John Blythe Foden was a Buyer and Cashier in the cotton industry and also was elected to Salford Council for 12 years.
He was born in Chorlton-on-Medlock, Manchester in 1836, the son of Joseph Foden, a Brewer and long time resident in Oldfield Road. Early in life he entered the employ of Messrs Carlisle, Douglas and Co of Major Street, Manchester, who were engaged in the cotton industry. John ultimately rose to the position of Buyer and Cashier, a post which he held for 46 years. After his retirement he took on a position of Auctioneer and Estate Agent.
In 1863, John married Rachel Liptrott at St. John's Church, Deansgate. She was the daughter of William and Elizabeth Liptrott and was born on 13th Mar 1837 and baptised at Gravel Lane Methodist Chapel, Salford on 21st May. They were blessed with many children, but sadly some were to die quite young. Thomas (born 1864, Regent Road), John Blythe (born 1866, Broughton, died 26 Aug 1878 aged 12), William (born 1867, Broughton, died 19 Feb 1869 aged 14 months), Frederick Joseph (born 1869, Broughton), Rachel Evelyn (born 1870, Regent Road, died 3 Aug 1870 aged 8 months), Fanny, (born 1871, Regent Road), Stewart Douglas (born 1872, Pendleton, died 5 Jan 1875 age 3), Edward (born 1873, Pendleton), Gertrude (born 1875) and Bessie (born 1878, Regent Road, died 1 Mar 1879 aged 10 months). In 1881 the family lived at 57 Howard Street, off Eccles New Road, Salford.
John was actively connected with the Methodist Free Church, Liverpool Street for many years, but after marrying Rachel, who was Anglican, he identified himself with the Stowell Memorial Church. He attended for about 20 years and took an active interest in the schools and other church organisations. Whilst in the prime of life, he took an interest in literary and debating societies and was a regular frequenter of The Merchants Restaurant in Market Street, Manchester, well known for debates. He was also a member of the Pendleton Parliamentary Debating Society which met in rooms above the Pendleton Free Library. He was also a leading member of the Strasbourg Social Club, Howard Street.
In politics John Blythe Foden was a Liberal and Chairman of the Regent Liberal Club. In 1881 he was elected for Regent Ward for 6 years. He won this seat despite being a "servant", i.e. a working man in employment. His Conservative opponent, Mr Matthew Wood stated "he was his own master which was a very necessary qualification for a member of the Town Council. It was all very well for Mr Foden to state he had the full consent of his employers, but could they as men of sense, expect that employers would pay their servants and allow them to go away at any moment to attend to other duties?" John Blythe Foden won the contest, but then was defeated by Mr W.F Cottrell in 1887. He was re-elected in 1897 for St Paul's Ward until 1903. However in 1897, his employers dismissed him after 46 years of loyal service. He took them to court for unfair dismissal on 13th November and won!
He was an outspoken member of Council and violent scenes and lots of laughter occurred in the Council chamber. Whilst a Councillor he strongly opposed the erection of sheds near the cemetery, for people with infectious diseases, and because of this a Fever Hospital was built in Wilton Road.
For some time before he died John had been in a delicate state of health which was diagnosed as cancer of the liver. During the summer of 1904 he had spent 8 weeks at Blackpool and a like period at Douglas, Isle of Man. He hoped that he would return to good health, but he died at his residence, 4, Howard Street on Monday morning, 19th December. He was 68 years of age.
A private funeral by request took place at Weaste Cemetery on Thursday 22nd December. There was only a hearse and two carriages. John's body was placed in a walnut casket shell mounted with brass. The inscription read, "John Blythe Foden, died 19th December 1904, aged 68 years". The mourners were John's sons Thomas, Edward and John, the Mayor (Alderman Stephens) and Liberal Councillors. The service was conducted by Rev J.G, Skemp and he was interred in plot 32 of the Dissenters portion.