Thomas Hill JP (1825-1891)
27th Mayor of Bradford (1885-86)
Thomas Hill was born on 11 January 1825 within 100 yards from Bradford Town Hall, the youngest of 5 brothers to Jonas Hill, a builder and joiner, and his wife Olive, formerly of Heaton, then Bradford. Thomas was baptized on 9 February 1825 at St Peter (Bradford Cathedral). Jonas was born in 1782 and baptized on the 14 April at St Peter (Bradford Cathedral). Olive was born in 1785 in Wibsey, Bradford and baptised on 27 November 1785 to John, a Weaver and Mary. Jonas Hill married Olive Whitaker on 16 February 1809 at St Peter (Bradford Cathedral). Their children were Joseph bap. 2 August 1809, John bap. 18 February 1814, Joshua bap. 5 June 1816, Jonas bap. 15 April 1818, Olive bap. 21 April 1820, Eliza bap. 25 December 1822, Mary Ann bap. 14 February 1827, all at Bradford Cathedral – and of course Thomas!
In Oct-Dec 1839 John Hill married Sarah Moorhouse in Bradford. She was baptised on Christmas Day (25 December) 1816 at St Peter & St Leonard Church, Horbury, Wakefield.
In 1841 at Long Croft Place, Bradford was John Hill, his wife Sarah, their daughters Jane 4 b. 25 April 1837 in Bradford and bap. 21 June 1837 and Martha 1 b. 14 November 1839 and bap. on 9 February 1840, both in Bradford Cathedral.
In 1841 on the South side of St Paul’s Square, Dale Street, Liverpool, was Joshua Hill 25, a Clerk.
In 1841 at West Gate, Bradford was Jonas (Snr) Hill, a Joiner, with his wife Olive, son Jonas, also a Joiner, and daughters Olive, Eliza and Mary Ann. Olive passed away and was buried on 25 April 1842 at the Parish Church, Bradford (St Peter – Bradford Cathedral), aged 56.
Sarah Hill (nèe Moorhouse) died on 15 December 1846 in Bradford. She was buried in the Upper Chapel Congregational Old Cemetery, Idle, Bradford. John Hill remarried in Jan-Mar 1847 in Bradford to Hannah Wood who was bap. on 22 July 1818 in Bradford.
In 1848 Thomas joined the Freemasons.
In 1850 Jonas, Thomas’s father, died and Thomas and his brother Joshua took over the business.
In 1851 at 30 West Gate, Bradford was Joseph Hill, an Engine Maker, Locomotive Journeyman, his sister Eliza, Milliner, his brother Thomas, a Carpenter & Joiner employing 12 men, his sister Mary Ann and their nephew Joshua Hill 3 b. 1848 in Stanningley, the son of his brother Joshua. They had a female General Servant. Mary Ann passed away in June 1852 at Bradford.
In 1851 at 4 Arundle Street, Bradford, was John Hill 36, a Slater, with his wife Hannah and their 7 Children: Jane 13, Martha 11, plus by John’s first marriage: Joshua 9 b. 10 January 1842 bap. 11 September & Samuel 7 b. 24 June 1843 bap. 20 August, Scholars, then by John’s second marriage: Sarah 4, b. 25 January 1847, bap. 17 March, Jeremiah 2, b. Oct-Dec 1850 and Elizabeth Ann 0, b. 1 July 1850, bap. 18 September, all baptised in Bradford Cathedral.
In 1851 at the Nags Head Inn, Kirkgate, Bradford was Jonas Hill (Jnr), an Innkeeper, with his wife Elizabeth. They had 5 servants: Peter the Brewer and 4 House servants. Jonas Hill had married Elizabeth Crampton in Oct-Dec 1850 in Bradford. She was born in 1821 in Bradford but unfortunately died in April 1852 after giving birth to a daughter Eliza Olive in Jul-Sep 1851.
Joshua Hill, widower, a Surveyor of Kitchen Street, married Eleanor Taylor, Spinster of Bridgewater Street on 15 June 1851 in St Bride’s Church of England, Liverpool, Lancashire. His father was Jonas Hill, Builder deceased. Her father was George Taylor, Cart Owner, and mother Eleanor; she was bap. on 19 August 1827 in St Peter Church, Liverpool. [No reliable record could be found for Joshua’s first marriage]
About 1853 the partnership that Thomas was involved with was dissolved and Thomas carried it on alone for a number of years, finally transferring it in 1878 to his nephew, Joshua Hill.
On 12 December 1853 Jonas Hill, Innkeeper, was initiated into the Lodge of Hope, Bradford, No. 379. Certificates: 3 May 1854; Resigned in 1858.
