Saturday, 5 March 2011

Richard Parkinson (1816-80), founder of R Parkinson and Sons (later Parkinsons Ltd, Burnley)

Introducing my great-great-great-grandfather, Richard Parkinson.  He was born at the Lanehead Inn (aka: the Fanny Grey), Salterforth, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, on 16th November 1816.  Some time in 1818 or 1819 his father moved the family to London, moving back again to the area and settling in Colne some time before 1828.  The young Richard apprenticed as a cordwainer [shoemaker].  On 1st September 1839 he married Miss Mary Watkinson, and the couple moved in next door to Mary's widowed mother at Smithy Lane, Trawden.  Their first child - Ann - was born there before the year was out.  Eight or possibly nine other children followed, including my great-great-grandfather Isaiah, born 1846.  In 1848 Richard went into business, with his brother Thomas, as a drysalter [chemist] in Nelson and Hollin Bank, Brierfield; at around the same time he moved his growing family from Trawden to Little Marsden.  When the Hollin Bank premises were damaged by fire, Richard moved the business to Hammerton Street, Burnley, and his family took up residence just round the corner in Coal Street.  Toward the end of his life he took his two eldest sons into the business, which traded under the name R. Parkinson & Sons until 1928, thereafter becoming Parkinsons Ltd, Burnley.  He died at Ilkley on 12th January 1880, and was buried at Burnley Cemetery.
At one time his image ~ this image ~ was known by millions across the world, being used on the company's packaging long after his death.  If he has the air of a high Victorian Methodist lay preacher, well, that's because he was.


  1. hi i have just read the above. I googled your great great great grandfather. My name is Janice and live in Portsmouth, at the top of my road is a secand hand shop. I bought a large silver,i would say,serving spoon. it is in it's own case,the spoon sitting in purple velvet. the lid on the inside is padded and on it it has a picture of your great great great grandfather in and oval edging. either side it has the dates 1848 to 1928 and above and underneathe it says Parkinsons,Burnley. it would be great if you could contact me if this means anything to you.Jan

    1. Hullo Jan. Yes, I've got one of those spoons too. I hope you didn't pay much for yours ~ they're not exactly valuable :O(

      Sorry it's taken me so long to reply.

  2. Please contact me I have a collection of Parkinsons Items