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British Industrial History

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William Henry Bleckly

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William Henry Bleckly (1840-1912)

of Ashfield, Warrington.

son of Henry Bleckly

1901 Became Treasurer of the Iron and Steel Institute.

1912 Obituary [1]

Mr. WILLIAM HENRY BLECKLY, Honorary Treasurer of the Iron and Steel Institute, and a trustee of the Bessemer Medal Fund, died on the morning of Tuesday, July 2, at the Pwllycrochan Hotel, Colwyn Bay, at the age of seventy-one years. He had been somewhat poorly for some months, and had been staying in North Wales in the hope of regaining his health. By his death the Institute has suffered a severe loss, as throughout his whole connection with it he evinced the greatest interest in its affairs, was assiduous in his attendances both at council meetings and general meetings, and devoted to the promotion of its interests ungrudged time and labour.

He was an original member, having joined the Institute together with his brother, Mr. John James Bleckly, as far back as 1869, the date of its foundation.

Mr. Bleckly was born in 1840 at Northallerton, and was the eldest son of the late Mr. Henry Bleckly, the chairman of the Liverpool Quarter Sessions, and for several years chairman of the Warrington Board of Guardians, and Mayor of the town.

He was educated at Queenwood College, Hampshire, an establishment founded originally by Robert Owen, and subsequently converted, in the year 1847, into a school, famous for having numbered amongst its scholars the late Henry Fawcett, Professor Tyndall, and several other men who have achieved note.

Mr. Bleckly left school early, and joined his father at Dallam Forge in 1856. At that time the Lancashire iron trade was comparatively speaking in its infancy, but a period of prosperity was before it, and with that prosperity Mr. Bleckly was, for many years, closely and directly associated.

In addition to Dallam Forge, his father acquired Bewsey Forge, and subsequently the collieries of Messrs. Pearson & Knowles, with which the forges were amalgamated, to become, in the year 1874, the Pearson & Knowles Coal and Iron Company, Limited. The iron and steel departments of these works have an output of 2500 tons finished iron and steel per week, and employ over 2000 hands, apart from those employed in the colliery itself. Mr. Bleckly was for many years managing director of the Company, and was associated, in his direction of its affairs, with his brother, the inventor of the repeating wire rolling-mill, which was installed in the works at Warrington, and has since been largely adopted both at home and abroad.

In politics he was a Conservative, and, although he took little active part in public affairs, he was an accomplished and convincing speaker, and was always listened to with interest and respect. He was imbued with literary tastes, which led him to amass a valuable collection of works at his home at Thelwall Lea. He was also an ardent sportsman and an excellent shot. In Warrington he was most highly esteemed, and his philanthropic nature led him to bestow many benefactions upon that city. As a business man he was punctilious in the extreme, but, while assiduous in the discharge of his duties, he imported into their discharge kindness of heart, tact, and discretion. By his colleagues on the Council of the Iron and Steel Institute, to which he was elected in 188], his opinions were highly valued, and his advice frequently sought. In 1894 he was appointed a vice-president, and in 1900, on the election of the late Mr. William Whitwell to the presidency of the Institute, Mr.

Bleckly was unanimously appointed honorary treasurer. In 1905 he succeeded the late Sir Lowthian Bell as co-trustee, with Sir David Dale, of the Bessemer Memorial Fund of the Institute. He also, from time to time, made valuable presentations of books to the library.

He was a director of Messrs. Ryland Brothers, Limited, deputy-chairman of the Pearson & Knowles Coal and Iron Company, Limited, and a director of the Partington Steel and Iron Company, Limited. He also served for many years as a governor on the Court of the University of Liverpool.

He married the youngest daughter of Mr. John Johnson, of Easingwold, near York, who survives him, and by whom he had three sons and one daughter. Mr. Bleckly was buried on Friday, July 5, at Thelwall Church, the funeral being attended by the President of the Institute, Mr. Arthur Cooper, and by several members of the Council.

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