James Aspinall Turner

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James Aspinall Turner (1797 – 28 September 1867) was a British businessman, entomologist and Whig politician.

James was the son of John Turner of Mayfield, near Bolton, and his wife Elizabeth Aspinall of Liverpool.[1] He was a descendant of John Turner who had fought against the Old Pretender in 1715.[2]

Turner was a prominent cotton manufacturer and merchant in Manchester. He made his home at Pendlebury Hall and was a magistrate and deputy lieutenant of Lancashire.[1] In 1845 he formed the Manchester Commercial Association. The association, of which he was president, was a protectionist body that broke away from the pro-free trade Manchester Chamber of Commerce.[3]

In the mid-nineteenth century the parliamentary borough of Manchester was represented by two Radical members of parliament, John Bright and Thomas Milner Gibson. In order to unseat them the Conservative Party stood aside at the 1857 general election and Turner and John Potter were elected as "Palmerstonian Whigs".[4] In 1858 he was appointed a member of the royal commission on army clothing.[5] He stood down from parliament at the 1865 general election.[1]

Apart from his business and political activities, Turner was a renowned entomologist. He founded the Manchester Field Naturalist Club, and was a member of the Royal Entomological Society.[1][2] He was chairman of the committee of Manchester New College (now Harris Manchester College, Oxford) from 1840-1852.[6]

J A Turner died in London in September 1867, aged 70.[1]


Turner is commemorated in the scientific name of a species of African gecko, Chondrodactylus turneri.[7]


  1. ^ a b c d e Obituary, The Gentleman's Magazine, 28 September 1867
  2. ^ a b Transactions of the Royal Entomolgical Society 1867
  3. ^ John Skinner, The Liberal Nomination Controversy in Manchester, 1847, in Historical Research, Vol.55, Issue 132, 2007
  4. ^ George Macaulay Trevelyan, The Life of John Bright, London, 1913
  5. ^ J.M. Collinge (1984). "List of commissions and officials: 1850-1859". Office-Holders in Modern Britain: Volume 9: Officials of Royal Commissions of Inquiry 1815-1870. British History Online. Retrieved 2008-11-02. 
  6. ^ Barbara Smith (ed.), Truth, Liberty, Religion: Essays celebrating Two Hundred Years of Manchester College (Oxford, 1986), p.316
  7. ^ Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael; Grayson, Michael (2011). The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 296 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. ("Turner, J.A.", p. 269).

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Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
John Bright
Thomas Milner Gibson
Member of Parliament for Manchester
With: John Potter 1857 - 1858
Thomas Bazley 1858 - 1865
Succeeded by
Thomas Bazley
Edward James