Robert Law


Robert Law was born in Hollingworth, Walsden, the youngest of 10 children of John Law.

As a child, he worked in the cotton mills. He was a cotton power weaver [1861].

He was a late-learner and attended evening classes for a time.

He became interested in natural history, fossils, geology, and taxidermy.

He left night school and became something of a tearaway

[having fallen] in with companions whose bent of mind was totally different from his own ... and gradually drifted into a channel which, had it been continued, might have led to ruin and disgrace ... he lost every desire to follow up his literary and scientific interests, and led a wild and reckless life, which made him quite notorious in the district. At length, he got tired in this loose kind of life ... and shook off his old associates

and returned to evening classes.

He joined Walsden Working Men's Institute and Todmorden Scientific Association.

He qualified as a teacher and taught in the Science & Art Department at the Walsden Institute [1878].

Around 1855, Robert, Abraham Stansfield & James Horsfall, erected a line of 27 rock pillars in Rochdale Cemetery, representing various British rock types. The pillars mark the division between the consecrated & unconsecrated grounds in the Cemetery.

In 1879, he taught a geology class in Todmorden.

In 1886, he was elected a Fellow of the Geological Society of London.

He was a member of the Todmorden Scientific Association.

His interest in early man took him throughout Britain, and to North America and Canada.

It is said that

around 1880, Robert fathered a child – Aggie – by his niece, Emma Crossley, daughter of Peter Crossley.

Emma became housekeeper at Fennyroyd Hall, Hipperholme


On 23rd July 1886, Robert married Elizabeth Ann Blackburn.

Elizabeth was a former student from Halifax, and a teacher with the Halifax School Board.

She shared Robert's interests


The couple went to live at Cromwell Terrace, Halifax.

On 7th July 1898, Law, Tattersall Wilkinson and Abraham Crossley opened the Blackheath Barrow.

The family moved to Fennyroyd Hall, Hipperholme which became a museum with his large collection of fossils, rocks and other collections.

In 1902, he was elected a member of the Hipperholme Urban District Council.

He was President of the Hipperholme & Lightcliffe Conservative Association.

He & his wife were buried at Halifax Parish Church

His collection of fossils was donated to the Natural History Museum in London

See Broadley Hall, Ovenden

© Malcolm Bull 2021
Revised 13:03 / 24th May 2021 / 5666

Page Ref: WW_42

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