James Toffy Boyle 1804-1873 of Blackburn
Cotton Famine 1862
In January 1862, James Boyle became Chairman of the Relief Committee to help those unemployed and destitute in Blackburn during the cotton famine, which caused a huge loss of work in Lancashire during the American Civil War. He offered the free use of his boiler with a capacity to make 200 gallons of soup a day(i), which he normally used for preserving fruit. A few weeks later at a meeting of Blackburn Council he stated(ii) "that the soup committee was now distributing excellent soup, which seemed to be very much appreciated. They had that day distributed 2500 quarts, which was the greatest amount in any one day. The soup was a quality that had been declared by many, who had tasted it, to be put on any gentleman's table and would stand to be let down, if it were done with care, so that two quarts would make three".
In order to received help from the Poor Law Guardians, the unemployed had to earn their 'benefit' by working for the Guardians,
About 1,000 men were employed for approximately 1 shilling a day to build a new Workhouse and Infirmary; in March of 1862(iii
), he arranged for soup to be given to the workers, who were building the Blackburn Infirmary. Although basically provided at cost price, soup and bread had to be paid for by purchasing a ticket. James also gave £10 towards a fund that gave tickets to purchase soup to those who had no money.
This is a good indication of how wealthy he had become as £10 in 1862 would have the purchasing power of £6,850 in 2018, (based on average earnings).By the end of 1862 in Blackburn, there were over 30,000 recipients from the Poor Law Guardians, 1,200 quarts of soup and 1½ tons of bread(iv) where distributed each day at a cost of £1,500 a week(v) (over £1M in 2018 based on average earnings); this money was raised by the Poor Law Tax and by generous donations from wealthy donors. There were 17,337 unemployed in Blackburn with only 3857 fully employed and 6079 on short time. There were 4 mills working full time, 38 mills part time and 45 closed(vi)
Children of James Toffy Boyle of Blackburn.
James Toffy Boyle was married twice, said to have had 22 children, and as often happened in the nineteenth century only 9 of them lived into adulthood. Besides confectionery maker and baker he purchased other businesses around Blackburn, which several of his children managed and subsequently owned.
His children from first marriage to Elizabeth Sharples, who died after childbirth.
was born 1831 in Blackburn, died 17 April 1899 in Blackburn. At an early age she became involved in the shop at 44 Salford, becoming a confectioner and manager of the Victoria Street shop.
She did not marry.
William Boyle J.P.
was born on 29 April 1833 in Blackburn, he died 2 August 1897 in Blackburn. He was a confectioner, pawnbroker and Magistrate.
He resigned from the partnership with his brothers James and Robert in 1874 not long after his father's death to become a full time magistrate.
He never married.
From his second marriage to Elizabeth Robinson.
Elizabeth Boyle Robinson.
was born on 17 May 1842 in Blackburn, she died on 7 October 1905 in Oxford Street, Chorlton-on-Medlock.
She married John Coffey, a Builder. They had three children.
was born on 20 November 1844 in Blackburn, he died on 28 September 1909 in Blackburn. He became manager and later owner of a
Pawnbroker in Penny Street, and then Pawnbroker and Clothier of Mount Street.
He was a Councillor of Blackburn Town Council from 1877-1892. He married Sarah Anne Birkett.
Mary Ann Boyle.
was born on 4 April 1847 in Blackburn, she died on 6 August 1885 after child birth in Blackburn, aged 37.
She married James Livesey, in 1873 in Blackburn. James Livesey a cotton manufacture, owning the Ewood and Harley Street Mills.
was born on 3 December 1849 in Blackburn, he died 4 January 1921 in Blackburn, He became the sole owner of James Boyle & Co Ltd. He married Susannah Byers.
was born in 1852 in Blackburn, Lancashire, England, he died 13 October 1909 in Blackburn. He was a partner and Co. managing director of James Boyle & Co.
until he and James fell out over the excessive amount of income he was withdrawing from the company. He married Mary Ann Howarth, known as Annie.
was born on 2 November 1862 in Blackburn, he died 23 April 1923 in Overton Sunderland Point, Lancaster, buried in the family grave at Blackburn Cemetery.
He was an employee of James Boyle & Co as a salesman from 1896 to 1909. He was the president of the
Manufacturing Confectioners' Commercial Travellers' Association in 1914. He married Elizabeth Ann Thompson.
John E Boyle. Australia. 2020 Gt Gt Grandson
i The Preston Guardian etc (Preston, England), Saturday, January 18, 1862; Issue 2604.
ii The Preston Guardian etc (Preston, England), Saturday, February 8, 1862; Issue 2610.
iii The Blackburn Standard (Blackburn, England), Wednesday, March 19, 1862; Issue 1416.
iv The Blackburn Standard (Blackburn, England), Wednesday, November 12, 1862; Issue 1450.
v The Blackburn Standard (Blackburn, England), Tuesday, October 29, 1862; Issue 1448.
vi The Preston Guardian etc (Preston, England), Saturday, November 1, 1862; Issue 2678.
back to top