Sir William Crossley, 1st Baronet

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Sir William Crossley

Sir William John Crossley, 1st Baronet (22 April 1844 – 12 October 1911) was a British engineer and Liberal politician.

W J Crossley was born at Glenburn, near Lisburn, County Antrim. His ancestors had come to Ireland from Lancashire at the time of the Williamite War.[1] He was educated at the Royal School Dungannon and in Bonn.[1]

He was first employed at the machine works of W G Armstrong, Elswick, before joining his brother, Francis to found the Crossley Brothers engineering firm in Manchester in 1867.[1] In 1876 the company began the production of gas engines, and the firm went on to be major employers. In 1876 he married Mabel Gordon Anderson.[1] In 1903 he was given the freedom of the City of Manchester.[1]

In 1906 he was asked to stand as Liberal candidate for the parliamentary constituency of Altrincham, and defeated the sitting Conservative MP, Coningsby Disraeli. He was created a baronet in 1909.[2] He lost his parliamentary seat at the December 1910 election by 119 votes.[1]

Crossley was involved in philanthropic works. He was Chairman of the Manchester Hospital for Consumption and Diseases of the Throat and Chest and built a sanitorium at Delamere Forest for patients from Lancashire towns at his own expense.[3] He was president of Manchester YMCA, and one of the original promoters of the Manchester Ship Canal. He was a teetotaler and treasurer of the United Kingdom Alliance, a temperance organisation.[1]

Sir William and Lady Mabel had five children, Kenneth (1877–1957), Eric (1878–1949), Brian (b. 1886), Lettice (b. 1879) and Cicely (b. 1880). Both Lettice and Cicely died as infants.[4]

He died aged 67 in 1911, following complications from an operation.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Obituary: Sir W. J. Crossley, The Times, 13 October 1911, p.9
  2. ^ "No. 128312". The London Gazette. 26 November 1909. p. 8934.
  3. ^ Davies, Robert Price (2002). Baguley and Wythenshawe Hospitals. Manchester. ISBN 0954339207.
  4. ^ Eyre, Michael; Heaps, Chris & Townsin, Alan (2002). Crossley. UK: OPC. ISBN 0-86093-574-4.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Coningsby Disraeli
Member of Parliament for Altrincham
1906December 1910
Succeeded by
John Robert Kebty-Fletcher