How did money from slavery help develop Greater Manchester?

The Barlow family of Bolton


James Barlow was a textile manufacturer and abolitionist. He was born in 1821 at Tottington and died in 1887 at Greenthorne. His father Thomas Barlow had been a farmer and handloom weaver and James began his career in the textile trade in Manchester. He returned to Edgworth and Bolton to start a business in quilt weaving, in association with Mr Jones and Mr Goody of Smith Hill and Company, Manchester.

Barlow and Jones

This partnership developed into the textile company of Barlow and Jones, Cotton Spinners and Manufacturers of Edgworth, Bolton and Manchester. The firm had warehouses at Portland Street in the city centre. James Barlow became a wealthy man and by 1861 had purchased the Greenthorne estate at Edgworth.

Interest in Egyptology

James Barlow's daughter Annie had interests in archaeology and Egyptology and became Honorary Secretary of the Egypt Exploration Fund and Society. She and her brother were influential in forming Bolton Museum's important Egyptology collection.

In 1931 Annie Barlow was photographed with Gandhi in the garden of the Barlow family home. A copy of this photograph is in the Bolton Museum collection. The museum also has a number of items from the Barlow family, including a collection of seeds and bark specimens from Jamaica and products manufactured by Barlow and Jones, such as short warp threads for the loom, bobbins of weft thread and woven quilts.