42.0 – James, Sarah, Hannah, John, Susannah and Ada Hardman

Dr. James Hardman’s name might not immediately jump out as an important name in the history of Todmorden – probably because it isn’t Fielden, Ingham, Lord, Sutcliffe etc. – but in terms of involvement, his 86 years included many of the town’s most formative, and he was either known to be or was probably present at so many important moments that his grave deserves to be reassembled and restored. Quite apart from its impressiveness!

Some brief facts about Dr. Hardman:

  • for decades he was the certifying surgeon appointed under the Factories Act, attending all working pepole who were injured while on the job
  • the first Treasurer and a founding member of the Todmorden Political Union, which eventually formed into the first urban district council (later the town council)
  • an advocate for the Reform Act which extended the vote to more men – he was one of only six Political Union members who had the vote prior to the Act being passed in 1842
  • for over 60 years a practicing doctor and surgeon in Todmorden – no small feat in those days!
  • known for his expertise and willingness to treat anyone in need who was in danger of dying if not attended to properly
  • spent his final day seeing patients at home after needing days of persuading to stop making house calls while he felt unwell
Dr. James Hardman

His obituary talks about his wit and encyclopaedic knowledge of local history and information about Todmorden’s residents and mentions that he is being buried with his late wife (Sarah) at the parish church, in the memorial already pictured. The spire on this grave is one of the only monuments which can be seen in any older photograph of the graveyard – even when the bushes at the border are at their lushest, the “pineapple” at the top remains visible.

Also already buried here was Hannah and John, two of James and Sarah’s children, both of whom predeceased them. Susannah died in 1905 and an inquest was held into her death, Ada being one of the witnesses called – the finding was of dropsy and heart disease. Susannah is described by several as quite stubborn and unwilling to be bothered with seeing a doctor or slowing down (sound familiar?). Ada was the final Hardman to go into this vault, passing away in 1918. Amazingly she was NOT the final Hardman child to pass away! That was Angelina Hardman Midgley, her sister who she left most of her estate to. Angelina died in 1921 and is buried with her husband and family at 37.4.

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