Nathaniel Eckersley

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Nathaniel Eckersley (1815 – 15 February 1892)[1] was an English mill-owner,[2] banker[3] and Conservative Party politician from Standish Hall,[4] near Wigan[5] in Lancashire. He sat in the House of Commons for three years in the 1860s, and two years in the 1880s.


His uncle was Colonel Nathaniel Eckersley, from Laurel House in Hindley, who served with the Duke of Wellington and at the military station established in Manchester after the Peterloo Massacre.[2]

In addition to his cotton mills,[6] Eckersley was a partner of the Wigan Old Bank, formerly Thomas Woodock's, Sons and Eckersley, which amalgamated in 1874 with Parr's Banking Company in Warrington.[3] He was Mayor of Wigan in 1853[7] and in 1873,[8] and was appointed as a Deputy Lieutenant of Lancashire in September 1863.[9]

In June 1873 he led Wigan's welcome for the Prince and Princess of Wales, who opened a new hospital in the town,[8] which the Princess named the Royal Albert Edward Infirmary.[10]


He was elected as one of the two Members of Parliament (MPs) for Wigan at a by-election in March 1866,[4] following the resignation of the Conservative MP Hon. James Lindsay.[4] Nominations for the contest took place in the moot hall in Wigan, supervised by the Mayor Thomas Knowles.[11] The candidates then addressed the voters in the town hall. Eckersley offered himself as a "free and independent candidate", and said that until then he had never considered himself to be a politician.[11] The Mayor called for a show of hands, which he found to be in favour of Eckersley, but a poll was demanded[11] and Eckersley won 411 votes to the 349 cast for his Liberal opponent John Lancaster.[12]

He was defeated at by John Lancaster (MP) at the 1868 general election, when Liberal candidates took both seats in Wigan, and he did not stand for Parliament again for another 15 years.[12]

He was High Sheriff of Lancashire in 1878,[13] and in that capacity helped to organise a fund for the dependants of the victims of the explosion on 7 June 1878 at the Wood Pit Colliery in Haydock,[14] where more than 200 miners were killed.[15]

When Wigan's Conservative MP Lord Lindsay succeeded to his father's peerage in 1880, and Eckersley was asked to stand at the by-election in January 1881, but refused.[16] Following the death in December 1883 of Wigan's other Conservative MP Thomas Knowles, Eckersley was returned unopposed[12] at the resulting by-election on 21 December 1883.[17] He held the seat until when Wigan's parliamentary representation was reduced from two seats to one by the Redistribution of Seats Act 1885, and did not contest the 1885 general election.[18]


  1. ^ Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "W" (part 4)
  2. ^ a b "About the Borough: Hindley". Metropolitan Borough of Wigan. Retrieved 15 December 2010.
  3. ^ a b "Money-Market & City Intelligence". The Times. London. 19 January 1874. p. 6, col A.
  4. ^ a b c "No. 23097". The London Gazette. 6 April 1866. p. 2253.
  5. ^ "Townships: Standish-with-Langtree". A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 6. 1911. pp. 192–199. Retrieved 14 December 2010.
  6. ^ "Election Intelligence. Wigan". The Times. London. 27 March 1866. pp. 5, col F.
  7. ^ "The Lancashire Strikes". The Times. London. 11 November 1853. p. 7, col C.
  8. ^ a b "Royal Visit To Lancashire". The Times. London. 4 June 1873. pp. 6, col D.
  9. ^ "No. 22774". The London Gazette. 25 September 1863. p. 4649.
  10. ^ "The King's Visit To Lancashire". The Times. London. 2 July 1912. pp. 7, col B. An Out-Patients Department is being built for the Royal Albert Edward Infirmary, Wigan, which was opened by King Edward and named by Queen Alexandra
  11. ^ a b c "Election Intelligence. Wigan". The Times. London. 27 March 1866. p. 5, col F.
  12. ^ a b c Craig, F. W. S. (1989) [1977]. British parliamentary election results 1832–1885 (2nd ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. p. 332. ISBN 0-900178-26-4.
  13. ^ "From the LONDON GAZETTE, Tuesday, Feb. 26. Lord Chamberlain's Office, St. James's". The Times. London. 27 February 1878. p. 6, col F.
  14. ^ "The Wood Pit Colliery Explosion". The Times. London. 13 June 1878. p. 6, col A.
  15. ^ "List of the Victims of The Wood Pit Explosion Haydock, 1878". Retrieved 15 December 2010.
  16. ^ "Election Intelligence: Wigan". The Times. London. 17 December 1880. p. *, col E.
  17. ^ "No. 25305". The London Gazette. 4 January 1884. p. 78.
  18. ^ Craig, F. W. S. (1989) [1974]. British parliamentary election results 1885–1918 (2nd ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. p. 209. ISBN 0-900178-27-2.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Hon. James Lindsay
Henry Woods
Member of Parliament for Wigan
With: Henry Woods
Succeeded by
John Lancaster
Henry Woods
Preceded by
Thomas Knowles
Algernon Egerton
Member of Parliament for Wigan
With: Algernon Egerton
Succeeded by
Francis Powell
Honorary titles
Preceded by
George Marton
High Sheriff of Lancashire
Succeeded by
William Garnett