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The Paradise comes to Barnsley

Posted by on November 9, 2013

Although to me my great grandfather, Alfred John Liversedge, is the epitome of the Victorian engineer his career could easily have taken another turn.  His first recorded employment was as a draper’s assistant and this would have been more in-line with the family tradition.  When he was growing up his father, John Arthur Liversedge, was variously cloth merchant, tailor and woollen draper although eventually he divided his time between being a carrier of parcels or a commercial traveller and a Methodist local preacher. Meanwhile in Barnsley his uncle Edwin Liversedge was establishing his drapery business.

The Sheffield Independent March 1875

The Sheffield Independent March 1875

Looking down Regent Street: Edwin Liversedge's premises are on the right with Dr. Sykes's house on the left and Court House Station lower down. Image from Barnsley Archives and local studies centre

Looking down Regent Street: Edwin Liversedge’s premises are on the right with Dr. Sykes’s house on the left and Court House Station lower down.
Image from Barnsley Archives and local studies centre

With the return to the Sunday night TV of The Paradise I wondered whether Edwin’s shop had been anything like that magical emporium.  Edwin started out as a travelling draper and tailor and in the 1871 census he is lodging in Wesley Street, Barnsley.  By 1881 he had risen to be a tailor and draper employing 40 workpeople.

Over the years he seems to have been partnership with a number of other businessmen at one time calling themselves Barnsley Drapery Company.  The local papers illustrate, through the recruitment advertisements, some of the range of services supplied.   In 1875 Edwin Liversedge and Co. Drapers of 13 Regent Street required “a young lady of experience to take the management of a dress and mantle department”.  Later “tailoresses, especially trouser hands” and “coat hands” were in demand along with another “young lady to act in the capacity of milliner and shop saleswoman”.

Edwin rose to hold a certain position within west riding society, the local papers report a number of philanthropic gestures he made including donations to medical work in China and the relief of distress in Armenia as well as supporting the enlargement of the Methodist New Connexion schoolhouse in Hoyland.

However he and his brother’s seem to have been the last of the family to work in the clothing industry; none of their sons (or daughters) sought to follow them following careers as varied as Methodist minister, analytical chemist, farming and of course engineering.

One Response to The Paradise comes to Barnsley

  1. Susie Gutch

    Loved being reminded of Barnsley. We went to live near there in !971, soon after we married. We rented a 17th century cottage in nearby Silkstone Common for £6 per week. Our landlady was the wonderful Mrs Loy of High Hoyland. She and her husband ran the bakery in Market St, Barnsley. When our first son was born in Barnsley General Hospital in 1974 Mrs Loy was one of my first visitors and brought me one of her famous custard tarts – delicious! In those days, the local brewery used to give nursing mothers free stout – no doubt hoping to produce the next generation of footballers to boost the local team’s performance. I wonder if the Goodworth Bakery still exists?
    Happy memories!

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