Benjamin Shaw (1835-1901)

Benjamin Shaw was a mineral water manufacturer who founded the firm of Benjamin Shaw & Sons Ltd.


He was born on 31 August 1835 in the Kirkheaton township, the son of labourer and teamer George Shaw and his wife Sarah (née Berry), and was baptised on 27 December 1835 at St. John the Baptist, Kirkheaton.

By the 1850s, he was working as a spinner and residing in Scissett.

He married Elizabeth Wood, daughter of George Wood, on 22 May 1858 at St. Augustine's Church, Scissett. The couple had the following known children, most of whom died in infancy:

  • Ernest Shaw (1857-1924)[1]
  • Eliza Shaw (c.1860-1861)[2]
  • George Shaw (c.1862-1863)[3]
  • Henry Shaw (c.1864-1865)[4]
  • Betsy Shaw (1867-1868)[5]
  • Frank Shaw (1869-1945)[6]
  • Alice Shaw (1873-1873)[7]

His brother, William Henry Shaw (c.1831-1899?), was a manufacturing chemist and ink manufacturer who was residing at Fenay Bridge by the 1870s. He was declared bankrupt in 1882.

By 1870, he was residing at Stile Common and gave his occupation as an overlooker at a woollen mill in the 1871 Census.

He established the firm of Shaw Brothers — "Botanic Porter and Ginger Beer Manufacturers" — with his brother George Shaw, although this was partnership was dissolved on 1 September 1876.

He then established the mineral water manufacturing firm of Benjamin Shaw & Sons Ltd. with his sons Ernest and Frank.

By the time of the 1881 Census, he was residing at 35 Prospect Street, Huddersfield, and gave his occupation as "ginger beer maker employing 7 men".

By the late 1880s, he had moved to Moor View, Marsh.

Elizabeth Shaw died on 9 May 1888, aged 52, and was buried at Holy Trinity, South Crosland on 12 May.

He married spinster Martha Robinson, daughter of engine tenter William Robinson, on 17 August 1889 at Holy Trinity, Huddersfield.

He died on 13 March 1901 and was buried at Holy Trinity, South Crosland, on Saturday 16 March. His estate was valued at £6,955 15s. 6d.

Martha Shaw continued to reside at Moor View and died in 1931, aged 85.


Huddersfield Daily Examiner (14/Mar/1901)

Another inroad has been made by death on the personnel of the Huddersfield County Borough Council. After seeming to recover somewhat from the attack of heart disease which laid him aside some six weeks ago, Councillor Benjamin Shaw died at his residence, Brook Street, Marsh, on Wednesday evening. The relapse and failure of the heart's action must have been rather sudden, and the news has come as a sad surprise to those who knew him. Mr. Shaw was not in very good health when he was induced, rather against his better judgement, we believe, to contest the Marsh Ward on independent lines. He threw himself into the contest with characteristic energy, but, it is to be feared, in doing so overtaxed his strength. Mr. Shaw was a man strong in conviction, independent in judgement, and fearless in maintaining any position he decided to take up. Rugged, determined, and keen, he was not made in the mould to be a very acquiescent member of any party, and whilst holding Unionist opinions on the subject of Ireland, he differed widely from those Liberal Unionists who, in the thoroughness of their revolt from Gladstonian Liberalism, are almost more Conservative than the Conservatives, In Town Council matters he had individual opinions and views which he pushed with dogged tenacity and without much regard for the opinions, and sometimes the feelings, of others. But of his sterling honesty of purpose, and of his generosity, in spite of his rugged exterior, there was ample proof to those who knew him best. We sympathise with those who mourn their loss — a loss which has undoubtedly been hastened by the deceased gentleman's anxiety to set right whatever might be out of joint in the lesser world of Huddersfield.

Bradford Observer (14/Mar/1901)

Mr. Benjamin Shaw, of Moor View, Brook Street, Marsh, Huddersfield, a member of the Town Council, and founder of the firm of Messrs. Ben Shaw & Sons, mineral-water manufacturers, died last night. Mr. Shaw was sixty-five years of age. He had been in ill health since Christmas, and caught a chill a few days ago, which caused his fatal illness. He was one of the founders of the Yorkshire Mineral Water Manufacturers' Association, and was at one time its president. Mr. Shaw was a typical Yorkshireman. In politics he was a Liberal Unionist. His death creates a vacancy on the Town Council for the Marsh Ward.

Notes and References

  1. Born 28 July 1857 at Clayton West. Died 5 March 1924 in Huddersfield.
  2. Buried 3 September 1861 at Holy Trinity, South Crosland.
  3. Buried 7 February 1863 at Holy Trinity, South Crosland.
  4. Buried 6 July 1865 at Holy Trinity, South Crosland.
  5. Buried 5 July 1868 at Holy Trinity, South Crosland.
  6. Born 20 December 1869. Married Alice Todd on 27 October 1897 at Holy Trinity, South Crosland. Died 12 Jun 1945 at Fixby. His son was Benjamin Shaw (1902-1969) who married Isabel Moxon in 1926.
  7. Died on 26 August 1873, aged 21 weeks. Buried 28 August 1873 at Holy Trinity, South Crosland.