Alderman William Moulson JP (1825-1904)
30th Mayor of Bradford 1888-89
William Moulson was born on 30 November 1825 at Holme Top, Horton, Bradford and baptised on 25 December, the son of John Moulson b. 1798 in Bradford and Sarah Holdsworth b. 1799 in Thornton Dale, Rydale, North Yorkshire, who were married on the 4th September 1820 in Bradford.
William married Mary Speed (b. 1828, Leeds) on 27 February 1848 at Westgate Chapel, Bradford.
In 1851 living at 34 Little Horton Green, Bradford was William (24) a Stonemason & Builder and a farmer of 5 acres, his wife Mary (24) and their son Angus (1) b. Jan-Mar 1850 in Horton, Bradford. They had another son Henry Speed Moulson b. Apr-Jun 1855 in Bradford who unfortunately died on 4 July 1856 and was buried in Undercliffe Cemetery.
By 1861 they had moved a couple of houses to number 30 Little Horton Green; there was William, now a Contractor, his wife Mary, their son Angus who is now a scholar, plus Rufus (9) b. 1852, Edith (3) b. Oct-Dec 1857, John b. Apr-Jun 1859, Hugh Robert b. Jan-Mar 1861 who unfortunately died Jan-Mar 1863 and was a twin to Dora Annie b. 10 January 1861, all born in Horton, Bradford. They also had an 18-year-old female House Servant from Ireland. They also had another son William Speed Moulson b. Apr-Jun 1864 in Bradford who unfortunately died Jul-Sep 1864 just months old.
In 1871 they were still residing in Horton Green, William, now a Builder & Contractor employing 110 men and 10 ‘Lads’, his wife Mary, sons Angus and Rufus, both Builders Clerks, with daughter Edith, son John and daughter Dora Annie, plus Beatrice Ireland Moulson (6) b. Apr-Jun 1864 and Archibald (5) b. Jul-Sep 1865 – all Scholars – and Sarah (1) b. Oct-Dec 1869, all in Bradford.
William first sat on the Bradford Town Council in 1877 representing the Bowling Ward.
By 1881 they had acquired the house next door (number 29 Horton Green) where William and Mary were living with their children Rufus, a Stone Merchant, Edith, John, a Builder, Dora, Beatrice, Archibald & Sarah, both Scholars, and now another daughter Susan Mary born Oct-Dec 1873 in Bradford. They also had a female Domestic Servant aged 19 from Middlesborough.
So where was their son Angus?
We find him living at 4 Giles Street, Horton, in 1881, a Master Builder, with his wife Lydia with their son William Rufus Moulson (1) b. Apr-Jun 1880 in Horton. William had married Lydia Womersley between April and June 1879 in Bradford. Lydia was the daughter of Charles Womersley, an Overlooker of Mohair and Alpaca Manufactory, and his wife Elizabeth born Apr-Jun 1856 in Saltaire, Bradford; Lydia was one of 5 daughters and a son living at 48 George Street, Shipley, Bradford.
In December 1881 the contract for the Otley Road School extension was awarded to Messrs. J. Moulson & Son for the sum of £900. Also, negotiations started on a contract for Carlton Street Board School for Boys & Girls to be erected near to the Technical College to provide education for 1500 scholars. Messrs. John Moulson & Son were awarded the contract and executed the mason’s and joiners’ work, sub-contracting the work for plumbers, glaziers & painters, plasterers and slaters. The school opened on 18 August 1883 at a cost of £19,300.
In 1883 William was elevated to Alderman, the position he filled until 1892.
On 9 November 1888 William filled the office of Mayor of the City of Bradford, completing his term in office in 1889.
During his civic career he was a member of the Building Committee, Waterworks Committee, Tramways Committee, Parks Committee, Baths Committee, Gas & Electricity Committee and Street Improvement Committee.
In 1891, still residing in Horton Green, William, now a Magistrate, Builder & Contractor, and his wife Mary, were living with their children Archibald (a Builder & Contractor), Dora, Beatrice, Sarah and Susan Mary. They still had the same female General Domestic Servant.
So where were Rufus, Edith and John?
We find Rufus living in Toller Lane, Manningham, Bradford, in 1891, a Builder & Contractor, with his wife Hannah and their sons William Henry Smithies (19), an Apprentice Chemist, and Arthur Smithies (18), a Scholar. They had an 18-year-old female Domestic Servant from Barnsley. Rufus had married Hannah Smithies Oct-Dec 1884 in Bradford.
In 1891 we find Edith at Merton Road, Horton, Bradford, with her husband Thomas Campbell, a Stuff Merchants Clerk, b. Jan-Mar 1853 in Bradford, with their 4 sons and 2 daughters: Winifred Margaret b. 1882, Herbert Malcolm b. 1884, Thomas Duncan b. 1885, William Gordon b. 1887, Arthur Douglas b. 1888, all born in Manningham, Bradford – and Constance May b. 1891 in Horton. They had an 18-year-old female Domestic Servant from Saltburn, Yorkshire. Edith had married Thomas Campbell Apr-Jun 1881 in Bradford.
Similarly, in 1891, John is residing at Grantham Terrace, Horton, a Manager Builder, with his wife Emma and their 2-year-old daughter Elsie b. 1889 in Bradford. They had a 17-year-old female Domestic Servant from Rotherham, Yorkshire. John had married Emma Bower between October and December 1887 in Bradford. Emma was b. Oct-Dec 1866 in Bradford.
William’s wife Mary died Jan-Mar 1892 in Bradford age 63.
The Cleckheaton Disaster: 14 people died when a chimney at Marsh Mills, Liversedge fell on the 24 February 1892. Alderman Moulson gave evidence at the Inquest on 12 March 1892. One of the bricklayers of Messrs. Moulson & Sons under the instructions of Mr. Rufus Moulson went to the site where the chimney fell to repair it. Their findings were described to the inquest.
During the 21 years of his civic career, William was a member of Bradford City Council, 11 years of which was with the Corporation; he stepped down in 1898.
In 1901 William Moulson was residing at 30 Little Horton Lane, Horton Green, a widower and a Retired Builder, with his daughters Beatrice, Sarah & Susan. He still had the same female General Domestic Servant.
So, what happened to Dora and Archibald?
Dora Annie Moulson, spinster, of 30 Little Horton-green, Bradford, died on 19 July 1906, age 45. Probate on 7 November at Wakefield was granted to Angus Moulson & Archibald Moulson, Contractors, and Beatrice Ireland Moulson, spinster. Effects: £4945 0s 5d.
Archibald Moulson, in 1901, was residing at 31 Horton Grange Road, Bradford, a Joiner & Builder (a Builder & Employer in 1911), with his wife Elizabeth and their daughter Evelyn Mary b. Jul-Sep 1898 and son Frederick William b. Jul-Sep 1899, both in Bradford. Archibald had married Elizabeth Seward Jul-Sep 1897 in Holker, Ulverston, Lancashire, where she was born in Jul-Sep 1874. Unfortunately, their son Frederick died Apr-Jun 1901 in Bradford just 1 year old. They went on to have another son and 2 more daughters, requiring the hiring of a Nursemaid and a General Domestic Servant.
Alderman William Moulson died on 17 November 1904 in Bradford age 78. He had an apoplectic seizure two weeks previously and finally a fatal attack of bronchitis. Death took place at the old mansion at Horton Green. “A busy life ended”. Probate at Wakefield was held on the 13 January 1905 on William Moulson of Little Horton-green, Bradford, Stone Merchant & Contractor. Granted to his sons Angus Moulson & John Moulson, Contractors and John Mitchell, Gentleman. Effects: £18455 8s 2d. [£2,294,770 in todays’ currency]
He was a Baptist (Congregationalist) and a Liberal in politics; in business with his brother Miles as building & contractors. The business (John Moulson & Son) in its time held some very important contracts in Bradford and the surrounding district, one of them being the erection of the block of mill property in Springmill Street for Sir Henry William Ripley. Others were the erection of Britannia Mills in Manchester Road for Messrs. Christopher Wand & Co., a section of the Bowling Tunnel on the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway, a large portion of the works at Saltaire and the Congregational Church. During his life there were two events of importance: He hosted the visit of the Shah of Persia to Bradford and he led the opening of the Nutter Orphanage for Boys.
Research by: David Broomfield – January 2022