James Broughton was born in the Batley Carr area on 11 May 1834, the son of George Broughton and Sarah (nee Brewerton). He was baptised at St Peter’s Church, Birstall on 22 June 1834. James’ father was described in the register as a spinner.
In the 1841 Census James was 7 years old living at Batley Carr with his parents and two younger brothers Thomas and Henry.
In 1851 the Census shows that James was visiting Richard Browne, a Roman Catholic Priest, at 19 Cookridge Street. James is recorded as being 16 years old and working as an “Organist”. I am guessing that Father Richard was the Priest for St Anne’s Church which later became the Catholic cathedral of Leeds. It was later demolished and rebuilt a short distance along the road.
By the time of the 1861 Census, James had become a “Professor of Music” and was living at 101 Portland Crescent in Leeds with his parents and youngest brother, Alfred, and a servant.
The 1871 Census shows James, aged 35 and unmarried, living with his parents and younger brother William, a theological student, at 4 Hillary Place in Leeds (Hillary Place is now on the University Campus).
James became the first chorus master and conductor of the Leeds Philharmonic Society in 1873. He was described as “‘A man of ready wit and assiduous in his endeavours’, Broughton built up the reputation of Leeds choruses still further during his tenure of office which was to last until 1883, when failing health obliged him to relinquish his post. The Times declared the chorus of 1877 to be ‘unquestionably the finest in Great Britain, and it may be added, without much fear of contradiction, in Europe'”
James also worked at Leeds Grammar School from 1875-83 as a teacher.
In 1881 the census shows that James was the head of household still living at 4 Hillary Place. He was shown as being unmarried and working as a “Musician”. Other members of his household include his parents, a niece, a cousin, a servant and his brother William B Broughton who was aged 36 and described as “Curate of Sherburn”.
James had to retire from his role as chorus master in 1883 due to ill health and he was replaced by his younger brother, Alfred. You can read more about James and Alfred’s contribution to music in Leeds in “Individual and Institution in the Musical Life of Leeds 1900-1914″ by Robert Demaine
James’ father, George, died in 1884 and probate shows that George had been working as a “Pianoforte Tuner”.
James died on 12 Mar 1887 and was buried in the churchyard of St Matthew’s on 15 March 1887.
IN MEMORY OF JAMES BROUGHTON PROFESSOR OF MUSIC
DIED MARCH 12TH 1887 AGED 54 YEARS
REV. WILLIAM BREWERTON BROUGHTON
DIED OCTOBER 19TH 1898 AGED 53 YEARS
BROUGHTON James. 17 May. The Will of James Broughton late of 4 Hillary-place Leeds in the County of York Professor Music who died 12 March 1887 at 4 Hillary-place was proved at Wakefield by Richard Wilson of 28 Commercial-street Leeds Bank Manager and the Reverend Brewerton Broughton of Leeds Clerk the Brother the Executors. Personal Estate £12,345 1s. 11d.