​​​​​​20th Century Mayors 1950-1970

John Bea​rdsworth | William Hare | John Shorrock | Robert Weir

John Beardsworth​
​Mayor of Blackburn 1950-51

John was born in Blackburn on the 4th of September 1899 to James and Emily who had a family of eight children. James worked for the railways and his sons John and George followed him to become railway clerks. John married Florence Kenyon Sarsfield in January 1909 and by the census of 1911 they were living at 13, Woodbine Road with their two daughters, Ethel two and Dorothy five months - they went on to have another daughter and three sons. In 1939 they were living at 195, Brownhill Drive. John was interested in all sports particularly cricket and had been an official of the Railway Clerks Cricket Club. 

John was a British Railways Railway Service Representative retiring in 1950 after more than forty six years in railway service. At the age of fourteen he had started as a junior clerk with the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company at Blackburn and spent the whole of his career at Blackburn Goods occupying several positions. He was appointed Commercial Representative in May 1938 but was withdrawn in consequence of the WW2. At the close of war he again took up duties in the town making contact with the various firms and traders being appointed to his final position of Railway Service Representative in October 1945. For twenty one years he was secretary of the Blackburn Railway Clerks Association and afterwards became their Chairman. John began his council service in 1928 when he was elected as Labour Councillor for St. Paul's Ward which he continued to represent until he was made an Alderman in 1945. He was deputy leader of the Labour Group and had been Chairman of the Waterworks Committee since 1929. John was appointed a Justice of the Peace in 1938 and was also a member of the Management Committee of the Blackburn Co-Operative Society. He was the Chairman of the Finance and General Purposes Committee of the Lancashire and Western Sea Fisheries Committee where he represented Blackburn for many years. After the passing of the Rent Act he set up an information bureau to give advice to tenants which eventually resulted in the reduction of rents for twenty thousand householders in the town. John's brother Fred also served on the council and another brother George had been the Mayor of Bebington and awarded the OBE.

Florence died aged 89 in 1974 and John died at the age of ninety in 1980. 
Janet Burke.


 Mayor of Blackburn 1951-52​

William was born on the 23rd of July 1879 to William and Hannah. The family lived on Queens Road in 1901 and William at the age of twenty one was an accountant's clerk. His younger brother Charles Henry was a stockbroker's clerk and father William was described as a book-keeper. William had an elder sister Amelia, a weaver and a younger brother Arthur still at school. William's father was from Leicestershire and educated at Manchester Grammar School. He worked at Coddington's Mill as cashier for fifty nine years and was very involved at St. Thomas's church being the Sunday School Superintendant. In 1907 William married Sarah Jane Hart. On the census of 1911 they lived at 215, Revidge Road and had a son William aged three months. William served his articles with a Mr. J. Rudd J.P. and on passing his final exam in 1911 was elected an Associate of Chartered Accountants and immediately became a partner in the firm of Waterworth, Rudd and Hare. William divided his service to the Church between St. Thomas's and St. Silas's holding many positions including being a representative to the Diocesan and Decanal conferences and also being the Sunday School Superintendant like his father. At the special Diocesan Conference meeting of the 16th. of June 1922 it was said that William was largely responsible for Blackburn being selected as the See Town.

William became the Mayor in the town council's centenary year. He had been the Conservative member for St. John's Ward since 1931 and continued until he was made an Alderman in 1941. He was an old boy of the Grammar School and a governor since 1932, he was the Chairman of the Finance Committee, Treasurer of the local Conservative Party and Hon.Treasurer to the Council of Cathedral Builders. William was very concerned with the extension to the cathedral and disappointed that it was not sufficiently advanced to permit an official opening in his year of office. The costs had risen threefold due largely to the suspension of work during the war and William announced his intention to open a subscription list for Blackburn Cathedral Building Fund, £176,000 had already been contributed but it was thought another £200,000 would be needed. He regretted that the celebrations for the centenary year would be somewhat restrained in view of the aftermath of the second world war and the war in Korea. Many improvements to the town had been achieved but there was still a lot to do and William also appealed for a return to the Church and that people might attend at least on a Sunday - congregations had greatly diminshed. 

