Benjamin Randall Vickers was born on 11 April 1798 in Leeds to Joseph Vickers and Mary (nee Randall). Benjamin’s father was a “Patten maker” – pattens were shaped wooden platforms with leather or cloth straps attached underneath your shoes to keep the shoes above the mud of the roads of the time – and he seems to have run a successful business. Unfortunately he died in 1808 and his wife, Mary, continued to run the business.
Benjamin was baptised on 25 December 1811 at St Peter’s Church in Leeds with his younger brothers Edward and William. The baptismal records show that they were living in St Peter’s Square.
Benjamin married Hannah Rinder on 2 November 1820 at St Peter’s Church, the register records that he was also a “Patten maker”. Sadly, Hannah died in October 1823 and was buried on 6 October 1823 with a non-conformist burial – she is recorded as “Wesleyan”.
Benjamin’s mother had been persuaded to go into partnership with a maker of machines for the patten trade and they invested in a steam engine. Mary’s Methodist values of honesty, loyalty and kindness do no seem to have been reciprocated and business didn’t thrive. Benjamin started to work for her and they formed “Mary Vickers and Son” – business improved.
The demand for pattens was in decline with the improvement of the roads and in 1828 Benjamin set up Vickers Oils and started trading as a private, independent company acting as an agent for oils and soaps which he sold to local customers including the many woollen and worsted yarn processors in the area. Vickers Oil still exists and you can read about it’s history here.
Benjamin remarried on 21 November 1828 to Ann Lord at Saint Peter’s Church in Bolton-Le-Moors, Lancashire
Benjamin and Anne had the following children:
- Mary Randall (1831-1916)
- Sarah Elizabeth (1833-1866)
On 1 January 1833, Benjamin and his two brothers, Edward and William inherited £4,000 from a relative, Captain Robert Howell Phillips of the 49th Regiment Native Infantry, and Assistant to the Commisioner at Arrakan, British India (now Rakhine State within Myanmar, previously Burma).
Anne died in about March 1834 and was given a non-conformist burial on 12 March. The burial register indicates that the family were living at Grove Terrace in Leeds. The 1834 General & Commercial Directory for Leeds shows that it was 12 Grove Terrace and that Benjamin was an “oil merchant and drysalter, and agent for London soap, Benson’s yd. Boar Lane”
Benjamin married Margaret Threlfall at Bingley Parish Church on 27 October 1836 and they had the following children:
- William Threlfall (1838-1838)
- Thomas Henry (1840-1841)
- Benjamin Threlfall (1842-1917)
- Robert Charles (1845- )
- Thomas Henry (1845-1904)
The 1841 Census shows that Benjamin and his family were living on Camp Place and that Benjamin was an Oil Merchant. Various directories show that Benjamin was living at 67 Camp Road but by 1847 he was living at Brunswick Terrace.
In the 1851 Census Benjamin (52) is staying at 7 King Street in St Martin Pomary in London with Mary (19) and Sarah (17). He is described as an “Oil Merchant & Dry Salter”. I haven’t yet found where the rest of the family were.
Directories from 1853 onwards show that Benjamin lived at Willow House, New Leeds which was on the Chapeltown Road and is now the site of Roscoe Methodist Church in Chapeltown. He also had a warehouse in White Horse Yard.
The 1861 Census confirms that the family were living on the Chapeltown Road, Benjamin is now 62 and is described as “Oil Merchant & Local Methodist Preacher employing 8 Men and 1 boy”. Benjamin (18) and Thomas (16) are described as his apprentices.
Margaret, Benjamin’s wife, died on 2 February 1871 aged 63 and was buried in the churchyard at St Matthew’s on 6 February. The 1871 Census records that Benjamin was a 72 year old widower, Oil Merchant and Drysalter living with his son Benjamin, daughter Mary, granddaughter Anne and visitor Helen Shillito along with two servants. A couple of doors away lived Thomas R Vickers (26, Oil Merchant and Drysalter), his wife Emma and two young children Emma and Henry.
In the 1881 Census Benjamin is an 82 year old widower, a “Retired Oil Merchant” living at Willow House with his widowed daughter Mary R Gaskell and her 23 year old unmarried son George V Gaskell who was a “Civil Engineer (not practising)” along with three servants.
Benjamin died on 1 August 1881 aged 83 years and was buried on 5 August at the graveyard of St Matthew’s Church by “Randall W Vickers, Vicar or Naburn, York”
Sarah Elizabeth Vickers
the beloved Daughter of
Benjamin R. Vickers
of New Leeds
who died February 21st 1866
Aged 32 Years
Converted to God in her fifteenth Year
She remained faithful unto Death
Also Margaret the beloved
Wife of the above named
Ben R. Vickers and daughter
of Richard & Margaret Threlfall
of Hollowforth nr Preston. She
died Feby 2nd 1871 Aged 63 Years
When she walked through the valley
of the shadow of death she feared
no evil for God was with her, his rod and
his staff they comforted her.
Also the said
Benjamin Randall Vickers
Born April 11th 1798 Died August 1st 1881
Surely goodnes and mercy followed him all the days of his life
and he dwelleth in the house of the Lord for ever
VICKERS Benjamin Randall 17 December. The Will with five Codicils of Benjamin Randall Vickers late of Willow House New Leeds Leeds in the County of York Gentleman who died 1 August 1881 in Leeds was proved at Wakefield by Benjamin Threlfall Vickers of Leeds and Thomas Henry Vickers of Roundhay near Leeds Oil Refiners the Sons and Mary Randall Gaskell of Willow House New Leeds Widow the Daughter and John Hartley Blackburn of Horsforth near Leeds and of Bradford in the said County the Executors.
Personal Estate £8505 8s. 7d.
Further reading about Benjamin Randall Vickers and Vickers Oil: