Weaste Cemetery

Biographies of people buried between 1890 & 99

Mark Addy (1838 - 1890)

Mark Addy was known as The Salford Hero and was famous for rescuing over 50 drowning people from the River Irwell.


He was born on 13th April 1838 at 2, Stage Buildings, Manchester, alongside the River Irwell near Blackfriars Bridge. His father was Mark Antoni Addy (born 1800 in Ireland) and his mother was Elizabeth (nee Brown) Addy (born 1804 in Suffolk). Mark's father and uncle were boat builders and hirers and Mark grew up in the business. On 29th November 1860 he married Jane Lovelock at St. John's Church, Deansgate, and later became Landlord of the Old Boathouse Inn, Salford.


The famous rescues began when he was only 13 and unable to swim, when he twice saved the life of a lad named Booth. On the first occasion he waded up to his chin and brought the drowning boy back to shore. On the second occasion he launched himself astride a plank and paddled out to the stricken boy. Mark resolved to learn to swim, so he attended Greengate Baths, Salford and became a proficient swimmer. Many rescues were at great danger to his own life, when the river was half frozen, or in flood or when drowning persons were struggling.


On 24th June 1872 he saved a young woman named Mary Barrett. It was said that her young man had drowned and as she was depressed, she tried to end it all. Mark received the silver medal from the Royal Humane Society for the Hundred of Salford to which a gold clasp was added by the Nemesis Rowing Club. On one cold night in October 1878 he was awoken by a neighbour and rescued a drunken woman in his night attire. This time he used a rowing boat, but as the woman weighed 17 stone and was struggling violently, he could only hold her head above water with one hand, whilst paddling back to shore with the other.


Mark was awarded many medals for his bravery including one from the Swimmers of Manchester and Salford, the gold medal of the Salford Hundred Humane Society and the bronze medal of the Royal Humane Society of London. In January 1878 he was presented with 200 guineas by the Townsmen of Salford at a ceremony at Salford Town Hall. His highest award was 12 months later when Her Majesty Queen Victoria presented him with the Albert Medal First Class and he received a signed letter from the Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli. Mark was also a champion rower and in one famous tussle he was pitched against a champion rower from the south, W Sadler of Putney, for a stake of £100. The race, which took place on the River Thames, created a "vast amount of interest in rowing circles," and with a considerable amount of betting. At the "weigh in" Mark Addy weighed 9st 9lb and his opponent 10st 6lb. Mark had a flying start and won the race by 4 lengths.


Mark Addy became unwell in early 1890 and was diagnosed with having consumption (TB). After an eight week confinement to his room at the Old Boathouse Inn, Everard Street, Salford, he died on 9th June 1890 aged 52. He was buried at Weaste Cemetery plot A5/RC/972 on 13th June. Thousands of people lined the route and were present at the cemetery. Later, a fitting memorial, raised by public subscription, was erected on his grave.