Alderman Peter Gendall was a Builder and Joiner by Profession; was elected a Salford Councillor and thenm Alderman for a record five times; and was considered 'the father' of the Council.
Peter Gendall was born on the 23rd November 1797 in Bridge Street, Manchester and was educated at Manchester Grammar School. He became a successful builder and joiner which enabled him to retire in his early 60s. In his early days he was a radical but gradually moved to supporting the Conservatives. In 1819 he was present at Peterloo and 'saw Mr Birley, an officer of the yeomanry cavalry with drawn sword ride among the people slashing right and left'.
Peter's public career began in 1836 when, at the age of 39, he was elected as a Commissioner of Police (the body that governed Salford before the Council was established in 1844). Later he stood for the new Council and won Blackfriars Ward. As a small ratepayer he was concerned that the Liberal Council was aiming to spend a lot of ratepayers' money on public services. To challenge this Peter became part of the Salford Ratepayers Retrenchment Association, founded in 1845. The Association became quite powerful and Peter Gendall was appointed Alderman for Blackfriars Ward in 1857, succeeding the Liberal Alderman Langworthy. When the Ward divided in 1870, Peter was assigned to the new Islington Ward. He was Chair of the Highways Committee and Chairman of the Watch Committee until his death. He served on most committees during his 37 years on the Council.
Alderman Gendall was a member of the committee to look into the amalgamation of Salford with Pendleton and Broughton. Although he was against the merger it went ahead in 1853. He was a member of the first Gas Committee which established the Gas Works in Lamb Lane. In 1854 he became a member of the Burial Board and was its Chairman from 1872 onwards. He supported Joseph Brotherton in selecting the site for Borough Cemetery at Weaste.
During his last year Peter Gendall began to feel the effects of old age. In mid June 1881 he took to his bed. On Sunday 26th June he became unconscious and on Tuesday 28th he died aged 83 at his home in Islington Street.
The funeral took place on Saturday 2nd July. It started from his residence in Islington Street and was headed by the Mayor, Alderman William Robinson, and the Chief Constable. The hearse had three police constables on either side followed by three mourning carriages. There were many Aldermen and Councillors, family and friends following. A large number of people congregated at the Cemetery to witness the funeral, in the Church of England portion, performed by Rev. M.S. Monroe.