1786       

3rd. January Tuesday
A main of cocks was fought at the Royal Exchange betwixt the gentlemen of Lancashire and Cheshire for £5 a battle and £200 the main. Cheshire won by eight battles. January 3, 6, 7, 8, 9. (7)

10th. January Tuesday
A fire broke out in the New Market Hall, Pool Fold, and entirely consumed the upper part of the building, January 10.(7)

22nd. February Wednesday
Manchester Academy instituted 22nd February. The first session was opened 14th September by an address from Rev. Thomas Barnes. Dr. Thomas Percival was the first chairman. In 1803 it was removed, and became Manchester College, York; in 1840 it returned to its birthplace as Manchester New College, and in 1853 was removed to London, still retaining the name of Manchester New College.(7)

28th. April Friday
John Holker, Chevalier of the Order of St. Louis, and inspector-general of the woollen and cotton manufactures of France, died at Rouen, 28th April. He was born at Stretford, and baptised there 14th October, 1719. His parents were married at Manchester in 1715, and the name is found frequently at Monton. He was a “calendarer,” joined the rebels in 1745, and was taken prisoner at Carlisle. When in Newgate awaiting trial a fellow-prisoner found a means of escape from the same cell, but Holker was too bulky to pass through the “straightgate.” The generous comrade returned, and the two in company enlarged the hole and both escaped. Holker was concealed for six weeks by a woman who kept a green stall, but eventually escaped to France, where he entered the army, and retired on a pension of 600 francs in 1755. He had previously, in connection with partners, erected a velvet factory at Rouen, and in 1758 he retired with a fortune. He was inspector-general of foreign manufactures from 1755 until his death. In 1766 he established chemical works and introduced leaden chambers for the manufacture of sulphuric acid. He is said to have visited England secretly to induce English artisans to settle in France. He was nominated a Chevalier de St. Louis, 27th September, 1770. This remarkable life is given with the fullest detail in communications by Mr. J. G. Alger in the Palatine Note-book, vol. iv.,pp. 47, 111.(7)

14th. July Friday
John Collier, better known as “Tim Bobbin,” died, at Milnrow, 14th July. He was born at Urmston, and baptised at Flixten 6th January, 1708-9. The greater part of his life was passed at Milnrow, where he was schoolmaster. In 1746 he published a View of the Lancashire Dialect, which has since passed through almost innumerable editions. It cannot be supposed to represent faithfully the folk-speech of any particular district, but it preserves many uncommon words and idioms which Collier had picked up in various parts. There is a great deal of humour in his writings, but he is coarse and sadly wanting in refinement. Collier wrote in verse and prose, and dabbled in archæology. His Curious Remarks on the History of Manchester and More Fruit from the Same Pannier are severe criticisms on Whitaker’s History of Manchester. In these he is thought to have been aided by Richard Towneley, of Belfield. Collier was also a painter, and published a volume of caricatures, entitled Human Passions Delineated. He is buried in Rochdale Churchyard.(7)

6th. September Wednesday
A rule was adopted 6th September by the joint committee of Sunday schools that writing should not henceforward be taught in the schoolroom. The bigotry and cruelty of such a regulation at a time when the means of education were so scanty needs no comment.(7)

12th. September Tuesday
James Holland was hanged at Bolton-le-Moor, for croft breaking, Sept. 12.(7)

29th. September Friday
Mr. Josiah Birch, for many years treasurer to the Manchester Infirmary, died September 29.(7)

1786
Sir John Parker Mosley served the office of High Sheriff of the County Palatine of Lancaster. He was accompanied from his seat at Ancoats by an immense retinue of his friends and neighbours, and the conviviality attending it was long celebrated in their private discourse. (Mosley’s Mosley Family.)(7)

1786
A man was tried at Lancaster and fined £200 for having had in his possession a quantity of machinery with a view to export it to the Emperor of Germany, and for also having seduced workmen to go abroad with it.(7)