Thomas was Worshipful Master of Hope Lodge in 1855 and also one of the key figures in the West Yorkshire Province, a Warden of the West Riding Province and Chairman of the Charity Committee.
Joshua Hill, of Toxteth, Liverpool and an Architect, and Eleanor had a daughter ‘Annie’ (formerly registered as Martha Ann) bap. on 25 August 1856.
In March 1860 Thomas was elected onto the Peel Park Committee.
In 1861 at 11 Manor Street, Bradford, was Thomas Hill, unmarried at 36, a Carpenter Master employing 12 men and a boy, with a Housekeeper and her husband, a Railway Engine Driver.
Also in 1861, at 180 Barkerend Road, Bradford, was Joseph Hill 51, a Surveyors Clerk and Hannah his wife 50 (46 really!), b. 23 April 1815 bap. 18 June 1815 at St John the Evangelist, Wortley, to John and Mary Burnley. Joseph and Hannah were married Oct-Dec 1852 in Leeds.
In 1861 at 62 Westgrove Street, Bradford, was John Hill 46, widower, a Slater, and his 11 Children: Jane 23, a Dressmaker, Martha 21, Joshua 19, a Slater, Samuel 17, a Plumber & Glazier, Sarah 14, Jeremiah 12, a Clerk in Register Office, Elizabeth Ann 10, and Ellen 9, b. 6 April 1852, bap. 23 June, Charles Henry 7, b. 29 September 1853, bap. 23 November and Harriet 5, b. 9 June 1855, bap. 24 October, Scholars, plus Clara Annie (or Anne) 3, b. 30 September 1857, bap. 4 November, all baptised in Bradford Cathedral. John’s wife Hannah had died between September and December 1859 in Bradford.
In 1861 at Rawlins Street, West Derby, Lancashire, was Joshua Hill 44, an Architect & Builder, with his wife Eleanor 33, residing with her father George Taylor 67, a Manager of House Proprietor, and (from Joshua’s first marriage) Joshua 14, bap.10 February 1848 (his father Joshua of Hurst Street, Liverpool, a Building Surveyor), and Joshua & Eleanor’s children Eleanor Eliza 2, b. 6 December 1858, bap. 8 February 1859 at St Peter’s Church, Liverpool, and Olivia b. 13 January 1861, bap. on 8 April, only 3 months old. They had a female General Servant. Lodging there were a 23-year-old Fund Holder and a 4-year-old girl.
Also in 1861, at 37A Kirkgate, Bradford, was Jonas Hill 42, Hotel Keeper with his second wife Sarah A Hill 28 b. 1833 in Leeds and Jonas’ daughter Eliza Olive Hill 9, a Scholar. They had a male servant, an Ostler, and two female House Servants, plus a Visitor, a Commercial Traveller in Worsted Stuffs. Jonas had married Sarah Ann Rishworth Jul-Sep 1857 in Tadcaster, Yorkshire. She was born on 23 July 1833 and baptized on 20 October 18333 in Leeds, St Peter (the Parish Church) to William, a Butcher, and Marie Rishworth of Edward Street, Leeds.
Also in 1861, at 119 North Parade, Manningham, Bradford, was Thomas Holgate 33 (b. 1828 in Dent, Yorkshire), Commercial Traveller in Soap and Eliza his wife 38, with a female House Servant. Eliza Hill and Thomas Holgate were married Jul-Sep 1857 in Bradford.
It was reported on 17 May 1865 that the partnership of Joshua Hill, Thomas Hill & John Hill at Cropper Lane, Bradford, Slaters, the firm known as Joshua Hill & Son, was dissolved as far as John Hill was concerned from 7 May 1863.
Thomas was a member of the Bradford Town Council for 25 years. First elected as a Councillor and one of the Conservative members for the West Ward in November 1866.
He was a ‘true blue’ Conservative. At the same time, he erected the hustings at Peckover Walks which would be attended by thousands; this was repeated in 1868.
In the year 1868/69 Thomas Hill attended 163 times the following Council Committees: Council, Finance & General Purposes, Building & Improvement and Waterworks. By 1874 he was still on those plus Markets & Fairs, Street Improvement and Watch.
At the Municipal Elections in October 1869, Thomas Hill, joiner & Builder of Manor Street, was again returned to represent the East Ward of Bradford.
Deputy Chairman of the Building & Improvement Committee for 1869, 1870 & 1871. In November 1871 Chairman of the committee set up specially to consider the best means for improvement of the Borough. In 1873 the great scheme for street improvement was adopted by the Council.
