Samuel Pownall DEAKIN (1839-1929)

Samuel Pownall DEAKIN was the son of Robert DEAKIN and Martha POWNALL. Samuel was born in 1839 in Stockport, Cheshire1 and grew up on New Bridge Lane alongside the River Mersey, in the centre of Stockport’s silk and cotton mill industry.

Samuel’s father, Robert, worked as a ‘Power Loom Overlooker’ in one of the many cotton mills in the town. Samuel followed his father into the mills, but by the age of 18 had enlisted with the 2nd Regiment of Royal Cheshire Militia, based at Macclesfield, and served for five years at Aldershot and other places across England before returning to civilian life. 

In the early 1860s, as the Cotton Famine (also known as the Lancashire Cotton Famine or Cotton Panic) took hold on the cotton mill industry, Stockport’s cotton mills suffered as they struggled to compete with the newer larger mills being built further afield. It was at this time that Samuel moved from Cheshire to Wigan, having visited the town as a boy, to seek work in Wigan’s weaving and cotton industry and Samuel was employed as an overlooked at Messrs. Woods’ Mill. Wigan’s weaving industry was prospering as new power mills and factories were being built adopting newer technologies and Colonel William Woods2 introduced the first power looms in Wigan.

William SIDEBOTHAM, who also grew up on New Bridge Lane, Stockport, at no. 133, moved to Wigan with Samuel. Both worked as ‘Power Loom Weavers’ and in April 1861 were lodging with the Pollard family (Hugh Pollard, his wife Margaret and daughter Kate) at 90 Great George Street, Wigan.

William sister, Sarah Ann SIDEBOTHAM (18373-1922) was also employed in the cotton mills and by April 1861 had also moved to Wigan, working as a ‘Winder’ in a cotton mill, living with the Halliwell family (Thomas, his wife Emma and son Hugh) at 7 Market Court.

Samuel and Sarah Ann SIDEBOTHAM were married by Rev. Edward Westman in September 1861 at All Saints’ Church, Walshaw Road, Elton, Lancashire4. It is likely that Samuel and Sarah had moved to Elton (on the western fringes of Bury) to work in the mills that had built in the upper Irwell Valley but they shortly returned to Wigan where their eldest four children were born (see below).

By 1871 Samuel and his family had moved to Liptrots Houses, Newtown, Pemberton, 2 miles to the west of Wigan and Samuel was employed as an ‘Overlooker’ and Sarah as a ‘Weaver’ in Newton’s cotton mills. William SIDEBOTHAM, who by this time had been married and widowed, was lodging with them and as also employed as an ‘Overlooker’ in the mills.

Samuel’s involvement in the cotton manufacturing industry in Wigan prospered. It is reported that he was involved in the building of the great Rylands Mill in Mesnes, Wigan. The mill was designed by George Woodhouse for John Rylands, one of Wigan’s largest cotton spinners. It is also recorded that Samuel held positions with leading Wigan textile firms and that his work took him overseas to France, Spain and Portugal.

Samuel is not recorded in the 1881 Census, perhaps he was abroad at the time? His wife, Sarah and their children are listed as living at 13 Wignall Street, Wigan.

In the late 1880s, Samuel invested in the beginnings of Deakin’s Jam, entering into a business partnership, Deakin & Hodson, with his eldest son William Robert DEAKIN and John Hartley HODSON

But Samuel’s interest in the textile industry never waned. During his latter years he often visited the weaving sheds in Wigan run by R. Alstead Ltd. By 1891 Samuel and Sarah had moved to 49 Corporation Street and by 1901 to 22 Bradford Place, Wigan.

Samuel and Sarah had the following children:

  1. William Robert DEAKIN, b. 1 Sep 1862, Wigan, d. 21 Apr 1943, Bromsgrove, Worcestershire
  2. George Edward DEAKIN, b. 1864, Wigan, d. 1940, Wigan
  3. Martha Elizabeth DEAKIN, b. 1866, Wigan, d. 1960
  4. Samuel Pownall DEAKIN, b. 1869, d. 1899, Wigan
  5. Emma DEAKIN, b. 1871, Pemberton, d. 1966, Wigan
  6. Sarah Ann DEAKIN, b. 1873, Wigan
  7. Minnie DEAKIN, b. 1876, Wigan, d. 1956
  8. Harriet Eliza DEAKIN, b. 1878, Wigan, d. 1955

Samuel and Sarah celebrated their Golden (60th) wedding anniversary in September 1921. They received a telegram of congratulations from King George V and in July earlier that year, Samuel had met the King when he visited Wigan. “That this old pair may live and prosper in everything is the heartfelt wish of their kinsfolk and friends everywhere.” from Wigan Observer 3 Sep 1921.

