Louis John Crossley


Louis John Crossley was born 31st May 1842, the son of John Crossley.

He was a JP, and a Major in the Second West Yorkshire Artillery.

He lived at Lower Willowfield and at Moorside where he built an electric tramway in the gardens and a large electric organ in the drawing room.

He was a director of Crossley's Carpets [from 1859] / a governor of Crossley & Porter Orphanage / a director of the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway Company / President of the Halifax Literary & Philosophical Society / President of the Halifax Horticultural & Floral Society [1865].

He was a keen scientist. At the age of 19, he became interested in electricity, and studied it at the laboratory of John Waterhouse at Well Head.

In 1879, when Alexander Graham Bell had finally finished his telephone, Crossley improved it by patenting an amplifier – his Patent Transmitter – which enabled people to hear themselves above the crackle. He established the West Riding Telephone Company.

He introduced electric lighting on a practical scale to Halifax, importing the celebrated Gramme machine from London where it had been used for lighting the Houses of Parliament. He demonstrated the electric light from a house in Harrison Road, and adopted the lighting at Albion Mills and Dean Clough.

He demonstrated that sound could be conveyed by electricity, installing a wire from his home to Northowram Hall. He developed the Crossley-Brequet instrument to convey verbal messages between the mill buildings at Dean Clough.

He erected a lighthouse on the roof of his house which people said could illuminate objects several miles away. His work in meteorology led to him being made a Fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society - see Thomas Varty.

In 1872, he was one of the executors of the will of his uncle Sir Francis (Frank) Crossley.

In 1866, he married Hannah Rawson Birks.


  1. Gerald Birks
  2. Charles Wheatley
  3. Percival Child
  4. Hilda [1842-1915] who married Marcel Conran-Smith
  5. Annie Maud [18??-1952]
  6. Muriel Elam [1873-1968] who married William G. R. Norris
  7. Gladys [1879-1960] who never married
  8. Cyril

Charles Wheatley and Percival Child, married two Smedley-Marsden sisters.

The family lived at Willow Hall [1870].

Louis John had been a delicate and sickly child and died [30th August 1891], after a world cruise intended to cure his ill health.

He was buried at Lister Lane Cemetery [Plot 152] and remembered at Plot 147

© Malcolm Bull 2024
Revised 12:08 / 19th January 2024 / 6128

Page Ref: QQ_154

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