In 1871 at 6 Manor Street, Bradford, was Thomas Hill 46, a Carpenter employing 4 men, with a female Domestic Servant. Also, in 1871 at Aberford, Tadcaster, Yorkshire was Jonas Hill 52, Retired Innkeeper, his wife Sarah Ann 37, daughter Eliza 19, visitors Sophia Hill 22 & Olivia Hill 20, Jonas’ nieces, and a female Domestic Servant.
Also, in 1871 at 72 Salt Street, Manningham, Bradford was William Cookson 30, a Grocer, his wife Jane 33, Mary Ann 5, b. 1866 in Bradford, Edith 5 months old, so b. 1871 in Bradford, plus a Boarder Elizabeth Ann 20 and single, one of Jane’s younger sisters, a Worsted Stuff Maker. John Hill’s eldest daughter Jane married William Cookson in Oct-Dec 1865 in Bradford. He was born Jan-Mar 1841 in Bradford.
In May 1871 a meeting was held of those interested in the formation of a band of music to play in the parks on Saturday afternoons. It was decided to form a committee to raise subscriptions for this. Thomas Hill was a member.
In September 1871 Thomas Hill of 3 Spring Row, White Abbey Road, was advertising for 4 or 5 good plumbers. This continued into 1874 and beyond for 2 plumbers but from 17 Spring Row.
In December 1871 at a meeting in Glasgow of the shareholders of the Caledonian Railway, Thomas Hill (the Chairman) stated his view on the proposed amalgamation with the North British Railways. After considerable discussion, the motion, to apply to Parliament to sanction the amalgamation, was carried. (There were only two dissenting votes)
Elected as an Alderman in 1872, Thomas filled that office for 6 years. In 1874 he presided over the South Ward.
Joshua Hill, Architect, died aged 56 on 13 May 1872 at 16 Vere Street, Ripley Villas, Bowling, Bradford. He was Clerk of Works at the New Grammar School Buildings and at the new Church in Hall Lane. He died suddenly from a fit of apoplexy, after suffering for some time with disease of the heart and asthma. He left Eleanor his wife and Annie his daughter. The Inquest by the County Coroner concluded that he died of natural causes. He had spent many years in Liverpool until March 1871.
In May 1873 Thomas was contracted to be the Slater of the new Wesleyan Chapel in Otley Road, Bradford when the foundation stone was laid.
In September 1873 the Mayor gave a grand ball in celebration of the opening of the Town Hall in St George’s Hall. Thomas and his son Joseph with his wife Hannah attended.
In March 1874 Thomas Hill presided over the candidates for the Drighlington School Board.
In April 1875 at the Bradford Church Institute meeting, it was reported that Thomas Hill had donated £25 to the building fund.
On 18 September 1875 Jonas Hill, formerly of Clarendon Place, Manningham, Bradford but late of Aberford, Gentleman, died at Aberford, Tadcaster. Probate on 12 February 1876 at Wakefield was proved by Thomas Hill of Bradford, Builder, the surviving Executor.
In February 1876 Thomas Hill sold a strip of land for £880 for street improvements.
In April 1877 at the annual meeting of the Provincial Grand Lodge of West Yorkshire Freemasons held in the Bradford Church Institute, under a banner of the Pentalpha Lodge, No. 974, the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master stated that Freemasonry in Bradford had developed under two previous chairmen of their Charity Committee, Brother Manoah Rhodes and Brother Thomas Hill, Masonic prosperity and success which placed Freemasonry of West Yorkshire on a footing unsurpassed by any other province in the Grand lodge of England.
In June 1879, the proposal to erect a new post office at the junction of Bolton Road and Well Street, was adopted as the motion of Alderman West, seconded by Alderman Thomas Hill.
In April 1880, Alderman Thomas Hill seconded the motion that an additional entrance and footpath to Peel Park be made at the junction of Idle Road and Lister Lane.
In 1881, still at 6 Manor Street, was Thomas Hill 56, an Alderman (Retired Builder) with two female servants, a Housekeeper and a General Servant.
Also, in 1881 at St Thomas Villa, Thorp Arch, Wetherby, Yorkshire was Sarah Ann Hill 47, widow, with her niece Maria Smart Rishworth 7, Scholar, born in Aberford, with a visitor Elizabeth Wood 49 from Leeds and a female General Servant.
In October 1881, Thomas Hill, plumber, of 17 Spring Row, White Abbey Road, offered a Shop to let with a beer licence. He was the owner of a considerable amount of warehouse property.
On 22 June 1882 the Prince & Princess of Wales visited Bradford. Thomas Hill was one of the Aldermen at the Reception and taking in local landmarks e.g., Lister Park, Manningham Lane, Town Hall, etc. The Technical School was opened by His Royal Highness with a gold key. [The prince was the future Edward VII and the Princess was Alexandra of Denmark]
In October 1882 a dinner to the mayor (Alderman John Hill) was held at the Victoria Hotel by the Corporation, the attendance being larger than expected at similar gatherings. Alderman Thomas Hill presided, with the guest of the evening on his right and the Deputy Mayor Alderman Holden on his left, supported by many worthies e.g., Titus Salt.
