Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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James Cropper

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James Cropper ( -1841), of Liverpool, a successful merchant in the East India trade.

Cropper came from Winstanley, near Wigan.

He began his commercial career as an apprentice under William Rathbone, another Quaker, in 1790. Rathbone, Benson and Co was among the first to import American cotton into Liverpool, and became a great success story.

Cropper was obviously a promising youth, for after five years he was admitted as a partner, and only two years later felt able to set up in business on his own.

In 1799 he went into partnership with Thomas Benson to form the successful firm of Cropper, Benson and Co, which occupied the rest of his working life. He succeeded in building the firm up without having to sell off any family land, yet was able to build a pocket stately home, Dingle Bank, to the south of Liverpool while retaining Fearnhead for a characteristically philanthropic project.

1824 Advert: 'This day was published, In 7vo. 2s. 6d. stitched, THE CORRESPONDENCE between JOHN GLADSTONE, M.P. and JAMES CROPPER, Esq. on the PRESENT STATE of SLAVERY, in the British West Indies and in the United States of America; and on the Importation of Sugar from the British Settlements in India. With an Appendix, containing several Papers on the Subject of Slavery. Printed for the West India Association, Liverpool; and sold by Hatchard and Son, and Longman and Co. London. [1]

Cropper continued for some forty years in the anti-slavery campaign

In October 1828 Cropper was one of a delegation sent to Darlington to investigate the relative merits of horse and locomotive haulage for the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, and on his return he submitted to the board a report advocating the use of stationary engines. This caused him to become an adversary to George Stephenson on this issue.

Cropper died in 1841

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Star (London) - Thursday 26 February 1824