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Image: Saltaire postcard. Date unknown.
Saltaire People: Additional Biographies
Researched by Colin Coates

Saltaire People: surnames beginning with:

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Varley, Ernest
11 May 1867 – 15 January 1941

Ernest Varley was born 11 May 1867 in Wilsden to Sharp Varley & Elizabeth Illingworth.

In 1871 & 1881 they lived at 57 Titus Street, Saltaire, with Sharp working as a weaving overlooker. In 1881 Ernest was working as a millhand. Sharp died 4 th Qtr. 1881. Ernest attended Saltaire Congregational Church Sunday School. In 1891 he was a grocer’s manager living with his mother at 57 Titus Street.

Living at 24 Victoria Road, Saltaire, Ernest married Alice Giles, 27 July 1895, at Saltaire Congregational Church. She was born, 22 July 1869. They had a son, Eric, born 6 January 1901, and a child who died in infancy. In 1901 they were living at 15 Queen’s Road, Shipley, where Ernest worked as a grocery manager for a cooperative society.

Extract from a report in the Shipley Times 5 June 1903: -

The first gathering of students and friends of the Ruskin Hall Movement, West Biding Centre, was held on Shipley Glen on Tuesday (2 June), in beautiful weather.

All the local friends, with the secretary, Mr. Ernest Varley, of Shipley, met at the Saltaire Park gates at 10 o'clock and went forward to The Glen, neat the rocks, where a conference was commenced at 10.30., and was attended by a large number of delegates from different parts of the West Riding.

By 1911 Ernest was a laundry proprietor living with his family in Lancaster. He was initiated as a Freemason in the Duke of Lancaster lodge 7 April 1919.

Ernest died 15 January 1941.

Report in the Lancaster Guardian 17 January: -

The death occurred at his home, St Michaels, Slyne Road. Lancaster last night (15 January) of Councillor Ernest Varley (73), a member of a local laundry firm, who was elected to the City Council for Skerton West Ward in January 1936.

Mr. Varley was a native of Saltaire but moved to Lancaster many years ago.

Extract from a report in the Lancaster Guardian 24 January 1941: -


Practically every section of civic endeavour was represented at the funeral Coun. Ernest Varley, of St. Michael’s. Slyne Road. Lancaster, which took place on Saturday (17 January), at Bolton-Le- Sands. The interment was preceded by a service at the Centenary Congregational Church, Lancaster.

In his will, he left £6,872 4s 7d.

Extract from a report in the Lancaster Guardian 30 October 1942: -

At Ryelands House, Skerton, on Wednesday (28 October) afternoon, a memorial portrait of the late Coun. Ernest Varley was unveiled by his widow as a gift to the Skerton Aged Men’s Rest for which he was secretary, and later Chairman.

His widow, Alice, died 5 December 1956, at Hest Bank, Lancashire. In her will she left £849 11s 8d. Their son, Eric, died in 1981.


Varley, Sharp
c1836 – 1881

Sharp Varley was born c1836 in Bingley as Sharp Cowgill, son of Mary Cowgill, father unknown. Mary married William Varley, 2 October 1836, at St Michael’s Haworth. Sharp then took the Varley name.

In 1851 they lived in Wilsden with William working as a labourer and Sharp as a power loom weaver. By 1861 they had moved to 1 (re-numbered 27) George Street in Saltaire with William working as a farm labourer and Sharp as a weaver.

Sharp married Elizabeth Illingworth in 1866. They had four children, including Ernest Varley. In 1871 & 1881 they lived at 57 Titus Street with Sharp working as a weaving overlooker.

In May 1875 Sharp was reported as being a past provincial grand master of the Bingley branch of the Manchester Unity of Oddfellows. In March 1879 Sharp was elected as an officer of the Saltaire Funeral Brief Society.

Sharp was associated with Saltaire Cricket Club in a non-playing capacity.

Sharp died 4 th Qtr. 1881.





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