In September 1884, Alderman Thomas Hill moved for the acceptance by the Committee of the tender by Messrs. Thomas Clough & Son for the work required in widening Allerton Road for £2016 5s 3d as part of the Street Improvements Plan for Bradford.
In 1885-86 he filled the office of Mayor with much credit, but for March & April 1886 he was ordered to Torquay on health grounds along with other notables who were similarly “under the weather”.
In November 1885 Alderman Thomas Hill, the Mayor of Bradford, was inducted to the borough bench as Chief Magistrate of the town. A better selection could not have been made.
In June 1886 at the funeral of the architect Mr. T G Andrews, representatives of the Freemasons’ Lodge of Hope, of which he was a member, preceded the hearse, among them was the Mayor, Alderman Thomas Hill, the Grand Master.
In October 1886, Thomas Hill, Mayor, opened a drinking fountain at Horton Park at which a large number of persons attended. He also opened the Girlington Christian Mission Bazaar to raise funds towards the debt on the new iron church in Thornton Road; he contributed £5.
A Churchman, member of the Parish Church through all his life. The work of restoring the Parish Church was performed by him; at its opening he presented the pulpit constructed by himself from some of the old oak pews.
In April 1887 at the Bradford Nurse’s Institution, the Committee gave thanks to the late Mayor (Alderman Thomas Hill) for a donation of £5.
Thomas was appointed JP in 1888.
In 1891, now at Royd House, 222 Manningham Lane, Bradford was Thomas Hill 66, a JP (Retired Builder) with his nephew from Bradford and niece from Gravesend, Kent, William H Ibbotson and Sophia Ibbotson (40 & 41 respectively), he a Lithographic Printer. They had two female servants, a Cook and a Housemaid.
Also, in 1891 at 95 Whetley Hill, Manningham, Bradford, was Sarah Hill 57, widow.
Thomas Hill of Royd House, Manningham Lane, died on 2 October 1891. His health had been declining over the previous two years and in the last week he was confined to bed. The funeral service was held on the 6 October 1891 at the Parish Church after which his remains were interred at Undercliffe Cemetery. The coffin was of oak, lined in lead and had brass furnishings. The breastplate had the inscription ‘Thomas Hill. Died 2 October 1891, aged 66 years.’ Mr Joshua Hill was the undertaker. Mourners were Mr & Mrs William H Ibbotson, Mr Jonas Hill, Mr John Hill, Mrs Caswell, Mr & Mrs Joshua Hill, Mr Amos Hill, Mr George H Hill, Mrs Jonas Hill, plus W C Lupton & Horace Waud. There was also a large number of Freemasons, not only of Bradford but also Shipley, Bingley & Eccleshill, plus the Deputy Provincial Grand Master of West Yorkshire; members of the Corporation e.g., Alderman John Hill. 50 constables headed the procession from Manningham Lane under the supervision of two Superintendents. Many Gentlemen sent their private carriages, including The Mayor, Sir Henry Mitchell, etc.
The grave can be found on the main promenade looking West [or towards the City] from the area where the Chapels were on the left, it is situated about two-thirds of the way down on the right.
Some controversy and debate ensued as to who should fill the vacancy on the Alderman Bench caused by the death of Thomas Hill. A deciding majority was for Thomas Priestley.
Probate was held at Wakefield on 9 November 1891. The will with a Codicil of Thomas Hill, late of Royd House, Manningham Lane, Bradford, Gentleman, who died on 2 October 1891 at Royd House, was proved by Mr Francis Healey of Tyrrel Street, Bradford, Architect, Mr Francis Haley of Bowling, Bradford, Agent, and Mr William Charles Lupton of Bradford, Wine & Spirit Merchant, the Executors.
In his will he left 50 guineas to the Bradford Tradesmen’s Benevolent Institution, the Royal Masonic Institution and the Royal Masonic Institution for Aged Freemasons, the Eye & Ear Hospital, the Children’s Hospital, the Royal Institution for Girls and the Parish Church School, plus 100 guineas to Bradford infirmary and 20 £5 shares in the Bradford Masonic Hall Company to the Lodge of Hope No. 302. The residue of his estate (greater than £50K) to be distributed to his nephews & nieces. The Executors were Mr Francis Healey & Mr W C Lupton. Personal Estate: £24,845 1s 1d. [£3.36M in today’s money]
Research by David Broomfield – May 2022