House both being bachelors. They had previously occupied a house in Great Horton where the Harris’ owned a mill. Daniel eventually moved away to a house at Woodhall, Calverley.

Henry removed from Eastbrook in favour of a comfortable house at the bottom of Cheapside (then called Skinner Lane) opposite the Old Bank Premises which faced onto Kirkgate. In 1825 there was a banking crisis which saw the failure of one of the leading local banks Wentworth Challoner & Rishworth, also known as the Wakefield Bank. The bank had a branch on Market Street. Luckily, The Old Bank survived and there was such confidence in the Harris’ that local townsmen of note issued a circular that stated:

Bradford Old Bank
December 12th 1825

We, the undersigned, are desirous to express our entire confidence in the perfect stability of the Bank of C., H., and A. Harris of this town, and and are not only ready to accept in payment any of their notes, but offer our united guarantee for the safety and respectability of the firm.

There followed forty-two names of either individuals or firms in support of the statement.

Henry took up residence at Heaton Hall. He was the first tenant of the hall after Lady Rosse left. He was very popular in Heaton for his cheerful disposition and his charitable works to help the poor. Although he was a Quaker, he attended The Parish Church, Bradford and had pews in both Heaton Baptist Church and Heaton Wesleyan Church as well as St Barnabas’ Church. As Quaker’s and Non-conformists were still not always accepted into the professions and offices of Government, it was prudent to become members of other churches. In fact in 1840, Alfred, the youngest brother, his wife and daughter, Anna Jane were all baptised at Bradford’s Parish Church.

In 1864 the Old Bank became a joint-stock company and Henry remained as a director. In 1869, Henry purchased an estate called Longwood (at Bingley) where he lived until his death in 1872. Henry never married.

The youngest son, Alfred erected his own house at Spring Lodge which is memorialized in the street name Springlodge Place. At the time of building, his house was quite isolated.

Like his brother Henry, Alfred kept an interest in the Old Bank and after it became a joint-stock company he was the chairman of the directorate until his death in 1880.

Alfred was the best remembered for his philanthropy. He donated £4000 towards the building of the Bradford Fever Hospital. In 1873 when the fund was struggling Alfred increased his subscription to £30.

In 1835, Alfred married Anna Dearman and they had three daughters, Anna Jane, Sophia and Emily Priscilla. Anna Jane never married and died in 1900. Sophia also did not marry and spent her final years in Hampshire. In 1865 Emily Priscilla married William Busfield (Gentleman) son of Johnson Atkinson Busfield of Upwood, Bingley, William would later take the name of Ferrand. William was a solicitor and the family settled at The Hills near Bingley Grammar School. In 1881, the family was living with William’s family. William was a Magistrate whilst his father was the magistrate and treasurer of the County Court. William and Emily P had two children; Emily Ann (born about 1867) and William Harris (born about 1873. Emily Priscilla died in 1881 at Morland hall, Westmorland days after giving birth to her second son, Guy. William remarried and had further children.

Alfred was politically a Conservative and stood as a candidate in 1859 but was unsuccessful. He moved to an estate at Ryshworth Bingley where in 1861 he was described as Banker, Deputy Lieutenant and magistrate. He moves to Slenningford and thereafter to Oxton Hall, near Tadcaster.

Alfred Harris junior, (son of Edward Harris, the brother of Charles, Henry Alfred) had settled in Kirkby Lonsdale and from 1850 became a partner of The Old Bank. When it became a joint-stock company he became the managing director.

Sources:

Weekly Bradford Telegraph 1 March 1873.
Photograph courtesy for John Owen.
Baptism, marriage records,
Bradford Weekly Telegraph

Deborah Stirling, Researcher

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