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Wakefield, Sam, b 1860 (textile manager)



  • Existence: b 1860


Sam Wakefield was born in 1860 at Stockport, Cheshire, the son of a master baker and confectioner. From the age of 14 he worked for the Manchester cotton merchants Harlow Goldschmidt, and at the age of 19 was sent by the firm to France, Belgium and Holland to learn the cotton trade. At the age of 25 he became the manager of George Balfe's cotton spinning mill in Stockport, and married Balfe's daughter, Jane. The couple had four children, of whom three died within a week in a typhoid epidemic, leaving only a son, Frank, aged two years. These deaths led to the couple's decision to accept an offer from Jardine, Matheson & Co. in China for Sam Wakefield to develop the construction and operation of cotton mills on the China coast. In China Wakefield belonged to the Unitarian Church, a masonic lodge, and an amateur dramatic group. In 1900, Jane Wakefield travelled to Japan to escape the Boxer Rebellion, but contracted fever and died in hospital in Kobe. Wakefield remarried, and there were two daughters of the second marriage. Wakefield returned to Great Britain, to become an established member of the textile trade. He was a member of the Textile Institute and the British Association of Managers of Textile Works, and served as President of the Stockport District Mill Overlookers' Association. A lecture he delivered to this latter Association in November 1914 was printed as 'A preliminary investigation concerning the diameters of yarns' (Manchester, c. 1915). His 'Cotton Doubling and Twisting' was issued in four volumes by Marsden & Co., Manchester, in 1916-1917, and reprinted in 1929-1930. Wakefield, who worked as general manager of the Fabrica Tejidos Obregon, Barranquilla, Colombia, was also associated with the 'Textile World Journal'.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:


Sam Wakefield: Photographs of China

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Add.9480
Scope and Contents

The collection is comprised of a photograph album (Add. 9480/1) and loose photographs (Add. 9480/2-13) (all monochrome prints) taken by Wakefield in China in the last years of the nineteenth century or having Wakefield as their subject. There are also two printed items (Add. 9480/14-15).

Dates: circa 1895-circa 1933
Conditions Governing Access: Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (