Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Yates, Joseph Brooks

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YATES, JOSEPH BROOKS (1780–1855), merchant and antiquary, born at Liverpool on 21 Jan. 1780, was the eldest son of John Yates, minister of the unitarian chapel in Paradise Street, Liverpool. His brothers were John Ashton Yates (1781–1863), M.P. for Carlow and author of pamphlets on trade and slavery; Richard Vaughan Yates (1785–1856), founder of Prince's Park, Liverpool; James Yates (1789–1871) [q. v.]; and Pemberton Heywood Yates (1791–1822). He was educated by William Shepherd [q. v.] and at Eton. On leaving Eton, about 1796, he entered the house of a West India merchant, in which he became a partner, continuing in it until a year or two before he died. He was one of the leading reformers of Liverpool, and a liberal supporter of its literary and scientific institutions. In February 1812 he joined with Thomas Stewart Traill [q. v.] in founding the Liverpool Literary and Philosophical Society, of which he was president during four triennial periods, and a frequent reader of papers at its meetings. He was also one of the founders of the Southern and Toxteth Hospital at Liverpool. In 1854 he acted as local vice-president of the British Association at the Liverpool meeting.

He was elected F.S.A. on 18 April 1852, and was also F.R.G.S., a member of the council of the Chetham Society, and an original member of the Philological Society. He collected many fine pictures and an extensive library containing some fine manuscripts and emblem books, and was an occasional contributor to literary and other journals.

Yates died at West Dingle, near Liverpool, on 12 Dec. 1855, and was buried in the graveyard of the ancient unitarian chapel, Toxteth Park. He married, on 22 July 1813, Margaret, daughter of Thomas Taylor of Blackley, near Manchester, and left children. His eldest daughter married S. H. Thompson, banker, Liverpool; and two of her sons are Mr. Henry Yates Thompson and the Rev. S. A. Thompson Yates. Yates's portrait, painted by Philip Westcott, was presented to him in January 1852 by members of the Liverpool Literary and Philosophical Society, and by him placed in the Royal Institution of the town.

The following are among Yates's writings: 1. On Richard Rolle of Hampole's ‘Stimulus Conscientiæ,’ 1820 (in ‘Archæologia,’ xix. 314–35). 2. On the same author's manuscript version of the Psalter. 3. ‘Geographical Knowledge and Construction of Maps in the Dark Ages,’ 1838. 4. ‘Memoir on the Rapid and Extensive Changes which have taken place at the Entrance to the River Mersey,’ 1840; he brought the same subject before the British Association in 1854, when a committee was appointed to investigate the matter; its elaborate report is printed in the ‘British Association Report, 1856.’ 5. ‘Miracle Plays’ (in ‘Christian Teacher’), 1841. 6. ‘Bishop Hall's Mundus Alter et Idem,’ 1844. 7. ‘Archæological Notices respecting Paper,’ 1848. 8. ‘On Books of Emblems,’ 1848. 9. ‘On Ancient Manuscripts and the Method of preparing them,’ 1851. 10. ‘An Account of Two Greek Sepulchral Inscriptions at Ince Blundell,’ 1852. 11. ‘The Rights and Jurisdiction of the County Palatine of Chester,’ in the Chetham Society's ‘Miscellanies,’ 1857.

[S. A. T. Yates's Memorials of the Family of the Rev. John Yates, 1890–1; Gent. Mag. 1856, i. 89; Christian Reformer, 1856, p. 63; Picton's Memorials of Liverpool; Stapylton's Eton School Lists; Journal of the Royal Geographical Soc. vol. xxvi.; 13th Rep. of the Chetham Soc.; information kindly supplied by the Rev. S. A. Thompson Yates.]

C. W. S.