Weaste Cemetery

Biographies of people buried between 1930 & 39

James Higson (1861 - 1933)

James Higson was a Master Painter and Decorator by profession and became Mayor of Salford in 1916. His wife Elizabeth played a prominent role in Salford supporting welfare activities during the First World War.


James was born on 2nd June 1861 in Ford Lane, next to Salford Town Hall. His father Richard had a Plastering and Decorating business. James started his education at the New Jerusalem School in Irwell Street. At the age of 11 he attended Broughton College and at 13 went to Manchester Grammar School. In 1876 at the age of 15 he became apprenticed to his father. At 18 he acquired a job in the Borough Treasurer's Department as a Clerk and was able to do the accounts for his father's business. He rejoined his father in 1882 and when his father died in 1906, James took over the business. He later became President of the National Association of Master Decorators of England and Wales.


In his youth, James attended Hope Congregational Chapel, but later changed to Christ Church C of E, where he met and married Elizabeth Annie Watkinson, daughter of John Watkinson, engineer of Shrewsbury. James was a rugby referee until joining Salford Football Club where for 21 years he was Secretary, Treasurer and then Chairman. He was also the author of the book "History of Salford Football Club". He was Hon. Secretary of Lancashire County Rugby Football Committee and President of Lancashire Referees Committee.  James was also a keen photographer and produced photos for a "Souvenir of Salford" in 1893. James was also one of the most prominent Freemasons in Lancashire.


James Higson's interest in politics started when he was 16 when he assisted the Conservative candidate in the 1877 General Election. His career in local politics started in 1892, winning Regent Ward and later representing Hope and Crescent Wards for the Conservatives. He served on many committees of Council and was the main promoter of Salford's electricity undertaking. He was elected Mayor of Salford in 1916, during the First World War. It was as Mayoress, that Elizabeth Higson did so much outstanding welfare work, mainly with Belgian refugees at Summer Hill on Eccles Old Road, for which she received the order of St. Elisabeth from King Albert of Belgium and an MBE from King George V. Sadly, Elizabeth died on 9th July 1919, aged 54, due to exhaustion. James died on 12th April 1833 age 71, after a distinguished record of public service.