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Henry Bleckly

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Henry Bleckly (c1812-1890), chairman of the Pearson and Knowles Coal and Iron Co

1890 Obituary [1]

HENRY BLECKLY, chairman of the Pearson & Knowles Coal and Iron Company, Limited, died at his residence, Bellefield, Bowdon, on Friday, January the 24th, at the age of 78.

Mr. Bleckly was born at Ipswich, and in his earlier business career was connected with banking interests at Newcastle-on-Tyne and London. In 1856 he became connected with the Dallam Forge, at Warrington, which had then not long been established by Mr. George Wordsell. The Bewsey Works were at this time owned by Rylands Bros., and after Mr. Bleckly became connected with Dallam, both that works and the Bewsey Forge were largely extended until the two establishments were divided only by a narrow boundary line, when they were amalgamated and carried on as one concern.

Later on the extensive collieries of Messrs. Pearson & Knowles were incorporated with the ironworks at Warrington, and the Pearson and Knowles Coal and Iron Company (Limited), became the owners of the whole. When Mr. Bleckly went to Warrington in 1856, the Dallam Forge produced about 50 tons of finished iron weekly. Under his guidance, however, the production of the Dallam and Bewsey Forges was developed until a weekly output of 2000 tons of finished iron was attained, and for years past these extensive works have turned out annually about this quantity of finished material.

The late Mr. Henry Bleckly was a man of great ability, and the great business of the Pearson & Knowles Coal and Iron Company (Limited) remains as a testimony to his remarkable commercial talents. He leaves five sons, all of them engaged in the management of the various departments of the Pearson & Knowles Coal and Iron Company; but, until a few weeks before his death Mr. Bleckly was himself much at the works, generally watching the progress of business rather than actually directing the affairs of the Company. His advice up to the last was as valuable to the Company as it had been in the earliest days of his connection with the iron trade at Warrington. Thirty years ago, Warrington was hardly to be reckoned among the iron manufacturing centres of England, whereas now its position is one of great importance, owing mainly to the large scale on which the Pearson & Knowles Company's Works are carried on.

Away from business, Mr. Henry Bleckly was a very "well read" man; indeed, his acquaintance with modern literature was marvellous, when the great inroads which business matters made upon his time are considered. He was a clear and concise writer, and was the author of a number of pamphlets on commercial, literary, and philosophical subjects that have attracted attention.

Mr. Bleckly was Mayor of Warrington a quarter of a century since, and for many years took an active part in the public affairs of the district, discharging the duties of the various offices he filled with conspicuous ability. On the retirement of Lord Derby in 1888, he was elected chairman of the Liverpool County Quarter Sessions, to the duties of which position the last eighteen months of his life were largely devoted. Up to a few weeks before his death, he was much interested in the proceedings of the Commissioners appointed by the Board of Trade to inquire into the new classification and schedules of maximum rates and charges deposited by the principal railway companies, in accordance with the requirements of section 24 of the Railway and Canal Traffic Act of 1888. He wrote voluminously on the subject, and felt strongly that the railway companies had, as he argued, broken faith with the traders by demanding maximum rates in excess of their existing statutory powers. He had prepared a proof with a view to examination before the Commission, as one of the witnesses for the British Iron Trade Association, of the Board of which he was an active member, but his decease deprived the tribunal of the advantage of his valuable testimony.

Mr. Bleckly was one of the original members of the Iron and Steel Institute, but did not take much part in its proceedings, the bent of his mind being commercial rather thus technical.

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