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The Peel Family

Other Significant People

Thomas Hargreaves ( 21.12.1771 – 12.6.1822)

Buried in St. James, Accrington.

No known direct relation to James Hargreaves, Thomas worked his way up from a calico printing apprentice to become the owner of the Broad Oak Printworks, a huge textile dyeing and printing mill and the biggest employer in Accrington during the 1810s to 1820s. Thomas built a mansion in Oak Hill Park and also built Warner Street in the town centre for his workers, to  provide a safe passageway from Abbey Street to St. James’s Church.  Originally the street wasn’t linked to Church Street – the river Hyndburn ran above ground at this point, prior to being culverted. (It now runs beneath the square outside the Market Hall.)


Frederick Steiner  (1787- 1869)

Frederick Steiner joined the chemical department at Broad Oak Print Works in 1817 bringing with him from France, the secret of steam printing colours on calico, and thereby increasing the firm’s profits.

Steiner became very wealthy and went on to buy Hyndburn House from the Peel Family.


Frederick Gatty (1819-1888)

Frederick Albert Gatty came from Alsace to Accrington at the invitation of Frederick Steiner.  In 1843 the two Fredericks took out a patent for the new method of dyeing using garancine – this is the red that made the Fredericks’ fortune and became known as Gatty Red or Turkey Red.  

Black and white dot portrait of a man with a moustache.  He is wearing a dinner jacket and bow tie
Frederick Gatty

Gatty’s greatest success was with the invention of khaki dye. In 1884, inspired by a visit to British India, Gatty patented the mineral which he named khaki, for use in the production of that dye.

The British Army adopted the new khaki uniforms in 1896, directing that all stations abroad should wear khaki. By the time of WW1, khaki was being used for military uniforms across the world.


Other Significant Historical Figures and Events in Order of Appearance


  • John Mercer, 1791 – 1866 – weaver, dyer and inventor of mercerised cotton. Mercerised cotton is stronger and absorbs dye better, giving the colour a lustre or sheen.
  • Howard & Bullough, 1851 - global cotton machinery manufacturers, employed over 6,000 workers at its height. Situated in the Globe works.
  • Nori Accrington Bricks 1887 – 2008 – world renowned, hard as iron bricks. Used in the Blackpool Tower and the Empire States Building
  • Rileys, since 1897 - billiard tables and sports equipment (their shop can be seen in the film at 4.50). At one time the largest manufacturer of cricket bats in the world.
Black and white printed advert from  The Strand Magazine advertising Riley billiard tables
Advert for Riley Sports Equipment
  • Ewbank –1864 - manufacturer of water meters, washing machines, cleaning equipment. Still going strong

Colour advert showing a yellow carpet sweeper sweeping up crumbs.  The tagline reads "Eats Crumbs. Lives forever".
Advert for a Ewbank Carpet Sweeper

  • Terylene – 1941 – world’s first synthetic fibre invented in Accrington by John Rex Whinfield and James Tennant Dixon. Because of the war, it was kept secret and not used commercially until 1948, when it was used in net curtains.
  • Joseph Briggs “the English Tiffany”- 1874 – 1937 – from glass worker to co-director of Tiffany Glass and collector of the largest Tiffany glass collection in Europe, housed in the Haworth Art Gallery

Colour photograph showing three vases of different shapes. They are all browny -green in colour, with flowers on.
Tiffany Millefiore Vases

  • John Virtue – b. 1947 – Professor of Art and award winning painter of monochrome pictures
  • Ron Hill - b. 1938 – world class runner and sports clothing manufacturer, record holder and gold medal winner at the Commonwealth games. He has run at least a mile every day since 1964.
  • Accrington Stanley Football Team 1891 – 1962 and 1968 to date. Their home ground was Peel Park between 1919 and 1968.
  • The Accrington Pals – In the early days of WW1, the call went out for volunteers. Pals were battalions comprising men who worked and lived together in close communities – pals. They enlisted en masse. Accrington was the smallest town in Britain to raise a battalion of 1,000 men. It only took 10 days – 100 men a day enlisted. The Pals were effectively wiped out in action on the first day of the Somme.