Born Rothwell 20th May 1849
Died Kettering 1929
William Timpson was born in Rothwell on the 20th May 1849, he was the youngest of 8 children. His parents Anthony and Mary lived in a small cottage in Crown Yard. By the age of 8 he was already making money by making and selling leather boot laces. He also often carried boots for outside workers from Rothwell to Messrs Gotch’s boot factory in Kettering for repairs.
At the age of 11 William was sent to Manchester to work with his elder brother Charles delivering boots around Manchester. After an argument with Charles, William returned to Rothwell to learn shoe making with Tom Butlin (who later became his brother in law). William then started to work for an old shoe repairer in Rothwell and took over his business when he died.
At the age of 16 William returned to Manchester to join his brother in law, Walter Joyce with whom he started a retail boot and shoe business at 298 Oldham Road in April 1865. In May 1870, William started his own business by opening a shop at 97 Oldham Street, Manchester. With the success of this first shop, William was soon able to start and open more shops around Manchester.
Due to ill health William decided to move back to Kettering. William still managed to keep an eye on his business by travelling to Manchester every other Tuesday by train and return on either Friday or Saturday. William was a well known traveller from Kettering to Manchester as he did this journey for nearly 40 years and held a 1st Class season ticket the whole time.
The business went from strength to strength and William expanded the business wisely with the help of Mr David Gotch and Mr T.A Mursell. With the business growing, a new warehouse in Manchester was opened in 1895 in Great Ducie Street. It was said that this warehouse could hold 40,000 pairs of shoes, a massive amount for the time.
William’s son William Henry Farey Timpson joined the company in 1896 and started working at the Oldham Street warehouse in Manchester and after 18 months he took over managing the Great Ducie St warehouse and in 1912 he became Managing Director. William was active in the business until 1903 when his health would not let him travel as much and the hard slog of finding new sites for stores became more demanding. In the years up to the Great War, William passed on more and more to William Henry and by 1919 he only made one or two trips to Manchester.
William died on January 23rd 1929. His funeral was held in Kettering and even though it was Saturday afternoon shops closed as a mark of respect. The streets were silent as the people of Kettering lined the streets as his funeral procession passed through the town.