Mayor of Bolton: 1867-69 (Liberal)
Born: Tottington, Lancashire 23 April 1821
Died: Greenthorne, Edgworth, Turton 16 August 1887
Philanthropist and Industrialist.
The son of Thomas Barlow, a hand loom weaver, he first entered into partnership with a Manchester salesman but lost all his money.
In 1846 he had saved enough to buy premises in Bullock Street for the manufacture of quilts, the former premises of Greenwood & Son.
He was in partnership with a Mr Dakin for a time, but then went into partnership with Mr Jones of Smith, Hill & Co of Manchester, forming Barlow & Jones (Barlow, Goody & Jones until 1863). In 1851 he began building Albert Mills in Higher Bridge Street. By the 1880s the firm had offices and Warehouses in Portland Street, Manchester and representatives in London, Glasgow, Paris and New York, producing high quality cotton blankets, bedspreads and satin quilts and towels under the Osman brand.
He was also Chairman of Edgworth Spinning Co and Ansley Hall Coal & Iron Co, Warwickshire. Director of Union Bank, Manchester, Mutual Fire Insurance Co, Wesleyan Trust Fire Insurance Co and the Montpenna (Italy) Forest and Mine Co.
Represented Bradford Ward 1853-56 and West Ward 1862-66. Alderman for Derby Ward 1866-70. He had attempted to resign as Alderman in the summer of 1867 but the Council declined his resignation and he was persuaded to stay on to become Mayor.
His Mayoralty was marked by several outbreaks of violent political unrest in the town but he was praised by allies and opponents alike for his calming influence and restraint.
Chairman of the Parks Committee - unusually advocating that Parks should be opened on Sundays.
Magistrate from 1858. He attended the first court session at the new County Court in Mawdsley Street on 2 July 1869.
He was President of Bolton Mechanics Institute in 1869.
He was founder of Institution for the Workshops for the Blind in Bolton with his brother, Thomas, and was involved with the YMCA.
He opened the Corporation Gas Offices on 28 August 1868 and the New Post Office 12 August 1868.
In 1870 the then Mayor, Thomas Walmsley, accepted on behalf of the Corporation a portrait of Barlow paid for by a subscription of £250 raised entirely from the contributions of around 900 ordinary working people in the town.
Life long temperance campaigner. As overseer and Guardian for Little Bolton he was against workhouse girls being sent to work in Public Houses.
He was Treasurer 1858-76 and President 1876 of the British Temperance League. He opened Lark Street Temperance Hall in 1860 and Bolton Moor Temperance Hall in 1869. He inaugurated the opening of places for working men to obtain non-alcoholic drinks which included the Barlow Arms on Higher Bridge Street (opened on 26 November 1877 by the then Mayor, James Greenhalgh) and the Bolton Arms on Bradshawgate. Proposed the adoption of the Public House Closing Act (where Public Houses were closed from 1 to 5 am) which was passed by a large majority by Bolton Council.
Wesleyan Methodist and Sunday School teacher - a campaigner for religious and educational equality (and vocal advocate for the disestablishment of the Church of England) he was a generous benefactor of a wide range of Churches and organizations in the district.
He laid the foundation stones at Higher Bridge Street Primitive Methodist Chapel, St Mark's (C of E), Mawdsley Street Congregational and Claremont Baptist Churches. He also gave money for and laid the foundation stone of Edgworth Wesleyan Chapel 14 June 1862.
He gave the estate and £5000 maintenance for the Children's Home (opened as Barlow Memorial Home 1889) at Crowthorn, Edgworth.
Unveiled the statue of Dr Samuel Taylor Chadwick (1809-1876) - a local doctor and generous philanthropist - on Victoria Square on 1 August 1873 and was a Trustee of Chadwick's Orphanage.
Opened the Public Hall in Horwich.
His wife, Alice, was Mayoress.
He lived at Greenthorne, Edgworth.
His son, Sir Thomas Barlow, became physician to Queen Victoria, King Edward VII and King George V.
His daughter, Annie Barlow, collected and donated the core items of what became Bolton Museum's Egyptology section.
His grandson, Sir James Alan Noel Barlow, married a granddaughter of Charles Darwin.
| Formal portrait of Alice Barlow, wife and Mayoress of James Barlow.
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| The Barlow crest and arms on the side of the Greenthorne Estate gatehouse, Broadhead Road, Edgworth.
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| The statue of Dr Samuel Taylor Chadwick (1809-1876) - a local doctor and generous philanthropist - on Victoria Square unveiled by James Barlow as Mayor of Bolton on 1 August 1873.
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