He was the youngest son of Edward Sidebottom, and was born at "The Hydes", Stalybridge, Cheshire. The Sidebottoms were a prominent family in the town, both in business and administrative matters. James attended Manchester Grammar School before becoming a member of the family cotton manufacturing firm of Edward Sidebottom and Sons.
Sidebottom entered the local government of Stalybridge as a member of the police commissioners. When the town was incorporated as a municipal borough in 1857, he was elected as one of the corporation's first aldermen. In 1864 he was chosen as mayor of the borough, and held the office for three years in succession. As mayor he laid the foundation stone of the Victoria Market Hall in 1868.
In 1868 Stalybridge was enfranchised as a parliamentary borough, returning one Member of Parliament (MP) to the House of Commons. Sidebottom was nominated as the Conservative candidate, and was elected as the town's first MP.
- Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "S" (part 4)[self-published source][better source needed]
- Samuel Hill, Bygone Stalybridge, Traditional - Historical - Biographical, Stalybridge, 1907
- Death of Mr Sidebottom M.P., The Times, 16 February 1871, p.5
- Our New Members of Parliament, The Times, 5 December 1868, p.7
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by James Sidebottom
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
|New constituency||Member of Parliament for Stalybridge
1868 – 1871