William Walter Cannon
Mayor of Bolton: 1871-73 (Conservative)
Born: Bolton 16 November 1822
Died: Hill Cott Hall, Sharples, Bolton 19 June 1903
Educated: Private school
Master cotton spinner.
Brother in law of Richard Stockdale, Mayor of Bolton 1864-66.
Son of William Cannon who came to Bolton in 1805 and became a muslin manufacturer living in Acresfield with his factory at rear in Chancery Lane. In 1843 William Cannon went into partnership with R M Haslam becoming Cannon & Haslam, operating Spa Mill and Astley Bridge Mill (Sharples Mill).
William Cannon was Alderman for Exchange Ward from 1844 to 1856 and twice declined the Mayoralty. He was also Director of the Bank of Bolton for over 20 years and Chairman of the Board of Directors for 12 years.
William Walter Cannon trained for business under Messrs Bolling, Cotton Spinners.
He later entered his father's business, Cannon & Haslam. After the death of his father the partnership was dissolved but with his brothers, Joseph and Edward, he founded Cannon Bros and built Stanley Mill in Cannon Street (the street name being coincidental).
Represented West Ward 1859-68 and 1869-72. Alderman for Rumworth Ward from November 1872. Magistrate from 19 January 1867.
Registrar of Leigh County Court. Appointed Clerk of the Peace for Bolton in 1878.
He was Chairman of Public Library and Museum Committee 1861 and also Chairman of the Sewerage, Waterworks and Parks, Sanitary and Streets Committees.
On the Libraries Committee he advocated the building of Branch Libraries but this did not happen until 15 years later.
His Mayoralty was marred by the so-called Dilke Riot of 30 November 1871 when the Republican Liberal MP Sir Charles W Dilke came to speak (ironically on a fairly uncontroversial subject) at the Temperance Hall in Bolton. Conservative pro-Monarchy protestors in the town attacked the Hall resulting in many injuries and one death, that of William Schofield who was mortally wounded by one of the missiles thrown through the windows.
The subsequent Commission of Inquiry (and the Home Secretary) heavily criticised the conduct of the Bolton Magistrates (including the Mayor) who had allowed their sympathies with the demonstrators to delay the actions that could have possibly prevented the unrest escalating into violence.
More happily, he was Mayor at the opening of Bolton Town Hall by the Prince of Wales on 5 June 1873 and presided over the subsequent banquet and celebrations.
He was made second Freeman of the County Borough of Bolton on 6 September 1899, on the same day as the first Freeman - William Nicholson.
Vice President of Bolton Cotton Supply Association.
Wesleyan Methodist - he was an active financial supporter of Park Street Wesleyan Chapel and Superintendent of the Sunday School there for 13 years from 1864.
His wife, Emma, was Mayoress.
| Oil portrait of William Walter Cannon as Mayor of Bolton.
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| Commemorative medal issued by Bolton Corporation to mark the formal opening of the new Town Hall on 5 June 1873 by the Prince of Wales.
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