Marsden, Henry Rowland

Engineer, inventor and philanthropist, born in Holbeck, Leeds to poor parents, his father from 1811 to c1821 having served in the 90th Foot. His meagre education was at the Sweet Street WM Sunday School and at the age of ten he began a series of minor jobs before becoming an engineering apprentice. In April 1848 he and his wife sailed to New York, where he found employment as an engineer and so continued there until the close of 1850 when they moved to Newhaven, Conn. Here he took out a number of patents including in 1854/5 one for a stone crusher which enabled stone to be crushed for road surfaces. Now a wealthy man, he returned to live in Leeds in 1862, owning a factory for manufacturing his stone crusher. He attended Woodhouse Lane MNC and became active in Liberal politics, being elected a councillor for Holbeck in 1866, alderman in 1872, and twice mayor, in 1873 and 1874. It has been claimed that he gave £2,000 per annum to charitable causes and founded the Leeds Music Festival in 1874. Following his death on 19 January 1876, a statue to his memory, now relocated to Woodhouse Moor, was erected by public subscription close to Woodhouse Lane MNC in which there was also formerly a stained glass window to his memory.

  • J. Sydney Curtis, The Story of the Marsden Mayoralty, with sketch of the mayor's life (Leeds, 1875)

Entry written by: DCD
Category: Person
Comment on this entry