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PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2007 10:00 am 
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ABRAHAM ALTHAM 1841-1885

Tea Merchant and travel organiser

There are few men of Burnley that have had such an impact on the town as did the subject of this sketch. Abraham Altham came from the humblest of backgrounds yet went on to become one of the best loved townsfolk Burnley was ever to see. Abraham, was born at Haggate, the son of the village shop keeper on 14, December 1841. His father was a preacher with the Baptist's at Haggate. Abraham's mother died soon after his birth, and his father too, died while he was comparatively young. It was left to the grandfather to bring up young Abraham, he was a grocer and additionally a farmer at Holt Hill. Young Abraham obtained his schooling at Haggate, Hill-lane and Barkerhouse road schools, in addition he attended evening classes to supplement his education after school. On leaving school, he was apprenticed at the Chaffer's Catlow quarries as a stone hewer and flag dresser. The remains of these stone quarries still exist, between Catlow farm and the Sportsman Inn to the West of Nelson. At the age of twenty-three, he started his own business as a wholesale grocery, obviously inspired by his grandfather. He did so by purchasing the premises of one Robert Wilson on Bridge street in Burnley. He extended this trade by various degrees, and later entered into a partnership with the firm Holgate and Co. This, however was short lived, for in 1872 the partnership was dissolved. This was probably the most outstanding move that Abraham was ever to make. In that same year, he acquired premises in Ormerod street that he opened as a wholesale tea shop. Just before Christmas 1872, he also requisitioned further premises in the market place, as a retail outlet for the sale of tea.

The following year 1873, he was able to open his first retail branch at Blackburn, followed in 1874 by branches at Leeds, Bradford, Halifax and York. Business prospered immensely, at his untimely death, there was no less than sixty-four retail tea establishments in Lancashire and Yorkshire. Soon he developed the travel side of the business, by offering cut-price trips to the seaside for his customers. This side of Abraham's enterprise still exists today by way of the Altham's Travel Service. Through out Abraham's life he was connected with the Baptist denomination, in particular the branch known as the Scotch Baptist's. He became a church member in March 1858, when he was just sixteen years of age, and by his eighteenth year had become a preacher. He shared his wealth, and among his greatest gifts was the school at North street Burnley. This he built, and furnished at a cost of some £3,000, he also donated the cost of building the Brierfield Baptist chapel school, to the tune of 2,000.

These contributions were besides the handsome gifts made to the chapel and schools at Haggate. His connection with the Corporation began in August 1876, when as a Liberal candidate he contested William Taylor for St. Andrew's Ward. He was elected, and re-elected for the same Ward in 1876, and again in 1881. Abraham Altham was made Alderman of the Borough on 28, March 1882. His generous attitude was again demonstrated, when it was announced that there was to be a project for the building a hospital (Victoria) for the people of Burnley, Abraham was one of the first to make a donation to the cause. Abraham Altham married his first wife, Miss Elizabeth Holgate of Bottin, Worsthorne around 1863. The couple had three sons and a daughter, on the death of his first wife, 28, November 1877 Abraham married Miss Oddie of Brierfield, to whom he had a daughter.

Through his great wealth, Abraham was able to erect the magnificent dwelling known as "Oakleigh" on Colne road, at the boundary of Burnley and Reedley townships. Before this he lived at Byerden House, on Colne road. On 26, January 1884, he was able to take up home at the "Oakleigh" mansion, looking forward to a happy existence gained through his hard work. This was not to be, for the following March, Abraham contracted a chill while attending the Haggate chapel. In December 1884, he underwent an operation, and it was thought he was making favourable recovery. In March 1885, his health again broke down. He journeyed to various places, such as Bournemouth, and Blackpool in the hope that the change in climate would heal his complaint, but to no avail. On the advice of his doctor, he returned to Oakleigh, gradually deteriorating over the next days till death brought an end to his suffering on Tuesday 28, July 1885. The respect that Abraham Altham commanded was exhibited at his funeral; The cortege was led by some 100 scholars from the school he built at North street, next came the hearse drawn by four beautiful Belgian greys, then a number of private carriages drawn by pairs of horses, followed by no less than fifty-two coaches, and carriages. Apart from his immediate family, representatives of the public bodies included, the Mayor (Alderman Baron JP.) the Town Clerk, a number of other Aldermen, the Borough Magistrates, representatives from the Councillors, Burnley Band of Hope Union, and a body of about thirty employees, of the Late gentleman brought up the rear. Abraham was buried at Haggate Baptist chapel, with which he was long associated. He died at a comparatively young age of 44 years.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 03, 2010 9:19 am 
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Location: Staffordshire
1861
RG9/3073 folio 100 page 11
Slack, Briercliffe-With-Entwistle
Honer James 51 Head Farmer Syton, Yorkshire
Honer Mary 55 Wife Trawden, Lancashire
Holgate James 33 Lodger Hand Loom Weaver Worsthorn, Lancashire
Altham Abraham 19 Border Dresser Briercliffe, Lancashire
Hartley Jude 9 Boarder Scholar Colne Fonbridge, Lancashire

1871
RG10/4147 folio 168 page 4
1 Raws Street, Burnley
Altham Abraham 29 Head Tea Dealer Briercliffe, Lancashire
Altham Elizabeth 28 Wife Worsthorn, Lancashire
Altham John Raw 6 Son Briercliffe, Lancashire
Altham Peter Holgate 3 Son Briercliffe, Lancashire
Altham Jesse Liddell 1 Son Burnley, Lancashire

1881
RG11/4148 folio 148 page 30
123 Colne Road, Burnley
Altham Abraham 39 Head Tea Merchant Briercliffe, Lancashire
Altham Margaret A 32 Wife House Wife Marsden, Lancashire
Altham John R 16 Son Scholar Briercliffe, Lancashire
Altham Ann H 8 Daughter Scholar Burnley, Lancashire
Oddie Alice 64 Mother In Law No Occupation Marsden, Lancashire
Hartley Jane 54 Aunt In Law No Occupation Colne, Lancashire
Booth Sarah 22 Servant Domestic Servant Skipton, Yorkshire
Booth Fanny 20 Servant Domestic Servant Skipton, Yorkshire

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PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2014 8:26 pm 
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Memorial in the old part of Haggate Baptist Chapel

http://briercliffesociety.co.uk/Grave%2 ... ltham1.htm

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PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2014 8:26 pm 

Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2012 7:55 pm
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This foundation stone is from the Woodlands Rd Chapel Nelson.


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PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2014 8:29 pm 
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Thanks Plaques. It looks in very good condition

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