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Sir Joseph Leigh (1841-1908)
1908 Obituary 
Sir JOSEPH LEIGH died at his residence, The Towers, Didsbury, on September 22, 1908. He was the Vice-Chairman of the Vulcan Boiler and General Insurance Co., Ltd., and senior partner in the firm of T. and J. Leigh, cotton spinners, of Stockport.
He was born in 1841, and was the eldest son of Thomas Leigh, of the same firm. He was educated for a business career, and, owing to the failing health of his father, was called upon at an early age to assume very serious responsibilities in connection with his father's business. When only nineteen years of age he had the entire internal management of the working of the mills, and from that time until 1887 retained control of the firm's important works. He also held responsible positions in several other important industrial undertakings, being Chairman of the North of England Trustee Debenture and Assets Corporation, Ltd., the Chatterley-Whitfield Collieries, Ltd., and the North Lincolnshire Iron Co., Ltd. He was also a director of the Manchester Ship Canal Co., and of Sir Elkanah Armitage and Sons, Ltd. The deceased gentleman married the daughter of the late Daniel Adamson, of "Ship Canal" fame, and it was at The Towers, Didsbury, then in the occupation of the latter gentleman, that the first meeting was held which resulted in the making of the Manchester Ship Canal. Sir Joseph was thus closely identified with this great enterprise from its inception. He was a member of the Ship Canal Provisional Committee, and was a director from the time of the formation of the company. In this connection he received the honour of knighthood on the occasion of the opening of the Canal by the late Queen in 1894. His services were also recognised by the French Government, in connection with the textile exhibits at the Paris Exhibition of 1889, in bestowing upon him the ribbon of the Legion of Honour. Notwithstanding his many business engagements, he found time to enter political life, and was returned member for Stockport in 1892, and again in 1895, at the head of the poll in the Liberal interest. He was a member of the Stockport Town Council for no less than twenty-nine years. On four occasions he held the office of Mayor, and had the honour of being elected the first honorary Freeman of the Borough.
He was elected a member of the Iron and Steel Institute in 1879.