Who Was Peter Birtwistle?

PETER BIRTWISTLE (1841 to 1927)


Peter Birtwistle was born in Colne on 31st October 1841. As a young man he trained as a teacher in Birmingham, and at the age of 21, he emigrated to Canada.

After only a couple of years however, Peter returned to Colne and worked with his brother-in-law, Roger Broughton, in business as a cotton manufacturer.

Peter Birtwistle returned to Canada in the early 1870s and settled in London, Ontario where he became assistant to Joseph Pickles, a jeweller.

Peter gradually established himself as a successful and wealthy merchant and by 1889 he had become one of the most prominent citizens of London, Ontario.

In 1918, some 9 years before his death, Peter Birtwistle decided to leave his entire estate to the Borough of Colne.

The will stipulated that the money should be used for “the benefit of the aged and deserving poor of the said Town of Colne in such manner and without restriction of any kind”

Peter Birtwistle also left a diamond ring for the personal use of the Mayor of Colne.

The diamond from the ring can now be seen on the Mayoress of Pendle’s Chain of Office.

Peter Birtwistle died in 1927 at the age of 85.

At that time his bequest to Colne amounted to $354,076.77 Canadian Dollars (£72,750).

The original bequest was left in trust for a further 21 years by which time it had amounted to £180,000.

The Peter Birtwistle Trust was established to administer the sum.