CHARLES PAGET

1799-1873

Charles came from the Pagets of Ibstock who descended from the line whose wealth was created by Henry VIII. The King forced the Bishop of Lichfield to surrender to him the Manor of Longdon, which he passed to Sir William Paget, one of his principle Secretaries of State and Reformist advisors. The manor included Burntwood, Hammerwich and Cannock Heath. He became Lord Paget after becoming the King's closest advisor during the Dissolution of the Monasteries. He was later given the London residence of the Bishop of Exeter and also obtained Beaudesert in Warwickshire, which became the chief seat of the Paget family.

The arrival of the 19th century saw the Paget's of Ibstock, whose primary concern was agriculture & rent income, diversify into hosiery and banking. In 1807 Charles' father, Joseph, and Uncles William & Thomas Paget, a surgeon, became shareholders in the private Pleasley based hosiery company, Hollins, Siddon & Co, after buying the shares from a former director, Henry Hollins II, who was related to Thomas Paget by marriage on his mothers side, the Oldknows, who were also shareholders. The Paget brothers, Joseph & William had already gained a reputation as the most eminent manufactures of hosiery and lace at their business in Loughborough called Paget & White. The brothers also had their own banking house known later as Paget & Kirby. The board of the Pleasley company were now strong in experience as well as men of substance but they also had other qualities that other companies of the time were lacking - compassion and benevolence to the workers. At the time there was no factory legislation and the rights of workers, particularly child labourers, would normally fall fowl of ruthless owners. The Poor Law children who were employed at Pleasley mills were treated exceptionally well, relatively speaking, they were provided with an education, which was unheard of at other factories. Charles had bought his first share in the Pleasley business in 1832 from a former board member, which proved to be a fortuitous move because the share his father owned, after his death in 1842, was passed by a joint ownership agreement to William, who retired a year later, both shares passing to his son, William II who also inherited the share of the Loughborough based lace company, which he managed. Thomas Paget also retired the following year, selling his share equally between Charles and William II making them both the major shareholders even though neither had any management responsibilities at the firm. The experienced manager of the firm at this time was William Hollins, however, he had no share but the Pagets placed such faith in him that they made him a partner on his own merits. In 1844 the Siddon shareholder died and the name Siddon was dropped. The firm was renamed William Hollins & Company.

Charles was more adept in public affairs than directing a hosiery company and so his attentions were drawn to matters of public office. From his base at Ruddington Grange, which he built in 1828 on a 400 acre estate, he became a magistrate in 1836 and a County JP in 1839. In 1842 he launched his political career by speaking at Free Trade demonstrations and in 1844 presided at Anti-Corn Law League meetings. By 1844 he was High Sheriff of the County. In 1856 he was elected as Whig MP for Nottingham, a seat he held until 1865 when he was unseated by fellow Liberal, Samuel Morley VC, in a very aggressive election campaign that sparked riots in the streets of Nottingham of such intensity that the army had to be called to restore order. After his parliamentary career was over, he turned his attentions to local affairs in Nottingham, particulary to education, which he had always spoke out for and had always represented passionately.

Courtesy of Nottingham City Council and www.picturethepast.org.uk

Standing - Samuel Morley

Seated - Charles Paget

Unfortunately, life had its tragedies for Charles Paget. He married his cousin, Eliza Paget, daughter of William, in 1823. She bore him 6 children, Mary, Joseph, Lucy and Ann but Charles and Caroline died in infancy. Eliza died in 1834 just 31 years of age. He remarried in 1836 to Ellen Tebbutt and had two daughters, Caroline and Ellen. Tragically, Charles and his wife drowned at Filey in 1873. He was standing with his wife, sister in law and guide on Filey Brigg, a popular tourist spot, watching the waves breaking on the rocks, when an immense wave of huge volume washed the party into the sea. The returning wave threw the guide and sister-in-law back onto the rocks but the Pagets were lost. Despite a 100 reward offered by the family, the bodies were never recovered. Many tributes poured in after the tragedy, recognising his pioneering improvements in the education of the poor and their children. He was described by his colleagues as a man of "greatest worth, high intelligence and independent judgement".Click this link to read more about the tragic drowning at Filey and view the 'Stuffynwood Paget Memorial'