& Entrepreneurs of Manchester
Manufacturer - Quarry Bank Mill, Styal
Samuel Greg was to become a major industrialist, entrepreneur
and philanthropist in the region and was responsible for the
creation of Quarry Bank Mill in Styal. He was born in Belfast
in 1758, the son of a successful merchant and ship owner. His
mother's family were also merchants, in Manchester, and specialised
in the production of textiles bound for American markets. The
young Samuel Greg began working at his uncle Robert's company
in Manchester. Upon Robert's death in 1782 Samuel took over
the firm - then valued at £26,000.
Greg soon developed a reputation for producing top quality yarns
and after continued success he decided to build a new textile
mill at Styal (near present day Manchester Airport). It was
to be located beside the River Bollin which would drive the
purpose-built 20 horsepower water wheel. Quarry Bank Mill opened
in 1784 at cost of £3,000 and employed 150 men.
In 1789 he married Hannah Lightbody, the daughter of religious
Unitarian family, whose liberal humanitarian beliefs would considerably
influence her new husband's attitude to his workforce, their
living and working conditions.
She also invested her £10,000 dowry in the mill, which
financed a replacement water wheel and made possible the addition
of worker's cottages for the expanding workforce. All the cottages
were of an exceptionally high standard for the time each had
a modest garden to grow their own vegetables.
By 1790 the Apprentice House had been built to house up to 90
children from local workhouses where they could be educated
and trained eventually to work in the mill. These children (60
girls and 30 boys) made up around half of the total workforce,
for which they each received board and lodging, and two pence
In 1796 Greg recruited a partner, Peter Ewart, an engineer who
had worked with Boulton and Watt in the development and production
of the early steam engines. Ewart was responsible for the installation
of a 10 horsepower Boulton & Watt steam engine, which supplemented
two more water wheels in times of drought.
By 1816 Quarry Bank employed 252 people and was producing around
153 tons of cloth a year rising by 1825 to a workforce of 380
and over double the output, exporting to Italy, France, North
America, Russia, Germany and South America. Needless to say,
Greg amassed a considerable personal fortune and became one
of Manchester's most influential businessmen. Later he opened
other mills at Caton, Lancaster, Bury and Bollington. Samuel
Greg died in June 1834. See Main Entry - Quarry
of Veno's Cough Syrup & Germolene
Sir William Veno in his mayoral robes
William Henry Veno was born William Reynard Varney in 1866 in
Castle Douglas. In August 1894, aged just 28 years, he moved
to Canada and registered his company Veno's. Whilst there he
invented Veno's Lightening Cough Cure and Germolene
among many others, and these famous brands are still known and
used to this day.
He met Mary Pearson whilst abroad and they married and moved
back to live in England, where William set up his company, Veno
Drug Company Limited, in Manchester on Chester Road. (Though
this building was in existence in June 1922 when permission
was given for an extension, it seems to no longer exist).
William was knighted 15th June 1920 and became the Mayor of
Following a scare regarding a growth on his lip which was believed
to be cancerous, he offered tens of thousands of pounds for
anyone who could find a cure for cancer.
The Veno Drug Company was bought in 1925 by Beechams. Sadly,
in 1933, Sir William was found shot dead in the grounds of his
house. A verdict of suicide was given.
are indebted to Paul Parker, great-grandson of Sir William,
for kindly providing this information and allowing us to use
the photograph from his personal collection.
Charles Roe was the founder of Roe & Company, also known
as the Macclesfield Copper Company. Roe was actually born in
Castleton, Derbyshire, but moved to Macclesfield in Cheshire
and by 1758 had established himself as a major silk manufacturer.
Also in that year he also diversified his business interests
into profitable copper mining and smelting operations. By the
mid-1700s he was firmly established s a leading and influential
industrialist in the northwest region.
In 1758 he also began mining copper ore in nearby Alderley Edge
and later from another of his acquired mines in Coniston in
the Lake District.
Roe built a copper works on Macclesfield Common providentially
aided by the readily available shallow coal seams just outside
the town, which he needed for melting. He similarly set up other
smelting shops near Congleton and at Bosley. But, his mining
interests were relatively short-lived, as in 1768 mining had
ceased at Alderley Edge and those at Coniston only survived
a further two years before he finally abandoned them in 1770.
In 1763 Roe had acquired land on Parys Mountain in Anglesey
and established the Mona Mine which was to become his most successful
and profitable enterprise.
By 1767 Roe & Company had also opened the first of two smelting
operations on the banks of the River Mersey in Liverpool, acquired
the Avoca Copper Mine in Ireland and a colliery at Wrexham.
On his death, his company's vast commercial interests passed
on to Edward Hawkins, a merchant of Congleton, Abraham Mills
of Macclesfield and his eldest son, William Roe.
Charles Roe died in 17781 and a memorial tablet to his achievements
can be found in Christ Church in Macclesfield, (which he had
virtually had built at his own expense) and his name is remembered
locally in a street name and office chambers in the township.
Textile Manufacturer & Businessman
Samuel Ogden was born in November 1819 at Slaithwaite near Huddersfield,
the eldest son of Amos Ogden, partner in the firm of Scholes,
Varley and Ogden, cotton spinners.
He moved to Manchester sometime around 1835 and began his working
life as a cotton cloth agent and worked his way up to eventually
become one of the city's most successful manufacturers of fancy
Ogden was a most important and influential Victorian manufacturer
and businessman known for his long association with the Manchester
Athenaeum, (in which he served as Honorary Secretary from 1849-53).
From 1859-1870 he was chairman of the Athenaeum Board, and from
1870 until he death he was its President. He was made a magistrate
for the City of Manchester in 1875.
He was an active member of the Chamber of Commerce, having been
elected a director in 1867, and later became its president.
He was also vice-chairman of the Guardian Society for the
Protection of Trade from 1879 to 1889, later became its
chairman and president, until he retired in 1902. He was famed
for his apparently encyclopaedic knowledge of contract and commercial
law, and his advice was eagerly sought after by his colleagues.
Samuel Ogden retired to Colwyn Bay in Wales and died on 21 December
1903. He is buried at St Paul's Church in Kersal (Salford).
His name is still remembered in Samuel Ogden Street,
which is located between Granby Row and Whitworth Street near
UMIST, on the edge of what is now the Gay