William's final address was 77, Alexandra Road where his wife Sarah Jane died in January 1931 William was married again in September 1932 to Ellen Kenyon the daughter of an Estate Agent - the ceremony took place in Chipping. William died on the 14th. of May 1961 and probate was granted to Ellen and his son William, also a chartered accountant, the proceeds being £20,422-6s.
Janet Burke.



John Shorrock​
Mayor of Blackburn 1952-53

John was born in 1882 to James Edward and Mary Ann Shorrock. There had been twelve children in the family and John was the eldest however three had sadly died. When John was nine years old, they lived at 15, Whitebirk Road and he went to a small school run by one master and his wife. Whitebirk pit was across the road from the school and it was common for people to borrow a barrow and take a hundredweight of coal for sixpence. John worked in the cotton industry starting as a half-timer on two shillings and sixpence a week and became an overlooker. He studied at Blackburn Technical College and eventually became a director of F. Mercer & Co. Pioneer Mill, Kelly Street, Mill Hill. He was also a director of another concern and John Latero had an interest in his father's furniture and bedding business on Copy nook and the Bottomgate Billiard Hall which he took control of after his father's death in 1943. He met his wife to be, Alice Smith, at a dance held in the Co-Op Rooms on Belper Street and they married in 1907 living on Cherry Street.

John was a member of the Labour Party for over fifty years and was elected a councillor for St. Matthews ward - a position he held for thirty-five years. He was Chairman of the Public Assistance and Finance Committees, Chairman of the Watch Committee and Chairman of Brockhall Institution. John was also on various hospital boards including Manchester Regional Hospital Board, Prestwick Hospital, Moor Hospital Lancaster and Blackburn and District Hospital Management Committee. He was the House Chairman of Queens Park Hospital where he had been involved for twenty-seven years. During the trade depression from 1931-39 John helped with social work for the unemployed of the town and he paid several visits to the United States where he studied the problems of unemployment. One of his special memories during this period was the visit of Ghandi to the local area. During his mayoralty nearly £15000 was raised for various local funds including the relief of Lynthorpe and the East Coast Flood Relief Funds. In 1946 John was appointed to the Magisterial Bench where he served until reaching the compulsory retirement age of seventy-five. John was also an Alderman and respected by all parties.

John and Alice celebrated their golden wedding in 1957. However, in April 1964 John died at his home 840, Whalley New Road aged eighty-two - the funeral was held at Furthergate Congregational Church and the interment was at Pleasington Cemetery. Probate was granted to Alice and the proceeds were £5,132. Alice only lived for two more years and died in Queens Park Hospital. Much of this information was contained in the obituary published by the Blackburn Times on the 10th. of April 1964 and other articles from the Evening Telegraph of 1957.
Janet Burke.


Robert Weir
Mayor of Blackburn 1953-54

Robert was born on the 17th of June 1893 in Glenluce, Scotland but his family came to Blackburn and in the census of 1901 they lived at 49, Ingham Street. By 1911 Robert, aged eighteen, was working as a Blacksmith's striker, and was married to Nellie aged twenty - they lived at 139, Alker Street. In 1939 Robert worked as a Railway Signalman and lived with Ellen and their son John Robert aged sixteen at 80, Old Bank Lane. Robert worked on the Railways for forty two years and had been a special grade signalman for thirty one of those years.

Robert became the Mayor in the year of the coronation. He was elected an Alderman only three months after his mayoralty although he had been a councillor for twenty five years. Robert was the longest serving socialist councillor and for eight years had been Chairman of the Transport Committee, Chairman elect of the Municipal Transport Association and a member for the National Joint Industrial Council for Passenger Transport. Robert was Chairman of the N. E. Lancashire Town and Country Planning Advisory Committee and had led several deputations to the President of the Board of Trade. In 1938 he was appointed a magistrate and in 1957 he was awarded the BEM for his role in Blackburn's public life, Trade Union affairs and national transport work.

Ellen died in 1972 aged eighty and in 1981 Robert died in Queens Park Hospital aged eighty eight. He had lived on Bradda Road at the time of his death and left a son and a daughter.
Janet Burke.