Charles Edward Thompstone was trained as an Engineer and later became a Smoke Inspector for Salford Council for 30 years.
He was born in Salford in 1837, the son of Mr Charles Thompstone, Engraver of Strangeways, Manchester. In early life he was apprenticed to Messrs Dunn, Hattersley and Co, engineers of Windsor Bridge and with this company he served his time as a Pattern Maker and Draughtsman. During Mr Thomas Dunn's absence for 2 years Charles was in charge of the works. His next employment was with Messrs Galloways Ltd, the famous boilermakers, where he spent 16 years. Whilst at Galloways, one of his tasks was to test the plates used in the construction of the bridge over the River Irwell at New Bridge Street, Greengate. He also tested plates used in the construction of the New Ferry Bridge at Liverpool and at Southport Pier. (This was at the time that Sir Richard Mottram, a former Mayor of Salford was serving his apprenticeship at Galloways).
From Galloways, C.E.Thompstone went to work for W.H.Bailey of Oldfield Road, Salford. He made drawings for several important works, including a paddleboat which plied on the Bridgewater Canal between Manchester, Salford, Runcorn and Liverpool. For some years he was a teacher of draughtsmanship at the Mechanics Institute, Gardner Street, Pendleton and he was on the committee which promoted an engineering exhibition at John Street Hall. It is recalled that at the exhibition there was a mechanical bullfinch!
The 1873 Directory has Charles Edward Thompstone as a Beer Retailer at 27, Hough Lane Lower Broughton, but in about 1874, he was engaged by Salford Corporation as a Smoke Inspector and for some time as an Inspector under the Food and Drugs Act. His reports of smoke infringements were haled as "models of conciseness and lucidity" and it "rarely occurred that the evidence he gave, which was of a highly technical character, was seriously contested".
In 1857, Charles married Mary Jane Hibbert at St. Mary's Church, Eccles and the 1881 census has them living at 81 Hough Lane, Broughton. Their children were Jane Eleanor (born 1859, married Harry Bryant in 1891), Albert Edward, (born 1862, married Catherine Balderstone in 1889), Frederick William (born 1866, married Amy Martin in 1891), Charles Lewis (born 1872, married Adeline Whiteley in 1898) and Samuel L. (born 1877, married Annie McGlone in 1905). For years he worshipped at St John's Church, Higher Broughton, (where all his children were married), but when an old friend (Rev C.T.Watson) became Rector of the Church of the Ascension in Lower Broughton, he worshipped there. He became a Sidesman and held that position until his death. Charles had a number of interests and was a prominent member of the Manchester Microscopical Society. He also pursued an interest in photography and oil painting and built several model yachts. He was a strong supporter of Peel Park Flower Show at which he was an exhibitor and prize winner. He also played bowls at Peel Park and donated the winner's trophy there.
On Friday morning, 29th July 1904, Charles died suddenly at his home, 27 Nelson Street, Broughton. He was 66 years of age. The funeral was held on Monday 1st August at Weaste Cemetery. The cortege consisted of a plain glass hearse drawn by two horses and four carriages. In the first carriage were his sons Albert, Frederick, Charles and Samuel and his daughter Mrs Jane Bryant. At the cemetery, friends and colleagues were waiting including Chief Inspector Shuttleworth (Health Department) and Mr J.W.Morrison (Mersey and Irwell Rivers Inspector). The coffin was of oak with heavy brass mountings and Charles's old friend Rev C.T.Watson conducted the service in the Church of England Chapel.
Sadly, Charles's third son Charles Lewis was to die less than five months later on 18th January 1905 at the age of 33. Mary Jane died on 26th May 1910 in her 80th year.
Footnote. The Salford Reporter records on the 6th August 1904 "Owing to the death of Mr C.E.Thompstone, nine summonses taken out by the Health Committee of Salford Corporation for smoke nuisance were, on Wednesday, with the consent of the Stipendiary Magistrate, withdrawn".