On a blustery rainy Saturday on 18th May a family from Derbyshire and Huddersfield came to Holbeck Cemetery to visit their ancestor’s grave. Beatrice is Adam Paton’s great, great, granddaughter and Glennys is his great, great, great granddaughter.Thankfully the pouring rain stopped at the right moment as you see by the photo.
It is always exciting for a family to discover things about their ancestor, and great for the Friends of Holbeck Cemetery when they have helped to gather and research the information for them.
Interesting for FOHC is that Adam Paton has one of the first memorials that really intrigued us. It stands quite near to the most magnificent Marsden memorial but Adam’s is only about 12 inches high with the simple inscription: -Adam Paton, Inventor Edinburgh & Leeds born 31st March 1836, died January 7th 1892
After I spent ages studying the 1881 census to try and find out about him. I came up with a blank and it took a friend of mine, with no connection to Holbeck Cemetery, to find Adam while researching her own family tree. What made it more difficult was that Adam Paton had been visiting London in that year to further his business. He was staying at Walter C. Keeble’s Coffee House with his 14 year old son, Henry. The census tells us that Adam was 45years old and a Master Printing Machine Maker (E & M) & his son was an Apprentice Machine Maker.
All this info led me to visit the Patent Office in Leeds where they were delighted to provide me with detailed copies of his patents. These illustrate Adam’s involvement in the early development of improvements to Letter-press Colour-Lithographic Printing machines from 1867. His patents were applied for in 1867, 1883 & twice in 1889 & relate to changing the brake on a cylinder on the printing press, adjusting the inking apparatus, making the cylinder smaller and finally the application of ink-distributing cylinders instead of inking-tables or slabs. All very technical, but 70 year old retired printers have spoken to me about how they remember using Adam’s machines when they were working and they are amazed to discover how these innovations took place in the 1880s.
Several years ago I was contacted by relatives of Adam from Canada, via the internet, and documents were exchanged and I was given family trees, copies of births, marriages & death certificates and photos to add to what we already knew of him.
He had brought the small Arab Platen machine from Edinburgh where he was registered in 1863 as an engineer, millwright & cylinder–printing machine maker of 8 North College Street moving to 1 Broughton Place in 1864/5. We also know that while he was in Edinburgh his son, .Henry lost an eye while playing on his rocking horse! Adam then seems to have decided to bring his invention to Leeds, and he travels there with his wife, Esther, and family.
He is listed in White’s Leeds Trade Directory of 1870 as living at 27 Cemetery Road and his company is listed as Adam Paton (Bros) Paragon Works, Elland Road, employing 32 men & 3 boys.
We know that Adam’s wife went to live in Scarborough after he died and she was a serious Spiritualist as was Henry’s wife, Eliza. Spiritualism was very popular in Victorian times and many famous people were also interested in it. Arthur Conan Doyle writer of the Sherlock Holmes stories was one such follower as was Rudyard Kipling, writer of Jungle Book.
Colleen Harnett from the Canadian connection has supplied us with all sorts of interesting stories about Adam which are too numerous to mention here and it was while she who doing more research that she discovered Beatrice & Glennys, the relatives that we met on Saturday. Beatrice and Glennys are so thrilled at having all these connections that they are going over to Vancouver later this year to meet up with the Paton family, taking photos from their visit to Holbeck Cemetery along with them.