Bazley, Thomas (DNB01)

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BAZLEY, Sir THOMAS (1797–1885), manufacturer and politician, born at Gilnow, near Bolton, on 27 May 1797, was the son of Thomas Bazley (1750–1846), who, after being engaged in cotton manufacture, became a journalist. His mother was Anne, daughter of Charles Hilton of Horwich, Lancashire. He was educated at the Bolton grammar school, and at the age of twenty-one began business in that town as a yarn agent. In 1826 he removed to Manchester and entered into partnership with Robert Gardner, cotton spinner and merchant. Under Bazley's management the factories at Halliwell became models of order and system, including proper provision for the intellectual and bodily needs of the workpeople. He was the first large employer to introduce the system of paying weekly wages on Friday instead of Saturday. Ultimately Bazley's concerns became the most extensive of their kind in the kingdom.

Bazley was one of the earliest supporters of the Lancashire Public Schools Association, one of the founders of the Anti-Corn-law Association, and a member of the council of the Anti-Corn-law League. His first public speech was made at the opening of the free-trade campaign at Liverpool in 1837. In 1845 he was elected chairman of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce, which position he held until 1859. He continued on the board of directors until 1880. He was one of the royal commissioners of the Great Exhibition of 1851, a member of the royal commission for promoting the amalgamation of the commercial laws of the united kingdom, and in 1855 was a commissioner of the Paris Exhibition, his services in which capacity were recognised by the emperor in presenting him with a ribbon of the legion of honour. In 1858 he was elected without a contest one of the members of parliament for Manchester, and sat until 1880, being re-elected on four occasions. He retired from business in 1862 in order that he might give the whole of his time to parliamentary and other public duties, which were numerous, as he was an active member of many local educational and other institutions. In 1869 he accepted a baronetcy from Gladstone's government.

Bazley died at Lytham, Lancashire, on 18 March 1885, and was buried at St. John's Church, Manchester.

He married, on 2 June 1828, Mary Maria Sarah, daughter of Sebastian Nash of Clayton, near Manchester; she died 22 Aug. 1897, and left an only child, the present Sir Thomas Sebastian Bazley.

Bazley published the following pamphlets: 1. 'Cotton as an Element of Industry,' 1852. 2. 'Lecture upon the Labour of Life,' 1856. 3. 'National Education: What should it be?' 1858. 4. 'Trade and Commerce the Auxiliaries of Civilisation and Comfort,' 1858. 5. 'The Barton Aqueduct,' 1859. He contributed articles to the 'Encyclopædia Britannica' (8th edit.) on 'Cotton,' 'Cotton Manufacture,' and 'Manchester.' He also wrote various contributions to reviews and periodicals, one in particular advocating a university in Manchester in connection with Owens College.

[Manchester Guardian, 20 and 24 March, and 8 May 1886; Manchester City News, 30 Oct. 1880; Boase's Modern English Biography, i. 202; Burke's Peerage, 1900; Vanity Fair (portrait), 1875; Men of the Time.]

C. W. S.