Thomas Bentley (1731-1780), Partner of Josiah Wedgwood (1730-1795)
c1731 Born in Derbyshire
1754 Married Hannah Oates of Sheffield. He then settled in Liverpool, where he set up in business as a Manchester warehouseman, and afterwards took James Boardman into partnership.
1757 he assisted in founding the Warrington Academy, among whose earliest tutors were three famous men, which involved him with several famous scientists such as Joseph Priestley
1762 Introduced to Josiah Wedgwood by Matthew Turner and the friendship was lifelong. Wedgwood made his first proposals to Bentley about to a partnership towards the close of 1766, but it was not until 14 November 1768 that the partnership began. In the same month Bentley took up his residence at the Brick House, Burslem but retained his partnership with Boardman in Liverpool.
On 13 June 1769 part of the Etruria Works in Staffordshire was opened; but, though a house was specially built for him there, he never seems to have occupied it. In 1769 he finally left Liverpool, and after living for a short time at the warehouse in Newport Street, London, he moved to Little Cheyne Row, Chelsea, in order to be near the works which the firm had lately established there for overglaze painting.
On 22 June 1772, at All Saints, Derby, Bentley married Mary, the daughter of Mr. Stamford, an engineer of that town, his first wife having died in childbirth within two years from the date of their marriage.
In 1774 he moved from Chelsea to 12 Greek Street, Soho, to superintend the works which were being carried on there by the firm. His health, however, failed, and in order to get change of air and scene he took up residence at Turnham Green in 1777.
After a protracted illness he died there, 26 November 1780, at the age of forty-nine, and was buried in Chiswick church