Weaste Cemetery

Biographies of people buried between 1870 & 79

William Whittaker (1839 - 1874)

 William Whittaker was a quoit player and became England champion around 1870. He became a publican of the Crystal Palace pub in Watkin Street, Salford and changed the name of his pub to the Golden Quoit.

He was born on 2nd February 1839 in Salford. His parents were William Whittaker Snr (born 1817 in Salford) who was a Stone Mason, and Mary (nee Wittington) Whittaker (born 1816 in Salford). They were married in 1837 at St Mary's Church Prestwich, Manchester. William was the eldest of five siblings all born in Salford: Henry (born 1841), Isaac (born 1843), Jane (born 1845) and Mary (born 1857).

In the 1861 census the family lived at 20 Ford Lane, Salford. William was aged 22 and a Joiner Mechanic, Henry was aged 20 and a Brass Moulder, Isaac was aged 17 and a Mechanic Fitter, Jane was aged 15 and a Dressmaker, and Mary was aged 4. The 1871 Census shows the family in Watkin Street, although it doesn't mention a public house. William's father was aged 55, his mother was 56, Henry was 29 and young Mary was aged 14. There is no mention of William. However, on 23rd February 1871, William married Sarah Ann Ward at St Luke's Church, Chorlton-on-Medlock, Manchester. He gave his age as 32, a Mechanic of 22 Watkin Street, Salford, father's name William Whittaker, Stone Mason. Sarah Ann was aged 20 of 2, Greek Street, Chorlton-on-Medlock and her father was William Ward, Brewer.

William was a champion quoit player and at some time was the champion of England. Several newspaper reports have shown some of his matches where betting on the winner was a feature. On 11th June 1859 (when William was 20 years old) he played John Hickson, also from Salford at the Broughton Tavern on Broughton Lane, Salford. On 24th December 1860 he played John Boardman jnr at the Victoria Tavern in Cheetwood for £30. By 1st August 1863 William was reckoned to be the best player in England and played the champion of Scotland Robert Walkinshaw in Glasgow for £200, but was defeated 61 to 41. On 26th March 1864 he played John Boardman jnr again at the Town Hall Tavern, Salford, for a purse of £50. On 20th August 1864, the Sporting Life records a match against Samuel Isherwood of Dukinfield to be played the following Saturday at the Royal Oak, Openshaw, Manchester. On 5th October 1868 a match against William Hodgson of Dukinfield (the Champion of America) and William Whittaker (Champion of England) at Colleyhurst, netted William £100. In a match on 20th October 1869, for £100, where William defended his England crown, held in Canning Town, London, William was defeated by John Graham. The Reporter described William as aged 30, 5ft 5ins tall and 10 stone 10 pounds in weight.

It was in the late 1860s that William became Landlord of the Crystal Palace pub on Watkins Street, near Broughton Bridge, Salford and changed its name to the Golden Quoit. It was a wedged shape building with the vault at the thin end and the parlour on the St Simon Street side. However, William died on 17th January 1874 aged only 34. He was buried in plot A11/CE/649 at Weaste Cemetery. His brother Henry continued to run the Golden Quoit until he died in 1907 aged 66.