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Mr Joseph Turner


Joseph Turner was born in Manchester on 15.5.1855. His obituary in the Goole Times states that he came from a family whose members had been involved in paper-making for many generations, and indeed, the 1841 lists his grandfather, also Joseph, working as a paper-maker at Stretford, as is his father John on the 1851 census. John was still a paper-maker in 1861 but now living with his wife and young family at Hayfield in Derbyshire. By 1871 they had moved to Glossop, and young Joseph, aged 15, gave his employment as paper-maker's apprentice.


At some time during the 1870s, Joseph moved to Darwen, and married his first wife Martha. In 1881 he lived at Watery Lane with Martha and their daughter Emily. Sadly Martha died in 1886, but Joseph married again shortly afterwards, to Priscilla Appleyard. 
Although Priscilla was born near Filey in Yorkshire, her family lived in Darwen for some years and Priscilla was a school teacher before her marriage.

The 1888 directory for Darwen lists Joseph Turner as a Mill Manager, and it appears he was involved with Darwen Paper Mills, before moving to work at the paper mill at Feniscowles.


In 1898 he moved to Rawcliffe Bridge near Goole, to take over the paper mills there, being one of the shareholders of the company formed to acquire the property. 


This seems to have been a very successful enterprise, and was at one time the largest employer in the district, employing about 200 people.


Although Mr Turner lived at Ivy Villa in Rawcliffe Bridge from 1898 until his death on 27.9.1923, he is buried in Darwen Cemetery. The local papers in both Goole and Darwen carried an account of his funeral which clearly demonstrates the high regard in which he was held.


joseph_turner_1He left an estate valued at around £50,000.


One can only surmise that he wished to be buried in Darwen as it represented the start of his successful managerial career, and that he had many happy memories of the town. His grave stands proud, if somewhat overgrown, over to the right from the path leading up into the cemetery from the Lark Street entrance.


The help of the staff at Goole
Library and Darwen Library is gratefully acknowledged.


                                                                                   Tony Foster
                                                                                    April 2011





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