Wigan and Leigh Archives Online

1893-1894, 1910-1911, William Henry Hewlett, Chairman of Standish Urban District Council

William Henry Hewlett

Chairman of                        Standish with Langtree UDC 1893/94 to 1910/11

Aspull Local Board 1877/78 to 1892/93

Aspull UDC 1893/94 to 1904/05         

Born: 1846 in Astley near Leigh, Lancashire

Parents: Reverend Alfred Hewlett, Vicar of Astley St Stephen Parish Church and Catherine Anne nee Gibson.

Married: 1871 at Holy Trinity Southport to Janet, daughter of John and Elizabeth Mayhew, solicitor of Wigan.

Children: 8 sons and 4 daughters.

Died: 1933 at Godalming, Surrey, his widow, Janet, died in 1944 at Godalming.

Family background

Born in 1846 the 8th child and 3rd son in a family of 3 sons and 6 daughters his father was the curate, later vicar, of St Stephen’s Church Astley. William’s older brother, Alfred, would become Managing Director of Wigan Coal and Iron Company and his involvement in the building of the new Mining and Technical College, now Wigan Town Hall, would give the family name to Hewlett Street running alongside the new building.

Educated at The Grammar School in Brewood, Staffordshire.

In February 1864 William had a lucky escape when he fell 33 feet from Cowley Bridge on the new railway line that was under construction between Leigh and Tyldesely. Distracted by a horse he lost his footing on the partially constructed bridge and fell from the bridge. Fortunately he suffered no broken bones but suffered bruising and internal injuries that took several weeks to heal. (Leigh Chronicle & District Advertiser)

In 1865 he was appointed assistant manager of the newly formed Wigan Coal and Iron Company of which his brother, Alfred, was Managing Director. In 1912 he succeeded his brother as Managing Director until his retirement in 1930 when he remained as a director.

During his working life he resided at Strickland House Standish and in addition to Wigan Coal and Iron Company he was a member of several other mining companies including Crosswell Colliery Company in Derbyshire and the Ammanford Colliery Company in South Wales.

He served on a number of bodies with mining interests including President of the Lancashire and Cheshire Coal Sales Association, Lancashire and Cheshire Gas Coal Association. Cheshire Coal and Coke Suppliers’ Committee and Chairman of the Northern Employers’ Mutual Indemnity Company. He was also a member of the Executive Council of the Mining Association of Great Britain and took a keen interest in the Lancashire and Cheshire Miners’ Permanent Relief Society.

In politics William Hewlett was a Conservative and a member of Standish Conservative Association he had a great interest in the communities of Standish, Haigh and Aspull. He served as Chairman of Aspull Local Board from 1877 until its replacement by Aspull Urban District Council in 1893. He was elected to both Aspull and Standish with Langtree Urban District Councils serving as the first chairman of both from 1893 until 1905 (Aspull) and 1911 (Standish).

His leisure interests included shooting and cricket being a keen supporter of both Haigh and Wigan Cricket Clubs. He was appointed a magistrate in 1887.

In 1871 he married Janet Mayhew, daughter of John Mayhew, a Wigan solicitor. Although his obituary states that they had 6 boys and 4 daughters the baptism records show that they had 8 sons. The 1911 census shows that one child had died but no record has been found to explain this discrepancy. A son Ernest achieved the rank of Major and won the DSO in the first world war.

Following his retirement in 1930 he moved with his wife to Godalming in Surrey where he died in 1933, his wife died in 1944 and they are both buried in St Wilfrid’s Churchyard at Standish.

Author: Peter Walker


Leigh Chronicle & District Advertiser 13 February 1864 (British Newspaper Library at Findymypast.co.uk)

Wigan Observer 17 June 1933

United Kingdom Census England and Wales 1841 to 1911

National Register 29 September 1939 (Findmypast.co.uk)

National Probate Register England & Wales (Ancestery.com)

Lancashire Online Parish Clerk