Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Sir William Brown

Dear Sir, i have two questions:
1)I noticed on the internet that there was an article about Sir William Brown by Mary Hall in the 2006 edition of your journal. I am very interested in finding out about him as he may be a relative on my husband's mother's side. Could you possibly let me have a photocopy of this article. I will of course refund you the cost.

2) I am secretary of the Basque Children of '37 Association UK, and am trying to find out as much as I can about the colonies or homes that the children stayed in from 1937-1939. I know that they stayed at Greenbank, Upton Village, Birkenhead, and that in Liverpool they were in Nazareth House and a Catholic Girls' Orphanage. I wonder if anyone in your society has ever done any research on these homes and the whole story of the Basque children who came to Liverpool. Do you have any information or suggestions about where I couls find out specifically about the Liverpooll area. (Our web site is if you would like to look it up. ) I myself often give talks to history societies about the Basque children, but I have nothing about Liverpool. I would be most grateful for any assistance on this fascinating subject.
Thank you for your help on both fronts

Natalia Benjamin


  1. Dear Natalia,

    further to your email to our librarian regarding Sir William Brown. I can direct you to a short article I wrote a few years ago for the Liverpool Heritage Forum on Sir William that may be of interest.
    Yours sincerely

    Rob Ainsworth

    Webmaster/Programme Secretary
    Liverpool History Society

    Sir William Brown (1st Baronet)1784-1864

    Member of Parliament, merchant and banker, founder of the banking-house of Brown, Shipley & Co. also Brown was born at Ballymena, Ireland, on 30 May 1784, the son of an Irish linen merchant Alexander Brown and Grace Davison. He married Sarah Gibson, daughter of Andrew Gibson, on 1 January 1810 and died on 3 March 1864 at age 79. At the age of sixteen he accompanied his father and brothers to Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A., but in 1809 left America for Liverpool and established a branch of the firm, which began to deal in raw cotton as well as linen. Soon afterwards he developed the business into one of general merchants and finally bankers. Brown became one of the leaders in Liverpool commerce.

    He became the Liberal .Member of Parliament for South Lancashire between 1846 and 1859. He gained the rank of Honorary Colonel of the 1st Brigade, Lancashire Artillery Volunteers. He wrote the book “Letters on the Advantages of Free Trade to the Landed Interest”. In 1860 he gave Liverpool a public library and museum, at a cost of over £42,000. He was founder of Brown, Shipley & Company in Liverpool. (The company became a major firm in the City of London and is now part of Brown Brothers Harriman). He held the office of Alderman of Liverpool and Justice of the Peace for Lancashire. He also held the office of Deputy Lieutenant of Lancashire. He was Justice of the Peace and High Sheriff of Lancashire. He was created 1st Baronet Brown, of Richmond Hill, Lancashire on 24 January 1863.

    In 1860 he presented Liverpool with a public library and museum, the William Brown Library and Museum, and in 1863 was made a baronet. He died at Liverpool in 1864. The street running in front of World Museum Liverpool, Liverpool Central Library and the Walker Art Gallery is named after him. Sir William is buried in Childwall cemetery Liverpool.

    Rob Ainsworth
    for the Liverpool Heritage Forum

  2. did sir william brown or family run a bank on dale street liverpool in the 1800/s or 1900/s

  3. Hello Jackie,
    Sir William Brown was a merchant and banker, founder of the banking-house of Brown, Shipley & Co., was born at Ballymena, Ireland, on the 30th of May 1784, the son of an Irish linen-merchant.
    I think his bank was on Dale Street.
    Liverpool History Society

  4. This is my great, great Grandfather. I am really keeen to source accurate information about this mans genuine family tree.
    Can someone please advise where I would source this information?