Stanley Houghton

Stanley Houghton portrait









William Stanley HOUGHTON (1881 – 1913)

His best known work, Hindle Wakes was, for time it was written in 1910, a controversial portrayal of Lancashire life which examined the fallout from a young working-class mill girl’s fling with the mill owner’s son.

Harold Brighouse wrote an introduction to “The Works of Stanley Houghton” (Volume I by Constable, 1914) which serves as a useful mini biography – I have reproduced this as a PDF document (12 MB).

Below are the details of his family I have found through the censuses:

In the 1901 census, William Stanley HOUGHTON and his youger sister Ellen are with their parents in Withington, Manchester:

1901 Census (2 Athol Rd, Whalley Range, Withington, Manchester)

John H. HOUGHTON, head, marr, 45, cotton cloth merchant (employer), b. Hulme, Lancs
Lucy HOUGHTON, wife, mar, 45, b. Worsley, Lancs
William S. HOUGHTON, son, single, 20, commercial clerk, b. Ashton on Mersey, Cheshire
Ellen HOUGHTON, dau, single, 16, b. Sale, Cheshire
Mary A. RYECROFT, servant, single, 22, general servant domestic, b. Stretford, Lancs

Ten years earlier, the above family were in Knutsford, Cheshire:

1891 Census (“Ingelton”, The Heath, Knutsford, Cheshire)

John H. HOUGHTON, head, mar, 35, grey cloth merchant (employer), b. Hulme, Lancs
Lucy M. HOUGHTON, wife, mar, 35, b. Worsley, Lancs
William S. HOUGHTON, son, 10, scholar, b. Ashton on Mersey, Cheshire
Ellen M. HOUGHTON, dau, 6, b. Sale, Cheshire
Mary SMITH, lady help, single, 29, lady help, b. Whitley, Cheshire
Emily KERIA (?), servant, single, 19, housemaid domestic, b. America, British Subject
Phoebe TAYLOR, servant, 15, kitchen maid, b. Ollerton, Cheshire

Prior to that, in 1881, John, Lucy and son Stanley were in Ashton upon Mersey:

1881 Census (Doveston Rd, Ashton upon Mersey, Cheshire)

John H. HOUGHTON, head, mar, 25, grey cloth agent, b. Manchester, Lancs
Lucy M. HOUGHTON, wife, mar, 25, b. Worsley, Lancs
William S. HOUGHTON, son, 2 months, b. Ashton on Mersey
Anne WATSON, servant, unmar, 15, general servant domestic, b. Ashley, Cheshire

I have found the marriage of John Hartley HOUGHTON to Lucy Mary DARBYSHIRE in 1880; John’s father is W. C. HOUGHTON, merchant and Mary’s father is Samuel DARBYSHIRE, no profession given.

In the 1871 census, in Ashton upon Mersey, there is a J. H. HOUGHTON who is the son of William C. HOUGHTON and his wife Alice:

1871 Census (Ashton Grange, Ashton upon Mersey, Cheshire)

William C. HOUGHTON, head, mar, 43, East India merchant, b. Cheadle, Cheshire
Alice HOUGHTON, wife, mar, 39, b. Ratcliffe, Lancaster (Lancashire)
George HOUGHTON, son, unmar, 17, merchant’s clerk, b. Manchester
J. H. HOUGHTON, son, unmar, 15, b. Hulme, Manchester
Sarah PILSON, servant, unmar, 21, domestic servant, b. Ludlow, Salop

Wiiliam and Alice HOUGHTON are in Stretford in 1861, with their sons George and John:

1861 Census (Steven St, Stretford, Cheshire)

William C. HOUGHTON, head, mar, 33, ship merchant’s clerk, b. Cheadle, Cheshire
Alice HOUGHTON, wife, mar, 29, b. Ratcliffe, Lancaster
George HOUGHTON, son, 7, scholar, b. Manchester, Lancs
John H. HOUGHTON, son, 5, scholar, b. Manchester, Lancs
James HARTLEY, nephew, 12, scholar, b. Manchester, Lancs
Repentance SINGLETON, servant, unmar, 25, house servant, b. Ratcliffe, Lancs

