Links in a Chain - the Mayors of Bolton
Links in a Chain - The Mayors of Bolton
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Alfred Topp

Chairman of Farnworth Local Board: 1869-70, 1875-78 (Liberal)

Chairman of Farnworth Urban District Council: 1901-1904 (Liberal)

Born: Farnworth 2 November 1835

Died: Hawthorne Cottage, Farnworth 14 December 1922

Master Cotton Spinner.

Son of Robert Topp, manufacturer, proprietor of Topp & Hindley of Causeway Mills and lived next door to the mill "where he was always approachable by his employees or any townsman."

Brother-in-law to Alfred Barnes, who married his sister, Georgiana Topp in 1883.

He was elected to the Local Board in 1863 and served 40 years on the Board and the Council. He was a County Councillor for 15 years, a County Alderman and served on the Finance Committee, Inebriates Board and Asylums Board.

He was Chairman of the Finance Committee of Salford Hundred and was an income tax commissioner.

He was Chairman of the Finance Committee for 20 years and his annual budget statements showing clearly the position of the town were looked forward to with the greatest of interest.

He was the first Chairman of the Farnworth Education Committee, a position he held until he resigned. Here again he made an annual statement of the town's position in regard to educational matters.

In his dual capacity as Alderman and Justice of the Peace he served on the joint Standing Committee having control of the police and other important County Committees.

After the death of Alfred Barnes in 1893 he became President of the Liberal Association.

He was a generous supporter of many good causes. He gave the land on which Farnworth Library now stands and he is immortalised in stone above the entrance, along with the donor of the building, Andrew Carnegie.

He gave a sum of money which was invested to ensure that the town had one or two children's playing fields and endowed Farnworth Cricket Club that they might have their ground rent free.

He supported the Nursing Association, the NSPCC, the Hospital Saturday movement and other relief funds.

On his retirement in October 1904 he was presented with a portrait in oils, a silver salver, epergne and side pieces inscribed with the offices held. The painting was by Ralph Hedley of Newcastle upon Tyne. He in turn handed this back to the Council where it was hung in the Council Chamber. It can now be seen on the landing of the main staircase in the old Farnworth Town Hall (Area Office). At his retirement he was the second oldest acting magistrate (appointed 1870). When he was born the population of Farnworth was 8,000 but by 1904 it was 27,000.

It was said that "he laboured zealously in the town's interest."

At the presentation Dr Kershaw said Mr Topp had always been doing something for somebody and had followed the advice of Kingsley:

"Do the work that's nearest, Though it's dull at whiles, Helping, when we meet them, Lame dogs over stiles."

He joined the Volunteers in 1859 when the local Company of the 76th Lancashire Rifle Volunteers was Captained by Alfred Barnes. He became a Captain himself and was with the Company for 12 years.

The Farnworth Journal recorded that "he was offered a Knighthood by Sir Henry Campbell Bannerman which to the regret of all his townspeople, he declined."

He was familiarly known as Farnworth's 'Grand Old Man' giving a longer part of his life to the service of Farnworth and it's people than anyone else.

Congregationalist - he was associated with the Albert Road Congregational Church and the old Dixon Green Congregational Church. He was the organist at the Albert Road Church in his younger days and also served as Deacon and teacher. He was particularly generous to the London Missionary Society.

At his funeral service Mr Walter Williams, pastor, said "the life of Alfred Topp was an illustration of wholehearted consecration to the service of many and varying causes affecting the life of a community. A man of wealth, possessing the means to spend his time in leisured enjoyment, he found his delight and duty in public service."

Alfred ToppTopp Family Tree • pdf


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