John Candlish

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John Candlish
John Candlish statue.jpg
The statue of John Candlish in Mowbray Park, Sunderland
Member of Parliament for Sunderland
In office
Preceded by Henry Fenwick
Succeeded by Sir Henry Havelock-Allan, Bt
Personal details
Born 1815
Tarset, Northumberland, England
Died (1874-03-17)17 March 1874
Cannes, France
Political party Liberal
Occupation Glass bottle manufacturer

John Candlish (bapt. 28 April 1816 – 17 March 1874) was a British glass bottle manufacturer and Liberal Party politician.

Early life

Candlish was born in Tarset, Northumberland, the eldest son of John Candlish, a farmer, and his wife, Mary, née Robson. On the death of his wife in 1820, Candlish senior moved the family to Sunderland where the latter found work at Ayres Quay bottleworks, managed by his brother, Robert.

Candlish was educated at local Dissenter schools and then at an academy in North Shields before returning to Sunderland, aged eleven, to work in the bottleworks. Aged fourteen, his uncle secured him an apprenticeship as a draper and he began to study the French language and joined a debating society.[1]

Early career

In 1836, Candlish's commercial career began when he became a partner in a drapery business. He purchased the newspaper, Sunderland Beacon that year, but it failed within six months. Other short-lived ventures followed into coal exporting and shipbuilding in 1844. His yard at Southwick was said to have produced "fine ships" but made little profit. In 1851, he returned to publishing by founding Sunderland News and was a secretary at the Sunderland Gas Company.

Bottle works

A turning point came to Candlish's career in 1855 when he acquired the lease of Seaham Bottle Works at Seaham harbour with his childhood friend, Robert Greenwell. He later bought out his partner and patronage was given by nearby resident Frederick Stewart, 4th Marquess of Londonderry and the works renamed Londonderry Bottle Works, becoming the largest bottling business in Europe. Candlish purchased a site at Diamond Hall in Millfield and by 1872, had six glasshouses at Seaham and four at Diamond Hall.


In 1848, Candlish had been elected to Sunderland Borough Council and was mayor of the town in 1858 and 1861 and held other public offices as a river commissioner, magistrate, Chairman of the Board of Guardians and principal of the Orphan Asylum.

Candlish contested for one of Sunderland's two parliamentary seats at the 1865 general election but was defeated by Henry Fenwick and James Hartley.[2] Fenwick's resignation a year later brought success for Candlish in the subsequent by-election. He held the seat until he stood down from the House of Commons at the 1874 general election.[2]


In 1845, Candlish married his first cousin, Elizabeth (the daughter of his uncle, Robert). Their daughter, Elizabeth Penelope, later married politician William Shepherd Allen.

Death and legacy

Candlish undertook a parliamentary visit to India in 1870 (where he, incidentally, was presented with a bottle of beer manufactured by his own company), a trip which was blamed for the subsequent breakdown of his health. He died on 17 March 1874 in Cannes, France, and is buried in Sunderland Cemetery (Ryhope Road, Sunderland). In 1875, a statue of Candlish was unveiled in the centre of Mowbray Park and John Candlish Road, near his glassworks at Diamond Hall, is named after him.


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b Craig, F. W. S. (1989) [1977]. British parliamentary election results 1832–1885 (2nd ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. p. 296. ISBN 0-900178-26-4.
  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography – Candlish, John
  • Greenwell, Bill – A Fish In A Tree
  • [1]
  • Candlish Shipyard – Southwick Yard

External links

  • Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by John Candlish
  • Candlish Genealogy – Glensudi – Glensudi is owned by Benjamin Thomas Fearby O'Neill, descendant of John Candlish's brother, Robert
  • J & R Candlish Shipbuilding, Sunderland
  • Candlish Shipyard – Southwick Yard
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Henry Fenwick
and James Hartley
Member of Parliament for Sunderland
With: James Hartley 1865–1868
Edward Temperley Gourley 1868–1874
Succeeded by
Edward Temperley Gourley
and Sir Henry Havelock-Allan, Bt
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