James FORREST was born in Mellor, Lancashire in about 1832/33 according to the 1851 and 1871 censuses, and a possible 1841 Censuse record; 1833/34 according to his wedding certificate, 1835/6 according to the 1861 census and 1834/35 according to his death certificate. Working on the principle that the earliest records are more likely to be more accurate then 1832/33 might be the best guess.
According to his marriage certificate of 1854 his father was William, a brickmaker.
There are no IGI christening records for a James FORREST christened by a father named William in 1832-36 near Blackburn other than one in Sandbach, Cheshire in April 1834 (mother Elizabeth), and one in 1831 in Liverpool (mother Sarah).
There is a christening in the Chapel Street (Independent), Blackburn on 12 Jan 1834 of a boy called James born 13 Dec 1833 by parents William and Alice. Unfortunately no surname is given for a small cluster of baptisms including this one, but several other couples called William and Alice regularly christen chidren at this chapel, so this record is unlikely to be James Forrest. Also no marriage between a William FORREST and an Alice has been found.
In 1841 a James FORREST, aged 9 is living with William FORREST 65-69, James FORREST 35-39 and Ann FORREST 15-19. A William FORREST, warper, aged 45-49 was living as a lodger in Birley Lane, Blackburn. It is possible that this was James' father, and that James was living with his grandfather and Uncle. If that is correct then James' father committed suicide in 1844. An Ellen FORREST aged 15-19 was living in Mellor in 1841 with an elderly couple called CHADWICK near to the sames people that James is living in Blackburn with 10 years later.
In 1851 he was lodging in Ainsworth Street, Blackburn with people (Sarah COUP and Thomas COWELL) who had also made the move from rural Mellor into the city. Blackburn's only theatre was on Ainsworth St at that time.
James married Elizabeth ARCHIBALD on 13 April 1854 and had seven children between 1854 and 1873. (The witnesses to the marriage witnessed all marriages in that church at that time so can be ignored as possible relatives.) In 1861 he is lodging in a beer shop on Grimshaw Park, but in 1871 he is back with his pregnant wife Elizabeth and his five children.
By 1881 he was out of the house again living as a boarder in a beershop at 42/44 Highfield Road. Meanwhile his wife Elizabeth was living 600 yds away at 22 Crossfield Street with his four youngest children. Tellingly he is listed as a widower and she as a widow suggesting that the breakup was irreconcilable.
James died of bronchitis in the Blackburn Infirmary on 5 Dec 1889. His age was given as 54 suggesting a birth date of 6 Dec 1834 - 5 Dec 1835. At the time of his death he was living at 42 Primrose Hill with his son John's family, so he was on reasonable terms with at least some of his family. His son was still at 42 Primrose Hill at the time of the 1891 census.
He worked in the cotton industry initially as a piecer in 1851 and then a spinner at the time of his son Firth's christening. A piecer was employed to piece together any threads which broke and was usually a child or woman. He was described as a cotton spinner on his death certificate and "piecer (deceased)" on his son William's wedding certificate in 1890. 2 3 4 5 6 7