52 #18 Lambert Howarth

Lambert Howarth was bon q4 1841 in Sabden, Lancs. By the age of 9 he was living in lodgings in Newchurch (head, Edward Heys), approx 15 miles from home, and working in a cotton mill. He continued as a cotton spinner on the 1861 and 1871 censuses. In 1861 he was still lodging in Forrester’s house, Newchurch.

By 1871 he was a married man, having married Betsy Taylor q1 1869 in Haslingden district. Betsy was born ~1842 in Musbury and gave her occupation in 1871 as a milliner, so Lambert was doing ok for himself there. Lambert and Betsy lived in Bidleway Bottom, Newchurch.

In 1881 both Lambert and Betsy were recorded as drapers, still in Bridleway.
1891 has Lambert still in drapery but also ‘mineral water manufacturer’, a strange combination. Although their address was recorded as 116-118 Burnley Road, the adjacent properties make it clear that it was actually Burnley Road East. There were a number of mineral water manufacturers in the area at that time, including one run by my gg uncle John William Taylor. Perhaps it was the same one?

In 1885 he founded his slipper manufacturer company, Lambert Howarth & Sons, trading as Osbornia footwear. He had two mills, Greenbridge Mill in Fallbarn, Rawtenstall and another in Healy Royds, Burnley.


osbornia advert 1 200 osbornia advert 2  200

Lambert and Betsy had three children:
William Robert Howarth b ~1871 Nechurch
Charles Frederick Howarth b ~ 1873 Newchurch
Ernest Taylor Howarth, b ~ 1881 Newchurch
(Lambert helpfully listed them all on the 1911 census even though none were resident with him at the time and one had been dead for 20 years!)

Sadly their prosperity didn’t protect them from tragedy and Ernest died q4 1881 aged 7 months. He is buried in Sion graveyard, in a grave containing the remains of a number of infants from different families.

Lambert Howarth died in 1918 and is buried in Sion Baptist graveyard.

documentary about Lamberts gives an idea of the troubles faced by the Lancashire footwear industry in the 1990s. Lambert Howarths went into administration in July 2007 after losing a contract with M&S. Greenbridge Mill still stands and currently houses a clearance store, a rather fine cafe and a small museum of the Rossendale Footwear trade.

The museum also contains the stone cross from Bethel Baptist Church, Waterfoot, now demolished. The accompanying plaque explains that this was purchased by John Howarth when Bethel was demolished in 1996 and installed at Lambets. It explains that Bethel was built with funds from Sir HW Trickett, a major slipper manufacturer in Waterfoot and so the acquisition of the cross was ‘in keeping’ with the museum and Trickett’s contribution to the Rossendale slipper trade.

The only problem is that Bethel was built in 1868 and Trickett was born in 1857…however he was baptised there in 1877 and served as Sunday School superintendent, deacon and treasurer.

cross lamberts 200 cross text lamberts 200

gravestone, Sion Baptist Church

1911 RG14 - PN24702 RD471 SD1 ED8 SN251

1901 RG13/3849

1891 RG12/3347/F

1871 Bridleway bottom
Lambert Cotton mule spinner b Whalley
Betsy milliner b Musbury

1861 Lodging Foresters House, Bridleway,

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