Cotton mill owner and sharebroker, he was born on 28 December 1839 at Stockport, grew up in Crewe and settled in Oldham after his father's death in 1853. As a blacksmith and engineer he became familiar with the local industrial machinery and when he had established himself as a leading mill owner this enabled him to build and equip much improved mills. Meanwhile in the 1870s he had begun to deal in shares and in 1880 became a founder member of the Lancashire Shareholders' Association. In 1884 he developed as a company promoter and director and from 1910 became known for rescuing ailing companies and making them profitable, while offering record dividends to investors. A staunch Conservative and committed Primitive Methodist (with his membership at Henshaw Street PM chapel, Oldham), his own lifestyle remained frugal and he was a generous PM supporter and a keen temperance advocate. He died on 22 February 1923.