1851 Census (Yard St. James St, Deansgate, Manchester)

John HARTLEY, head, mar, 50, … for Bleacher, … British Subject
Jenny HARTLEY wife, mar, 45, b. Marton nr Blackpool, Lancashire
Alice HARTLEY, dau, unmar, 19?, b. Ratcliffe nr Bury, Lancashire
James HARTLEY, grandson, 2, b. Ratcliffe nr Bury, Lancashire
William C. HOUGHTON, son-in-law, widr, 23, merchant’s clerk b. Cheadle, Cheshire

The National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations) records the following:

  • William Chadwick HOUGHTON died in 1887 at Ashton Grange and probate was proved by his sons George HOUGHTON (packing case maker) of Ashton Grange and John Hartley HOUGHTON (grey cloth agent) of Heath Side Knutsford. His personal estate amounted to £469 9s.
  • In 1914, the effects of William Stanley HOUGHTON of 2 Athol Road, Alexandra Park, Manchester, which amounted to £5488 14s 6d, were left to his father John Hartley HOUGHTON (merchant) and Thomas Henry BATTERSBY (merchant).
  • Following his death in 1923, John Hartley HOUGHTON’s effect of £11,459 8s 10d were left to Thomas Henry BATTERSBY.

Other snippets:

  • There is a record of the baptism of William Chadwick HOUGHTON in 1928. He was the son of George and Sarah HOUGHTON of Cheadle (England, Select Cheshire Bishop’s Transcripts, 1598-1900: FHL Film Number: 1655428).
  • The GRO England and Wales marriages transcriptions for 1852 have a William Chadwick HOUGHTON and on the same page is an Alice HARTLEY (Oct-Dec 1852, Manchester, Vol. 8D, Page 771).
  • The death of Alice HOUGHTON, wife of William Chadwick HOUGHTON, was announced in the Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser on 26 June 1886; she died on the 24th of the month aged 54.
  • A John HARTLEY of Radcliffe (clogger) married Jenny ROSSALL of Poulton-le-Fylde in 1825 (England, Marriages, 1538–1973; FHL Film Number: 1517688)

The Gravestones Photographic Resource website has the transcription and two photographs of the headstone of William Chadwick HOUGHTON and his wife Alice; they were buried in Brookland cemetery in Sale, Cheshire.

One of the photographs is reproduced below (please note that copyright belongs to the original photographer – the photograph may not be used for commercial purposes).



The headstone has the following inscription:

In Loving Memory of
Wife of
William Chadwick HOUGHTON
of Ashton upon Mersey
Who fell asleep on earth to awake in heaven
June 24th 1886 aged 54 years
Also of the above
William Chadwick HOUGHTON
who died June 5th 1887
Aged 59 years

2 Replies to “Stanley Houghton”

  1. Hi, I know a bit about William Stanley Houghton’s sister, since she (Ellen Muriel Houghton, though known as Muriel) married William Newton Caw in 1910. The Caw family were associated with Whalley Range Cricket & Lawn Tennis Club, whose first volume of their history I completed a year or so ago. William Newton Caw and Muriel had a son called Michael Stanley Houghton Caw who joined the Tennis section of the club in 1937, though he died very young, aged just 32 in 1948, the same age that the playwright died as it happens. It seems that early deaths ran in the family, since Michael’s aunt Agnes (sister of William Newton Caw) died even younger, aged just 25. I’m currently writing the second volume of the history of the club, so I’d like to seek permission if I may, to include the connection to the playwright and therefore include the picture of him that is present at the top of this page please? Kind regards, Peter Simpson

    1. I discovered the Houghton Papers in the 1980s. I met with Dorothy Caw many times at her home whilst I wrote my PhD on Stanley Houghton. I have much more information which might assist. Please get in touch.
      Dr Paul Mortimer

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