William Williams Brown was born in Leeds on 10 February 1788, the son of James Brown and Anne (nee William). He married Margaret Brockden Duncan on 23 November 1812 at St Peter’s Church in Leeds, the register shows that he was a merchant.
William and Margaret had the following children:
- Ann Williams (1813-1852)
- Samuel James (1814-1891)
- Margaret Duncan (1817-1890)
The family were non-conformists and when Ann was born William was recorded as being a banker. I think that they worshipped at Salem Chapel on Hunslet Lane.
William’s wife, Margaret, died on 23 May 1820 and was buried in the churchyard at St Matthew’s.
At some point the family were living at Allerton Hall in Chapel Allerton, Allerton Hall is on Stainbeck Lane between Wensley Drive and Wensley Avenue. The 1851 Census shows William, aged 63, living at Allerton Hall with six servants. His occupation is shown as “Deputy Lieut & West Riding Magistrate & Magistrate for the Borough of Leeds, Banker in London and Leeds”
William died on 26 January 1856 and was buried in the churchyard of St Matthews on 31 January.
The biographia Leodiensis; or, “Biographical sketches of the worthies of Leeds and neighbourhood” by Richard Vickerman Taylor tells us that William was
“Banker , and alderman , of Leeds , died January 26th , 1856 , aged sixty – seven . He was well known as being the head of one of the only two private banking establishments then remaining in Leeds . Between forty and fifty years ago he joined in estab lishing the firms of Nicholson , t Brown , and Co. , of Leeds , and Nicholson , Janson , and Co. , of London ; and he subsequently became the head of the firms of William Williams Brown and Co. , and Brown , Janson , and Co. , which succeeded them , and which are now in deserved repute as among the most respectable banking – houses in the country . Mr. Brown was a very judicious , cautious , and skilful banker . He was of very courteous manners , but of a retiring disposition . He was a magistrate for the borough of Leeds , and also for the West Riding . Their banking establishment is in Commercial Street ; and the premises have lately undergone extensive alterations , both interior and exterior . The style is Italian , and does great credit to the architect . This building may be now considered one of the most beautiful of its kind in Leeds . In April , 1852 , William Williams Brown , Esq . , presented to the Leeds Philosophical Hall a valuable specimen of the ichthyosaurus , an extinct fossil reptile .”
The bank of “Messrs. William Williams Brown and Co” was founded on 1 January 1813. William was joined in the proprietorship of the bank by Thomas Nicholson and Stephen Nicholson (who owned Roundhay Park before he sold it to the Corporation of Leeds). Joseph Jansen and Timothy Rhodes were also associates. The bank’s premises were on the corner of Commercial Street and Albion Street and was formed originally to provide services to the local woollen cloth trade. It was initially called Nicholson, Brown & Co. but was known as William Williams Brown & Co. from 1824; it was otherwise known as Leeds Union Bank and was acquired by Lloyds Bank in 1900.
TO THE MEMORY
WILLIAM WILLIAMS BROWN
OF CHAPEL-ALLERTON, ESQUIRE,
BORN FEBY 10 1788
DIED JANY 26 1855
AGED 67 YEARS
OF HIS SECOND DAUGHTER
MAJOR GENERAL DUNN
OF INGLEWOOD AND WALLINGTONS, BERKSHIRE
DIED 22ND OF MAY 1890
AGED 72 YEARS