Holdens Ghosts: The Life and times of Sir Isaac Holden - inventor, woolcomber and radical Liberal MP Tony Holden

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210 pages


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Holdens Ghosts: The Life and times of Sir Isaac Holden - inventor, woolcomber and radical Liberal MP  by  Tony Holden

Holdens Ghosts: The Life and times of Sir Isaac Holden - inventor, woolcomber and radical Liberal MP by Tony Holden
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The story of Isaac Holden is of someone recognised as ‘one of the most notable examples of a self-made man’ in the Nineteenth Century. The biography tells the tale of a man of contradictions and conflicts in his personal, business and political life.MoreThe story of Isaac Holden is of someone recognised as ‘one of the most notable examples of a self-made man’ in the Nineteenth Century.

The biography tells the tale of a man of contradictions and conflicts in his personal, business and political life. Overcoming the stigma of an early business failure in Bradford and struggling with the loss of his first wife, he made his fortune by starting a wool combing business in revolutionary France in 1848.

He fought a long and bitter battle with his partner Samuel Lister for control of the business. His sons and nephews then played key roles in his business life, but his less than partial treatment of them led to a deadly rivalry for his approval. Tales of bravery emerge like that shown by his nephew, Jonathan Holden, during the Franco-Prussian War. Avowing equality of treatment between sons and daughters, he was deeply patriarchal- one of his daughters, Margaret Illingworth, became an early suffragette.Radicalised by his experience of being brought up in dire poverty and being discriminated against for his Nonconformist views, Isaac joined the Radical wing of the Liberal Party, became an MP in 1865 and worked for the final abolition of slavery, electoral reform, Irish Home Rule, and church disestablishment.

Although supporting radical causes, as a capitalist and rugged individualist he was opposed to most factory reform.



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