Commissioner, Alderman and 10th Mayor of Bradford 1863-64; one of the founders of the Mechanics Institute.
Joseph Farrar was born in 1805 and baptised at St John Church on the 3rd December 1805 in Halifax, the son of Edward Farrar (a Grocer in Wakefield) born in 1782 and his wife Mary Hinchliffe born in 1787 and baptised on 27 April 1787 in Halifax. Edward & Mary married by Licence at St. John Church , Halifax on the 7th March 1803.
After serving his Apprenticeship as a linen draper in Halifax, he started his own business when 21 years old (in 1826) as a hatter at the top of Kirkgate, Bradford. The following year he married by Licence Lydia Barraclough (born in 1804 in Bradford) on 24 July 1827 in Bradford.
Joseph subsequently became Agent for the West of England Fire Insurance Company.
Prompted by the success of the London Mechanics Institute he made an attempt for Bradford. After some initial opposition the Bradford Mechanics Institute was inaugurated on the 27 January 1832. Mr. Farrar was one of the Secretaries and he held this position for 17 years. In 1840 the Institute established itself in its own building at the junction of Leeds Road and Well Street.
Mr. Farrar distinguished himself above everybody in his support of this facility for the working classes. In recognition of this and for his involvement in the Exhibition he was awarded with a silver inkstand and a portrait of him was handed to the Institution.
In 1841 Joseph, a Hatter, and Lydia were residing in Kirkgate, Bradford, both aged 35 and a Baptist family whose children were George Henry 13 (born in 1828 and baptised on 20 June 1828 at Westgate Baptist, Bradford), Elizabeth (aka Eliza) 11 (born in 1830 and baptised on 7 January 1830 in Bradford) , Sarrahane (Sarah Ann?) 7 (born in 1833 and baptised on 11 September 1833 in Bradford), Mary Hannah 6 (born in 1835 and baptised on 17 June 1835 in Bradford) and Joseph Barraclough 2 (born between April and June 1839 in Bradford), plus two live-in female servants.
His wife Lydia died between April and June 1843 in Leeds and he remarried between April and June 1850 Jane Atha Ellis in Wakefield. She was the daughter of Thomas Ellis and Jane Atha who was born in 1779 and baptised on 18 March 1779 at All Saints Church, Wakefield and they married on 2 February 1813 in St John Church, Wakefield.
In 1851 Joseph and his new wife Jane were residing at 67 North Parade, Bradford, he aged 45 and an Alderman, Agent for an Insurance Company and a Hatter employing his son and an errand boy, she (now Jane Atha Farrar) aged 37 and born in 1814 and baptised on 20 January 1814 in Wakefield along with their children (or step-children) all born in Bradford: George Henry age 22 with occupation stated as ‘In a Hatters Shop [not Manufacturing]”, Sarah Ann age 17, Mary Hannah age 15 and a Scholar. Then there was Jane Ellis aged 72 born in 1779 in Wakefield, a widow and Mother-in-law. They also employed two live-in servants. Joseph Barraclough their son was not with the family as he was a Scholar at Benton Park School on Harrogate Road, Rawdon, Leeds (which is still there today!). Tragically he died between January and March 1853 in Bradford aged 14.
On the 1 May 1856 at the annual meeting of the Bradford Mechanics Institute Mr. Joseph Farrar, president of the institute, was in the chair as no one was more deserving of that honour who had given more time and attention to the Institution than any other man. Joseph Farrar was then appointed as a vice-president for the ensuing year.
At a Bradford Town Council meeting in November 1859 Joseph Farrar was promoted from Councillor to Alderman.
In 1861 Joseph and his second wife Jane were now residing at Atha Villa, Toller Lane, Bradford, he aged 55 and an Alderman & Insurance Agent, she (Jane Atha) aged 47 along with just their daughter Mary H. age 25 and Jane Ellis aged 82, a widow and Joseph’s Mother-in-law. They now employed four live-in servants.
His attention then turned to the progress of Bradford and he was chosen to be one of the Commissioners. He was an Alderman of the North Ward for many years; his attendance at meetings of the 13 Aldermen was the highest. He served the office of Mayor in 1863-64. He was active and earnest in promoting measures in the Town Council for the improvement of the borough and he was made the medium, by Mr. S.C. Lister, of conveying to the Corporation the offer to sell Manningham Park to the Corporation, which resulted in the purchase of the park for £40,000, Mr. Lister valuing that beautiful domain at £60,000. He sat on the bench as a Magistrate for a long period. He was much esteemed for his business acumen.
On the 19 January 1864 Joseph Farrar, as Mayor of Bradford, was writing to the Queen and the Prince & Princess of Wales congratulations on the birth of a Prince. [Obviously, the queen was Queen Victoria, the Prince of Wales was Edward VII & the Princess of Wales was Princess Alexandra of Denmark, and the prince was Prince Albert Victor who was born on the 8 January 1864]
On the 9th August 1864 Lord Palmerston the Prime Minister paid a visit to Bradford and Joseph Farrar as Mayor of Bradford played a large part, giving a formal address to the Lord.
In 1869 Joseph was ‘on the Bench’ (Bradford Borough Court) hearing various cases e.g. of fraud.
On 10 August 1870 the foundation stone for the Town Hall was laid in an elaborate ceremony attended by all the prominent members of the community – including Joseph Farrar.
In 1871 Joseph & Jane were residing in Oak Royd, Manningham, Bradford, he now 65 and just an Insurance Agent and Jane 57, along with their daughter Mary H. 35. They still employed four live-in servants (one a Coachman).
In March 1877 Joseph was suddenly struck down with severe illness after having a paralytic stroke which almost deprived him of the use of his side.
Joseph Farrar died on 28 May 1878 in his 72nd year at his residence Oakroyd, Manningham, Bradford. His funeral was held on 3rd June 1878 at St. Paul’s Church, Manningham. The cortège led by 100 police then set off for Undercliffe Cemetery where he was buried in the Non-conformist part of the cemetery next to two other Mayors, Robert Milligan (the first mayor) and Henry Brown (the 7th mayor).
In July 1878 at the monthly meeting of the Bradford Town Council, a vote of condolence to Mr. Joseph Farrar’s widow and family was passed, as few men had done more for the benefit of the town.
In 1881 Jane was now 67 and still residing in Oak Royd, Manningham, Bradford with her daughter Mary H. 45. They employed three live-in servants: a Cook, a Sewing Maid and a House Maid.
In 1891 Mary H. was 55 and residing at 1 Oak Royd, Manningham Lane and living on her own means with two live-in servants: a Companion & Domestic Servant and a General Domestic Servant. So where was Jane residing? She was now at No. 4 Tradesmens Homes, Manningham aged 77 and an Annuitant living alone on her own means. [There were 43 such Tradesmens Homes along with a Secretary’s House, generally housing one to three people in each.]
Joseph Farrar’s wife Jane died age 79 between July and September 1895 in Huddersfield, Yorkshire.
So what happened to his family?
Josephs’ son George Henry Farrar kept on the old shop at Kirkgate. He married Margaret Clegg (born 1834 in Bradford) between April and June 1859 in Bradford and went on to have three children, Catherine Elizabeth born between January and March 1860 in Bradford, Joseph Barraclough born between April and June 1864 in Bradford and Emily Gertrude born between April and June 1871 in Bradford. Catherine married Thomas Howard (born 1855 in South Belgravia, Middlesex, London) between July and September 1890 in Bradford.
In August 1857 at the Bradford Flower Show, George H. Farrar gave a hat of value 10s. 6d. as a prize to a Cottager for being 2nd. for 3 roses.
In 1861 George Henry, 32, a Hatter employing one boy and his wife Margaret, 27, were residing at 183 Greenfield Place, Manningham, Bradford with their daughter Catherine Elizabeth, 1.
By 1871 they had moved to 4 Blenheim Road, Manningham, George now 42 and a Master Retail Hat Dealer employing one female Assistant and one errand boy, and his wife Margaret 37 with Catherine now 11 and a scholar, Joseph 6 and also a scholar plus Emily just 1 month old. They had living-in servants: a General Domestic servants, a Hat Shop Sales Woman and a Monthly Nurse.
In May 1874 George H. Farrar of Manningham, hatter, was sworn in on the Grand Jury at the Court House, Bradford.
By 1881 they had moved to 2 Marlborough Terrace, Manningham, George now 52 and a Hatter & Insurance Agent employing 2 men and one boy, and his wife Margaret 47 with Catherine now 21, Joseph 16 and a scholar plus Emily now 10 and also a scholar. They had living-in servants: a Domestic Cook and a Domestic Housemaid.
In 1891 George now 62 and a Hatter & Insurance Agent, was a boarder at the Lunatic Asylum in Lawrence Street, St. Lawrence, York, Yorkshire. WE HAVE FOUND OUR MAD HATTER!!!