Photo of four generations of the Deakin family taken in September 1921 to celebrate Mr & Mrs Samuel P Deakin’s 60th Wedding Anniversary:

Four generations of the Deakin family, standing left to right: John Bertram DeakinWilliam Robert Deakin
Seated left to right: Mary Jane Deakin (née Hartley), Samuel Pownall Deakin, Sarah Ann Deakin (née Sidebottom), Florence Kate Deakin (née Tandy)
Front row: William Robert (Bill) Deakin, Bessie M Deakin
Photo originally taken by the Wigan Observer

During his lifetime Samuel was greatly involved in Wigan life: he acted as Bugle-Major to the old Wigan Volunteer Battalion, was involved in the Church Lads’ Brigade, the Boy Scouts and other Wigan movements and societies.

Sarah died in November 1922, aged 85, at 52 Park Road, Wigan. Her funeral took place in the Standishgate Wesleyan Church and she is buried in Wigan Cemetery (Lower Ince).

Samuel died, aged 90, on Easter Monday 1st April 19295 at the home of his daughter Minnie (Mrs M. Foster), Beacon View, Chaucer Place, Mesnes Road, Wigan. His funeral service took place at the Queen’s Hall, officiated by Rev. W.H. Cookson and Rev. George Watson.

Samuel is buried in Wigan Cemetery (Lower Ince) in plot A487, with his wife Sarah Ann DEAKIN (née Sidebottom), son Samuel Pownall DEAKIN and son-in-law Edwin LARGE. At the time of his death, Samuel was living with his daughter Minnie and her husband William Foster at Beacon View, Chaucer Place, Mesnes Road, Wigan.

It was the Wigan Observer that gave Samuel the title ‘Grand Old Man’ of Wigan. He was interviewed for the newspaper in February 1929 and the writer (JMG) summed up Samuel’s life and achievements in the final paragraph with he following comment: ‘Such men as Mr Deakin are standards, we can do well to take them as our models’.

Samuel P. Deakin c1921

Parents of Samuel Pownall DEAKIN


Siblings of Samuel Pownall DEAKIN

Harriett DEAKIN
Rachael DEAKIN

The Grand Old Man of Wigan
2nd Royal Cheshire Militia Royal Colours


  1. Source: Register of Births, January, February, March, 1839, Stockport Vol 19, page 306.
  2. The Woods Mill was started by Colonel William Woods in the original Trencherfield Mill. William Woods was succeeded by his son, Henry and his grandson, William. Both were Mayors of Wigan in 1855 and 1890 respectively.
  3. Source: Census of England and Wales 1871.
  4. Source: Register of Marriages, July, August, September, 1861, Bury Vol 8c, page 461.
  5. Source: Register of Deaths, April, May, June, 1929, Wigan.

Census recordings for Samuel Pownall Deakin:

1841: Aged 2, with sister Harriet (3 months) and parents Robert (‘Overlooker of Cotton Power Looms’) and Martha Deakin. Living at New Bridge Lane, Stockport.
1851: Aged 13, listed as a ‘Scholar’, grandson of George Deakin (aged 59, occupation ‘Baker’). Living with grandparents George and Rachel, father Robert, and sister Harriett, uncle Samuel and aunt Hannah all at 60 Lancashire Hill, Heaton Norris, Stockport.
1861: Aged 22, unmarried, lodging with the Pollard family (Hugh Pollard, his wife Margaret and daughter Kate) at 90 Great George Street, Wigan, occupation ‘Powerloom weaver’ with William Sidebotham (also aged 22 from Stockport).
1871: Living at Liptrots Houses, New Town, Pemberton. Married to Sarah, occupation ‘Overlooker in Cotton Mill’ with 5 children and William Sidebotham (widowed, aged 32, b. Stockport, Overlooker in Cotton Mill).
1881: Not listed. Sarah A. Deakin is listed with 8 children living at 13 Wignall Street, Wigan.
1891: Living at 49 Corporation Street, Wigan. Married to Sarah, occupation ‘Overlooker’ with 6 children. 3 daughters: Emma, Sarah and Minnie are listed as working as ‘Jam Wrappers’, working in the Deakin Jam Factory in Bradford Place.
1901: Aged 64, living at 22 Bradford Place, Wigan, with Sarah, aged 64, living on own means.