Charles Edward Cawley

architect and engineer M.P.
Place of Birth

  • Born      7 February 1812, Middleton near Manchester
  • Married: 1843 Harriett Motley, the third daughter of George Motley of Sturton House, Nottinghamshire
  • Died : Monday 2 April 1877 at Heath House, Vine Street, Kersal
  • Burial : St Paul’s Church, Kersal Moor, Salford

Charles Edward Cawley was a civil engineer and architect; Conservative MP for Salford 1868‑77; well‑known Evangelical and Tory Radical. Born at Gooden House, Heywood, the son of Samuel Cawley, agent for the Hopwood Estates and educated at Middleton Grammar School where he excelled in mathematics and mechanical studies. He initially assisted his father, gaining experience in colliery working but in 1837, during the construction of the Manchester and Leeds Railway, which passed through the Hopwood estates, he was invited by George Stephenson and Thomas Longridge Gooch to supervise the construction of several miles of the railway at the Manchester end. On completion of this line, Cawley commenced business as a civil engineer in Manchester until he was appointed engineer to the Manchester, Bury and Rossendale Railway, later the East Lancashire Railway, with T L Gooch acting as consultant engineer. Among the works for which he was responsible was the Clifton Viaduct (Thirteen Arches) and the various intermediate stations. In 1844 he was involved in plans for further expansion of the line northwards to Accrington, and thence to Blackburn, and Colne. Cawley became a member of the Institute of Civil Engineers in 1846. About this time opened an office in King Street Manchester and was afterwards chiefly involved in railway, water and sanitary works in different parts of the country, including waterworks at Buxton and Windermere.

In the early 1850's Cawley busied himself in a number of Evangelical causes and about this time his career in local government also began. When Broughton became part of the Borough of Salford he was one of the first councillors elected.  In 1868 he was elected Conservative MP for Salford and again in the next election.

He was Canon Bardsley’s churchwarden at St Ann’s and later Rev W H McGrath’s churchwarden at St Paul’s Church, Kersal Moor.  Along with Robert Gladstone, he was one of those who promoted the building of the new church in order to persuade McGrath, to come as its first incumbent.  He succeeded Robert Gladstone as President of the Manchester Church Association.

In 1843 Cawley married Harriett Motley, the third daughter of George Motley of Sturton House, Nottinghamshire by whom he had two children. His son Charles Edward Cawley junior, born 17 October 1845, died while an undergraduate at Cambridge on 5 April 1865.  His first child, Mary Selina Cawley born 21 July 1843 married James Chapman, a Manchester yarn merchant and is buried in a plot close to her father.

Cawley died suddenly, possibly from typhoid and his funeral was a semi‑public occasion, attended by representatives of the various bodies with which he was associated. A detachment of Salford Borough Police led the funeral procession from his home “”The Heath" in Vine Street, to St Paul’s Church where the service was conducted by the Bishop of Manchester.

For details of Cawley,s political career see R L Greenall: The Making of Victorian Salford pp134‑149

1842-1844 : 90 King Street Manchester
Oct 1846 : 13 Princess Street, Manchester
1849-1853 : Charles Edward Cawley 41 John Dalton Street
1854-1863 : Cawley & Radford civil engineers and architects 41 John Dalton Street
1866 : Cawley and Newton 41 John Dalton Street Manchester (Manchester Guardian)
1869 : Cawley and Newton. Carlton Buildings, 17 Cooper Street Manchester (Manchester Guardian)
1876 : Cawley Newton & Smith. civil engineers surveyors and valuers Carlton Buildings. 17 Cooper Street, Manchester

1850-1853 : Park Terrace Great Clowes Street, Higher Broughton
1863-1877 : C E Cawley civil engineer, "The Heath," Vine Street,Kersal, Salford



Name Designation Formed Dissolved Location
Cawley and Newton civil engineers architects 1866 1877 Manchester
Cawley and Radford civil engineers architects 1853 1865 Manchester