James Hacking was born at Oswaldtwistle in 1861; the family later moved to Knuzden Brook near Blackburn where James, between the ages of seven and thirteen, worked in the warehouse of a nearby mill. His early introduction to the textile industry served him well – by the age of thirty he had worked his way to the position of manager of two large mills in the area and in 1895 he became a manufacturer. By 1901 he was the owner of two mills: Lockgate Mill in Haslingden and Doris Mill in Heywood and it was during this time that he moved to Bury. Well respected as both a businessman and benevolent employer he was elected to the Town Council in 1912.
In as little as 12 months James had become Mayor of the borough. His term of office began on November 9th 1913 and continued on through the war years up until November 1919. The fact that the borough recognised a need for this continuity during the upheaval of war is testimony to James Hacking’s extraordinary dedication to the role. His war efforts included involvement in the Prince of Wales’ Fund, the Local Relief Fund, the Red Cross Fund, the Belgian Relief Fund and the Belgian Refugees’ Fund. He was also active in Bury’s army recruitment drive and contributed to raising the two Bantam Battalions (for men under 5 ” 3 in) of the Lancashire Fusiliers.
James Hacking was granted Honorary Freedom of the borough on the 2nd August 1917 and less than 12 months later his services received national recognition when he was knighted by King George V at Buckingham Palace.
After leaving Bury, Sir James and Lady Hacking moved to Poulton Le Fylde and later on he bought Clifton Hall in Preston where he lived until his death in 1929.
Bury Times, 1929. Death of Sir James Hacking: Ex-Mayor and Honorary Freeman of Bury. The Bury Times, 1st June, p 12.
The commemorative seals and scroll will soon be on show in the archive search room to mark the Armistice and centenary of the ending of WW1.