William WHITAKER 1838-1922

by Annette Edwards.

ANNIE WHITAKER 1844 – 1921


ANNIE JOHNSON was born in Scotland about 1844, her father William was from Rowley, Staffordshire, her mother Anne was from Ellesmere, Shropshire. By 1851 the family were in Broughton, Brymbo where her father was working in the iron works.  William moved around the area, but still in the same trade but by 1881 the family were in Wrexham where William was the landlord of the Fleece Inn on Hope Street. 

On 16 September 1885 Annie married William Whitaker by licence in Wrexham.  Her father was William Johnson, Inn Keeper. William was an engineer, father John, an Engineer.

The witnesses were Samuel Richard Johnson and Sarah Ann Whitaker. By 1911 they were living in Foster Road, and the census shows she never had children. Sadly Annie became ill and died in the Denbigh Mental Hospital on 24 June 1921 at the age of 77. 

WILLIAM WHITAKER was born about 1838 in Mytton, Yorkshire he was the son of John Whitaker who was a blacksmith, both he and his wife Sarah Pickup were born in Yorkshire, they had a family of at least nine children. In 1851 they were in Salford and there was Margaret, Robert 15, William 13, John 11, Ellen 9, Sarah 7, Richard 5, Elizabeth 3 and George who was months old.

They later moved to Pennington where John was the master of an iron foundry, William and Richard became mechanics, and John worked as an iron turner.

In 1871 his parents John and Sarah were lodging in High Street, Criccin, Rhuddlan where John is an engineer and the manager of an iron foundry there. On 23 August 1871 William married Ann Ross, in Manchester but she died in Wrexham in 1878.

William became the manager of his father’s iron foundry in the Cambrian Ironworks, Regent Street, which had by now gone into partnership with the Powell Brothers.

On 16 September 1885 William Whitaker married again to Annie Johnson.

The Powell and Whitaker partnership became very successful due to their high quality products, even exporting machinery for the Sultan of Turkey after being chosen over other manufacturers.

William and Annie stayed in the Rhosddu area and 1911 were in Mytton House, Foster Street. (Did William name the house after his home town?) There were no children from both of his marriages. From 1914 it seems he may have left the Powell and Whitaker partnership.

By 1923 William was in 33 Church Road, Lytham where he died on 12 February 1922 aged 84. He left less than £98.


Powell Brothers Limited was established in 1876 in the Cambrian Ironworks, Regent Street, Wrexham, originally under the company name of Messrs Powell and Whitaker who were described as being ‘iron and brass founders and agricultural and general engineers’. During the 1880s William Whitaker acquired a partnership with the Powell brothers and they set up an agency in London to increase sales.

In the June 1914 issue of The Implement and Machinery Review it was stated that ‘the business of Messrs Powell Brothers and Whitaker, Cambrian Ironworks, Wrexham, is in future to be known as Powell Brothers Limited’. The period between 1914 and 1918 saw a shift in production towards munitions in order to aid the war effort. It is during this period that J. E. Powell’s sons, J. W. Powell and R. Glyn Powell were in partnership with their father.

The last reference to the business known as Powell Brothers Limited was in 1927 when they were described as ‘furnishing ironmongers, iron and steel merchants and cycle agents’. In 1927, the premises of Powell Brothers Limited, Engineers and Ironfounders, Cambrian Ironworks, Wrexham, was acquired by Rogers and Jackson Limited.

There were a number of examples of their machinery on display at the Bersham Industrial Heritage Museum, but sadly that has now permanently closed.

Researched by Annette Edwards. January 2019. Gravestone photographs by Graham Lloyd.

Wrexham Cemetery 01/04/2018
Wrexham Cemetery 01/04/2018

Grave ref: Wrexham Cemetery F-01637

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