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Discrete CollectionsPolitics, economics and social science collections
TitlePotter; Richard (1778-1842); politician
Ref NoCOLL MISC 0146
Extent15 volumes
Admin Biographical HistoryRichard Potter was the brother of Sir Thomas Potter (1773-1845), MP and first Mayor of Manchester (1838). They grew up on their father's farm at Tadcaster, North Yorkshire and collaborated both in business and politics in Manchester. They helped found the "Manchester Guardian" newspaper in 1821, which became "The Guardian" in 1959 to reflect its national distribution and news coverage. The Potter brothers also founded the "Times"(Manchester), later called the "Examiner and Times", and established the wholesale house in Manchester trade which became known as "Potter's". This place became a rendezvous for political and philanthropic reformers. In 1830 Richard Potter joined a group campaigning for parliamentary reform. The group proposed that the seats of rotten boroughs convicted of gross electoral corruption should be transferred to industrial towns. In 1831 Absalom Watkin (fl 1807-1861) drew up a petition asking the government to grant Manchester two Members of Parliament. As a result of the 1832 Reform Act Manchester had its first two Members of Parliament. Richard Potter was returned as Liberal MP for Wigan in 1832, 1835 and 1837. He later unsuccessfully contested Gloucester. His political views earned him the nickname "Radical Dick". Richard Potter's son, also called Richard, was President of the Grand Trunk Railway of Canada and Chairman of the Great Western Railway (1817-1892),and his granddaughter Beatrice Webb (1858-1943), daughter of his son Richard, was a prominent social reformer and wife of fellow reformer Sidney Webb, Baron Passfield (1859-1947). His publications include: "To the independent inhabitants of the Borough of Wigan" (1831)
DescriptionRichard Potter was MP for Wigan. This collection contains his diaries, accounts, parliamentary journals, correspondence and miscellaneous papers.
Access ConditionsOriginal withdrawn; microfilm must be used (Archives MF 283-285)
Copyright TypeCopyright holder unknown
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