Thomas Martin was born on 24 October 1799 in the Meanwood area of Leeds. He married Mary Ward by licence on 23 August 1828 at St Robert’s Church in Pannal. Thomas is described as ”of Headingly”.

Thomas and Mary had the following children:

  • John Richardson (1829-1890)
  • Mary Jane (1831- )
  • Sarah Anne (1832-1891)
  • John (1835- )
  • Thomas (1835-1901)
  • Ebenezer (1838-1838)
  • Edwin (1840-1840)

In the baptism records that we have found of his children he is described as a Paper Manufacturer. On the wall of the old Meanwood Tannery is a plaque which says that the building was used for paper making by a Thomas Martin sometime between 1785 and 1857. Other sources say that Thomas Martin leased the mill for paper making and it became known as Wood Mill but in 1852 the mill burnt down. A new mill was built on the site as a tannery by Samuel Smith.

Wood Mill, Meanwood – OS map of c.1851
Plaque on current building

The 1841 Census shows Thomas and Mary living with their two surviving children, Sarah and Thomas, living at the “Lodge” in Headingley and Thomas was a Paper manufacturer. The Lodge is recorded between Weetwood Farm House and Weetwood Cottage, not far from Monk Bridge which suggests that he lived very close to Wood Mill.

Mary died later that year on 10 June 1841 and she was buried in the churchyard at St Matthew’s in Chapel Allerton along with Ebenezer and Edwin.

In 1851 there was a Thomas Martin, widower, living on “Upper North Street” in the Little London area of Leeds with Sarah Martin, unmarried, housekeeper. The ages and other details match. Unfortunately I cannot read the occupation but it may say “Gas office collector”? If this is the case then that suggests that Thomas may have stopped leasing Wood Mill before it burnt down in 1852.

In 1861 Thomas was living on his own at 3 Willow Road which I think is at the south end of Cardigan Road in Burley. He was now 61 years old and working as a “Collector” for Leeds Gas Company.

The 1871 Census shows Thomas, aged 71, living alone and his occupation was described as “Late Collector Gas Co. Leeds” which suggests that he was now either retired or redundant. I am unable to read the address though I think it might say “9 Providence Place” which was close to Willow Road and Kirkstall Road. I am assuming that this no longer exists.

Thomas died on 22 March 1873 and was buried in St Matthew’s churchyard in Chapel Allerton on 25 March 1873.

Probate read:

MARTIN Thomas. 5 April. The Will of Thomas Martin late of Leeds in the County of York who died 22 March 1873 at Leeds was proved at Wakefield by William Middleton and John William Middleton both of Leeds Solicitors the Executors. Effects under £450.