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  • James Fairclough - Saw Mill
  • James Fairclough - Saw Mill
  • James Fairclough - Saw Mill
Grade L

James Fairclough - Saw Mill

King Street, Wigan, Wigan

Listed Date: 00/00/0000
Part of Group:
At Risk: No


James Fairclough was born in 1806 and became an indentured joiner/carpenter.

In 1841 James was living with his widowed mother in Rodney Street along with his wife Alice and four children.

He had sound business acumen and by 1851 he had set up his own business, in King Street, employing 5 apprentices and 36 men.

The business consisted of a building company and an adjacent Saw Mill. James became a prolific builder winning many contracts such as:-

1851 - Theatre Royal (King Street)

1853 - Public Hall (King Street)

1855 - 1857 - Ince Cemetery Chapels

1855 - 1857 - Wigan Workhouse (Frog Lane)

1856 - St. Patrick's School

1862 - Christ Church (Ince Parish Church)

1868 - The Old Town Hall (Borough Courts & Offices) - King Street

By 1861 James was employing 68 men and 6 boys, considered to be a  major building company  in the Wigan area.

 In the late 1850's, James and his partner son Charles Horace built themselves a prestigious family house "The Hollies" on Wigan Lane, adjacent to the Plantation Gates.

James was elected to the Town Council in 1850 and continued to represent the All Saints' Ward for 12 years. In 1862 he was chosen as an alderman of the borough from which office he retired in 1865, on successfully tendering for the erection of the Borough Courts, He also became a JP and whilst health permitting took his share in all the important duties of the bench.

Due to failing health in 1876, James transferred sole ownership of Fairclough & Son to his son, Charles Horace.

In 1868,  Charles Horace married Mary Cecilia, the eldest daughter of John Taylor, colliery owner, of Strickland House, Standish. Charles Horace eventually relinquished the building business and became the Chairman and major shareholder in the Oldfield Brewery Company, also he was the proprietor of Worthington Hall Collieries in Standish.

From the 1899 Council Minutes, there appears to be an exchange of land between Charles Horace, John Worswick, and the Council in Library Street and other locations in the immediate area.

Charles Horace was a resident of Southport for many years, he died in 1900 at the Clarence Hotel, Llandudno, in his will he left £36,489.


On the death of James in 1877, "The Hollies" was sold to Sir Thomas Ratcliffe Ellis, subsequently became the prep school of the Notre Dame Convent in Standishgate.

Peter Fleetwood 2021

Sources: Wigan Archives, Wigan Observer