William Pickles Hartley Sir

(23/02/1846 - 25/10/1922)

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Born: 23/02/1846 at Colne, Lancashire, England Certified Father: John Hartley (13/07/1825 - 27/01/1892)
Died: 25/10/1922 Certified Mother: Margaret Pickles (20/04/1824 - 18/05/1870)
Children: Siblings:

Martha O'Conner Horsfield Dame on 21/05/1866 at Burnely, England Certified


Born 1846 at Colne, in East Lancashire on a ridge which was affectionately called by it's residents "Bonnie Colne-on-the-hill". He was the only child of Margaret and John Hartley to survive infancy and was named after his grandfather, and his middle name was his mother's maiden name.

He had an unusually good education. Most children were taken from school and sent to work early, but William had exceptional qualities and was sent to the British School until he was 13 and then attended the Grammar School for a further 1 year. He was distinguished for his ornamental penmanship. His Uncle, Rev. Robert Hartley who left England around the time William's education was nearing completion, did not think William would make much of his life. How wrong he was.

A Roman Catholic priest in Colne suggested he be educated for the priesthood, and it was also once suggested he whould be trained as a lawyer. His mother disapproved of the untruthfulness the legal profession fostered and thought it damaging to his spiritual interests.

What William desired was to become a chemist. There was no opening in Colne, so he began work helping his mother in the grocery shop which she kept. He then opened his own business at the age of 16 and combined a drysaltery with his grocery business in the main street in Colne. He added a wholesale department and then built up a trade in grocers' sundries in the villages and towns around Colne.

William and Martha were married on a Whit-Monday morning (Whit-Monday is the Christian holiday celebrated the day after Pentecost, a movable feast in the Christian calendar, being dependent upon the date of Easter). They spent their honeymoon in processioning along the main streets of the town of Colne with the Sunday School scholars and singing of special Whitsuntide hymns.

It was by chance that he entered the jam making business. He had a contract with a local grocer to make jam for him and in 1871 the grocer failed to honour his contract. The case was submitted to friendly arbitration and went into William's favour. He decided however to terminate the contract and manufacture his own jam in the interests of sustaining his high class reputation of goods in order not to disappoint his customers. He strove for quality rather than low cost. He used the best materials and was passionate about cleanliness. His buyers quickly recognised the excellence of his jam. It was sold at a reasonable price and the business flourished.

As the business grew, he decided to leave Colne and in 1874 he built a jam factory at Bootle. He spent everything he had on the factory and had to borrow money for the fruit and sugar to make his jam. For seven years, the interest on the loan swallowed up 75% of the profits he made. As the business continued to grow he built new works at Aintree in 1886. He resided at Bootle for 6 years, then at Southport and Birkdale. He moved to Aintree at the end of October 1890 and then fto "Sea View", Southport in 1904, then to Birkdale in 1919.

Married 1866 – Registered @ Burnley
They were married at the Primitive Methodist chapel, Burnley, by the Rev. W. LUDDINGTON, of Colne
Moved from Colne to Fazakerley/ Liverpool area in 1874
(1881-Wholesale Preserve Manufacturer employing on average 120 women & 30 men
He had 9 children.
Opened his jam/marmalade & canning Factory in Aintree and built a ‘Hartley village’ for his workers.

Took his young family to live at Southport in 1880

1881: residing @ 22 Sussex Road, North Meols, Lancs.

1901: 55 years, living at Fazakerley

William was a grocer at Colne. In 1871 a supplier failed to deliver a batch of jam so he decided to start making his own. The jam, marmalade and jelly sold so well that he continued and expanded the business. In 1884 the jam making business was incorporated as William Hartley & Sons Ltd. In 1885 the business moved to Aintree. In 1902 Hartley opened a jam factory at Bermondsey, south east London and at one point employed 2,000 people. Hartley was a very generous man – he donated funds for Derby Road Sunday School, Southport and his daughter Christiana built the maternity hospital in Curzon Road, Southport that bore her name. In 1936 an electric clock was fitted to the tower of St Bartholomew's Parish Church, Colne (the third timepiece other than the old sundial to grace St Bartholomew's) courtesy of Miss Christina Hartley, as a memorial to the Coronation of King George VI (the clock has since been removed).

Hartley’s was acquired by Schweppes.

William was Knighted by Edward V11 in 1908

He was 75 when he died in 1922. His funeral service was held at Church Street, Southport and interment at Trawden on Saturday 28 October 1922.

In 1981 Hartley’s closed the Bermondsey factory in London.

Photographs courtesy of Gordon Hartley. Please do not reproduce without Gordon Hartley's permission.

Image Gallery

Sir William Pickles Hartley
Sir William Pickles Hartley
Sir William Pickles Hartley
Sir William Pickles Hartley
Birthplace of Sir William Pickles Hartley
William Hartleys Birthplace
The Grave of William Pickles Hartley and Family
William Pickles Hartley Grave
Hartley Homes Plaque
Hartley Homes Plaque
Hartley Homes Opened Plaque
Hartley Homes Opened Plaque
Hartley's Jam Factory
Hartley's Jam Factory

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