Procter, Richard Wright (DNB00)

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PROCTER, RICHARD WRIGHT (1816–1881), author, son of Thomas Procter, was born of poor parents in Paradise Vale, Salford, Lancashire, on 19 Dec. 1816. When very young he bought books and sent poetical contributions to the local press. In due time he set up in business for himself as a barber—the trade to which he had been apprenticed—in Long-Millgate, Manchester. Part of the shop was used by him for a cheap circulating library. In this dismal city street he remained to the end of his days. When his shyness was overcome, he was found to be, like his books, full of geniality, curious information, and gentle humour. In 1842 he was associated with Bamford, Prince, Rogerson, and other local poets in some interesting meetings held at an inn, afterwards styled the 'Poet's Corner,' and he contributed to a volume of verse entitled 'Festive Wreath,' which was an outcome of these gatherings. He also had some pieces in the 'City Muse,' edited by William Reid, 1853. He died at 133 Long-Millgate, Manchester, on 11 Sept. 1881, and was buried at St. Luke's, Cheetham Hill. He married, in 1840, Eliza Waddington, who predeceased him, and left five sons.

He published:

  1. 'Gems of Thought and Flowers of Fancy,' 1855, 12mo; a volume of poetical selections, of which the first and last pieces are by himself.
  2. 'The Barber's Shop, with illustrations by William Morton,' 1856, 8vo; containing admirably written sketches of the odd characters he met. A second edition incorporated much lore relating to hairdressing and to notable barbers, published, with a memoir by W. E. A. Axon, 1883.
  3. 'Literary Reminiscences and Gleaning with Illustrations,' 1860, 8vo; devoted chiefly to Lancashire poets.
  4. 'Our Turf, our Stage, and our Ring,' 1862, 8vo; being historical sketches of racing and sporting life in Manchester.
  5. 'Manchester in Holiday Dress,' 1866, 8vo; notices of theatres and other amusements in Manchester, prior to 1810.
  6. 'Memorials of Manchester Streets,' 1874, 8vo and 4to.
  7. 'Memorials of Bygone Manchester, with Glimpses of the Environs,' 1880, 4to.

[Axon's Memoir, above mentioned; Palatine Note-Book, i. 166 (with portrait); Papers of the Manchester Literary Club (article by B. A. Redfern), 1884, p. 184; personal knowledge.]

C. W. S.