Who Was Richard Peacock?

Richard Peacock Mausoleum Brookfield Church Gorton Manchester
Portrait Photograph of Richard Peacock Gorton MP of Beyer-Peacock and Company Locomotives
Richard Peacock, image unknown

As well as Gorton’s first MP, Richard Peacock became one of the most significant figures in local history, and founded a legacy which continues to this day.

Born in Swaledale, Yorkshire in 1820, Peacock moved to Gorton in 1841 to work as Locomotive Superintendent at the Sheffield, Ashton-under-Lyne and Manchester Railway, which subsequently became the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway, it was then that he founded the Gorton Locomotive Works.

In 1847 Peacock and fellow engineer Charles Beyer founded the infamous Beyer-Peacock locomotive company, which covered 14 acres and became one of the largest in the United Kingdom, providing locomotives to the world.

Beyer, Peacock and Company Wooden Sign
Find out more about Richard Peacock’s locomotive legacy at the Manchester Museum of Science & Industry (MOSI) image: Bradshaw79

Peacock took a active role in the local environment and community, and was involved with the prosperity of the area, becoming the first Chairman of the Local Board of the Gorton district.

Richard Peacock Memorial Plaque Brookfield Church Tablet
Richard Peacock Memorial Tablet at Brookfield Unitarian Church. image Robert Siddall

He also commissioned the Grade II listed Brookfield Unitarian Church, as well as Peacock School, which, until recently, still stood in it’s place on Gorton Lane, close to the Beyer-Peacock site. The street ‘Peacock close’ remains as a testament to Peacock’s significance in local history.

In 1885 Peacock was elected as a Member of Parliament for the newly-created constituency of Gorton as a Liberal Party representative and remained so until his death.

He lived at Gorton Hall, which he had built for himself, his wife and five children. Though Gorton Hall was bulldozed in 1906, Gorton Lodge, which stood at the entrance gates to the hall, still stands today as a private residence.

Richard Peacock's Brookfield Unitarian Church Gorton Manchester
Brookfield Unitarian Church Gorton, commissioned by Richard Peacock

It was at the hall that Peacock died in 1889 at the age of 69 from a ‘lingering illness’. He is buried in the Peacock Mausoleum in Brookfield Church’s graveyard (main photo).

Find out more about Richard Peacock by reading his obituaries here.

You can find out more about Richard Peacock’s work and locomotive legacy at the Museum of Science and Industry, or reading their feature here.

His Wikipedia entry is available to read here.

5 thoughts on “Who Was Richard Peacock?

  1. […] Just over fifty years later this map from 1896 shows the dramatic change that has taken place in Gorton and the Manchester area. Much of the agricultural fields and paddocks are gone, replaced by housing, with fields only remaining in the south of Gorton and pockets throughout the north. Belle vue’s Zoological Gardens remain, as do the reservoirs at Debdale Park (still present today), with some remaining locations noted including the chapel of St Thomas (now St James’ Church) and Nico Ditch.  This map now shows Belle Vue station (still in operation today) and Abbey Hey, an area of Gorton at the North-East tip meeting Droylsden, as well as Brookfield Church, so built at the expense of Richard Peacock. […]


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