In 1891 Georges’ wife Margaret now 57 was still at Marlborough Terrace with Emily now 20 plus Catherine 31 residing with her husband Thomas Howard 36 a Chartered Accountant and a live-in General Domestic Servant. Joseph now 26 and a Solicitor was visiting the family of Charles Caird an Insurance Agent at Ryecroft Street, Osset, Dewsbury, Yorkshire.
In 1901 Georges’ wife Margaret now 67 and living on her own means was still at 2 Marlborough Terrace with Emily now 29 and a live-in General Domestic Servant. George Henry himself was nowhere to be found in England, however in the Electoral Roll for Bradford in 1901 he was still listed as the owner of 1 & 2 Marlborough Terrace.
George Henry Farrar, aged 73, died between July and September 1901 at Great Ouseburn, Yorkshire. In the 5 December 1901 edition of the Leeds Mercury there was an entry regarding the will and estate of the late Mr. George Henry Farrar of Marlborough Terrace, Bradford, who died in September last. He left £27, 227. 5s. 10d. (gross), including £14, 201. 18s. net personalty [personal property; not real estate]. His wife during widowhood is to have an annuity of £200, or if she marry again of £50.
Between April and March 1902 at Ulverston, Lancashire, Emily Gertrude (now 31) married Thomas John Stables age 37, born in 1865 in Hooton Pagnall, Yorkshire.
In 1911 Emily (40) & Thomas (46), a Poultry Breeder & Exhibitor, were living in Burton, Westmorland [now Burton-in-Kendal, Cumbria] on his own account and means with her mother Margaret Farrar age 77 and a widow, their daughter Marguerite 8 and son John Norman 6 plus a Mother’s Help and a General Domestic Servant.
Margaret Farrar (George Henry’s wife) , aged 78, died between July and September 1912 at Kendall, Westmorland.
Josephs’ daughter Elizabeth married John F King between October and December 1850 in Bradford and went on to have four children, Joseph Farrar King born between April and June 1853 in Bradford, Eliza Anne born between October and December 1854 in Bradford, Ellen born between April and June 1855 in Salford, Lancashire and Clara Louisa born between April and June 1856 in Bradford but tragically died on 5 February 1871 aged 15.
Josephs’ daughter Sarah Ann married George Holliday Ramsden (born in 1830 and baptised on 27 August 1830 in Bradford, the son of Thomas and Mary) between January and March 1863 in Bradford and went on to have eight children:
Sarah Elizabeth born on 20 February 1855 in Bradford and baptised on 19 September 1856 in Bradford Cathedral (St. Peter)
Martha Ann born on 7 February 1857 in Bradford and baptised on 25 March 1857 in Bradford Cathedral (St. Peter)
John Wood born on 8 March 1860 in Shipley and baptised on 13 May 1860 in Bradford Cathedral (St. Peter)
George’s birth registered between January and March 1862 in Bradford Registration District (Shipley?)
Fred between January and March 1865 in Bradford
Hannah between January and March 1867 in Bradford
Harry between July and September 1868 in Bradford and
Herbert between January and March 1871 in Bradford.
In the 1871 Census they were living at 38 & 39 Titus Street (a Butchers Shop), Saltaire, Shipley – and still evidence of it being a shop today! – with little Herbert only 4 months old and Sarah’s husband George H. Ramsden being a butcher by trade. Martha Ann was a Mill Hand and John Wood, George & Fred were Scholars. Hannah & Harry were only 4 and 2 years old, so too young for school. George, Sarah, Sarah Elizabeth and Martha Ann all gave their birthplace as Bradford, Yorkshire; John Wood was entered as Shipley; and George, Fred, Hannah, Harry and Herbert were all given as Saltaire.
Tragically little Herbert died either between October and December in 1871 or between October and December in 1874 aged 0 or 3 respectively. [Unable to distinguish which.]
1881 finds them still at 38 & 39 Titus Street, Saltaire Village, Shipley, George now 51 but still a Butcher, Sarah now 48 but only 6 of their children: Martha 24, John 21 and a Butcher, George 18 and also a butcher plus Fred 16 and also a Butcher! Then there was Hannah 14 and Harry 12 and – yes! – another Butcher! Now we know that little Herbert had passed away but what happened to Sarah Elizabeth? Unfortunately she too passed away between October and December 1865 in Bradford.
Research by David Broomfield – June 2019