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Brooke family

Cotton millers of Manchester & Bollington

[page in continuing development]

Joseph Brooke was in partnership with Martin Swindells I spinning cotton at various mills in Bollington, and in the construction and operation of Clarence mill.

After the death in 1843 of Martin Swindells I, Joseph Brooke and his first wife, Anne Swindells (daughter of Martin I), moved into the recently completed Limefield House, behind Clarence mill.

Emma Frances Brooke 1844 – 1926

Emma was the sixth child, third daughter, of Joseph Brooke and Anne Swindells. She became a member of the first intake on the opening of Newnham College, the first women only college at Cambridge University. This education undoubtedly had a significant influence on her future as she became a writer, socialist promoter and social activist, a Fabian and feminist.

Emma was a popular Victorian and Edwardian novelist with titles such as: Sir Elyot of the WoodsA Superfluous WomanThe House of RobershayeThe Engrafted RoseThe Confession Of Stephen WhapshareSusan Wooed And Susan Won.

She also used a nom de plume, E Fairfax Byrrne. Note same initials as her own name; Byrrne, though not this spelling, is the Scottish word for a brook.

In 1888 Emma published an article entitled Women and their Sphere. This presaged the book, A Superfluous Woman1, which, while becoming a best selling New Woman novel in the 1890s, caused outrage among critics, being denounced as “an immoral tale”. The book has been edited with an introduction and notes by researcher Barbara Tilley, and re-published in 2017. Available from Amazon.

Emma also took notes from a conversation with her uncle, George Swindells, in April 1885. These are available in full on another page. Emma’s family tree page.

Emma was unmarried and lived to age 81 in Weybridge, Surrey UK.

I am indebted to Barbara Tilley, Ph.D., Visiting Assistant Professor, DePaul University, Chicago, IL 60202, who has made, and continues with, extensive research into Emma Brooke’s life. A biography is planned for publication.

Edward Hugh Brooke 1916 – 2002

Edward Hugh Brooke of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, passed away at the Peter Lougheed Hospital on Friday 1st November 2002 at the age of 85 years. Edward was a farmer, a chemical engineer, an Olympic athlete and an accomplished painter. He was the son of the late Hugh Brooke and Inez Brooke neé Forel of Didsbury, Alberta, and brother of Stanley and Cyril. His beloved older sister Evelyn Trusler neé Brooke passed away just hours before, so that he followed her in death, as in life.

I am indebted to Lillian Randall neé Brooke for this obituary.


  1. Barbara Tilley, editor, 2017. See flyer.


Our thanks go to those who researched and discovered the history that is presented in these pages. Please read the full acknowledgement of their remarkable achievement. Unless otherwise noted, the historical pictures are from the Civic Society picture collection at the  Discovery Centre  and also available online.

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