Men and Motors - William Crossley

It is quiet around here. The passages in the Together Trust schools are now empty as its inhabitants enjoy a summer break. When the buildings are vacant their long history seems all the more present to the onlooker. Many children have passed through these doors, receiving care, education and support. Crossley Gaddum, which now houses part of our Inscape House service, was the first purpose built Home on the site. Like the other buildings it was named after prominent charity workers. Today we are going to focus on one of these individual’s – William John Crossley.

William John Crossley

William Crossley was born 22 April 1844 in Ireland and was well known in Manchester for setting up the Crossley Brothers engineering firm in 1867, along with his brother Francis. In 1876 the company began the production of gas engines, and the firm went on to be major employers in the city. Like many Victorian business men the two brothers were closely involved with various philanthropic causes, including the Manchester and Salford Boys’ and Girls’ Refuges and Homes.

Orphan Homes, 1904

William donated various amounts of money to the charity during his lifetime. One of the six Orphan Homes on George Street, Cheetham Hill, was bought and consequently named after him. In 1886 he offered £1000 to secure Rosen Hallas, also on George Street, for the charity’s use, which was used as a ‘Training Home for Girls’. He also became heavily involved with the Gordon Boys Home in Cornbrook. In 1883 he was offered a position as Trustee and following that, Chairman of Committee in 1890. 

Foundation Stone for Crossley Home
William Crossley passed away on the 12th October 1911 following complications from an operation. In the Committee minutes for 1911, the Trustees included a copy of a letter written to his wife, Mabel Crossley, offering their condolences. By 1920 the Society had opened a new site to house children in Cheadle and the Belmont Estate included a new home for boys, which was named after William Crossley as a tribute. The foundation stone, which can still be viewed today, was laid by his wife, Lady Mabel Crossley, in 1922.