People 1732 - 1900
1766 Samuel Horrocks (1766-1842)
Samuel Horrocks was one of the most successful cotton manufacturers in Preston. His brother John Horrocks was the founder of the Horrockses company who made cotton yarn and cloth in Preston.
Samuel Horrocks was born in Edgworth, near Bolton in 1766. At first Samuel worked for his father who owned a millstone quarry in Edgworth. He also married Miss Alice Duckworth of Edgworth on 18 August 1786.
Samuel became a manager and partner in the cotton spinning and manufacturing business founded by his brother John Horrocks.
Samuel and his family then settled in Preston. In 1797 he built Lark Hill. This was a large house where he lived until his death in 1842. Lark Hill later became a convent school and is now part of Cardinal Newman College.
Lark Hill was a very large and modern house. In the basement there was a bakery. It had hot and cold running water, heating, showers, baths and even toilets. It had seven main bedrooms. There were nine bedrooms in the attic for servants. In the grounds of the house there was also a brewery, dairy and wash house.
Samuel and his wife Alice had 8 children born between 1790 and 1802. The family was looked after by a housekeeper, butler and an army of servants. They also had a gardener who lived in a lodge behind the house.
Samuel Horrocks became a very rich and important person in Preston. He became a very important councillor called an Alderman. He was also Mayor from 1801-1802.
In 1804 Samuel Horrocks was hit by a double tragedy. On 1 March 1804 his brother John died in London and on 21 July 1804 his wife Alice died aged only 38 years. Their 8 children were all under 14 years of age. Their daughters were looked after by one of Samuel's sisters and a governess. Their sons went to schools in London and then college.
After the death of John Horrocks in 1804 Samuel became MP for Preston. He was MP for 22 years. Unfortunately he is remembered as 'the silent member for Preston'.
The life that Samuel Horrocks enjoyed was very different to the lives of the working classes in Preston. His employees lived in houses with no running water or toilets.
In 1823 a stranger attacked Samuel with a large knife on his way to visit Thomas Miller. He managed to fend off his attacker but was badly injured. The man, Andrew Ryding was caught, taken to Lancaster court and found to be mad. The man was a cotton worker who may have had been angry with the men who owned the mills.
Samuel Horrocks recovered from his injuries and lived for another 20 years. He died aged 76 in 1842, the year his son Samuel was Guild Mayor. He was buried in St George's churchyard in Preston.