John Bainbridge was an Evangelist Minister and Preacher, associated with the Longford Hall Institute and Ragged School, Pendleton.
He was born in Frosterley, Durham in 1844. He married Elizabeth Irwin (born 1839 in Alston, Northumberland) in about 1866 and they had a son Robert in 1868 at Toft Hill, Durham. The 1881 census reveals Elizabeth and Robert at 17 Cecil Street, Stockton on Tees and John was visiting the Philipson family of West End Allendale, Northumberland. The family came to Salford in the 1880s, but John was to die at the young age of 46 on 30th August 1890. Elizabeth died three years later on 28th December 1893. In 1894, Robert married Jane Holland in Salford by Registrar.
The Salford Reporter of 6th September 1890 records, "We regret to announce the death of Mr John Bainbridge which took place on Saturday at his residence, Montford Street, Eccles New Road, Salford, aged 46 years. The deceased gentleman was an Evangelist associated with the rise and progress of Longford Hall (better known as the Regent Road Mission), which is situated at the rear of the police station in that locality. He was a native of Durham, and when a youth was of a wild and roving disposition. At 20 years of age he became converted. In no time at all he became a local preacher amongst the Primative Methodists of Durham. Afterwards he was called out as an evangelist and his labours extended throughout the northern counties. He was well known as an evangelist and his missions among the poorer classes have been the means of inducing thousands of persons to live better lives.
He became associated with the Manchester Mission in 1885 and was sent to the Regent Road district of Salford. He immediately took an active interest in the relief of the poor during the trade depression. In February 1887, the school formerly used by the Regent Road Wesleyans was taken by the City Mission, and the Longford Hall Institute and Ragged School was established. During that summer, Mr Bainbridge took part in an open air campaign in the neighbourhood which lasted for 13 weeks. As a result, the winter period showed a remarkable increase in the attendance at the Mission. He was greatly beloved in the district. By 1890 there were some 700 men connected with the Bible Students Society and some 400 to 500 women attending the mothers meetings. All these residents have "signed the pledge". His Sunday evening services attract over 500 people.
Mr Bainbridge's last service at the Mission was on Sunday 24th August. His text on that occasion was somewhat remarkable considering he was to die the following Saturday. It was taken from Matthew xxvi, v45, "Sleep on thou and take your rest". In the course of his address he pointed out that it was probably the last time he should be with them, "for no man knoweth the day or the hour of his coming." The following Tuesday he had a chill and took to his bed. Dr J.F. Le Page was called in, but the cold had developed into double pneumonia and he succumbed on Saturday. He leaves a widow and son (Mr R.W. Bainbridge who is organist at the Primitive Methodist Chapel, Trafford Road, Salford). Truly the Mission has lost a good advocate and friend and his figure will long remain in the memory of those connected therewith."
The funeral of John Bainbridge took place on Wednesday 3rd September at 2 pm. All the missionaries of the City Mission, together with a large number of members of Longford Hall Institute assembled outside the Bainbridge residence, in Montford Street, where a procession was formed headed by the Longford Hall Brass Band under the leadership of Mr James Bradbury. Then came the hearse and carriages with son Robert, niece (Miss Irwin), other relatives and friends, Mrs Weigall, Mr J.W. MacGill and about 30 missionaries from the Hall. The route was lined with sympathising friends and the funeral was described as one of the most imposing ever seen in the district.
On reaching the Primitive Methodist Chapel on Trafford Road, the mourners entered and a service was conducted by Mrs Weigall. The coffin was placed on a bier in front of the communion rails. After a hymn and a prayer, Mr G. Cussons read portions of the 15th chapter of the 1st Epistle to the Corinthians, and Mrs Weigall gave a moving address. The cortege then made its way to Weaste Cemetery, the band playing the "Dead March". Once again the streets were lined with people, with hundreds waiting at the cemetery gates.
The funeral obsequies were conducted by Rev F.W. Brett and Rev W. Dinning and the hymn "It is well with my soul" was sung. Many wreaths were laid including those from the teachers of the Ragged School, the Mission congregation, Primitive Methodist friends and missionary workers. The remains of John Bainbridge were interred in Square 37 of the Dissenters portion.