- Born : April? 1810. Atherton, Lancashire.
- Died : 7 May 1872 Higher Broughton.
James Speakman was born in Atherton, near Leigh, Lancashire in 1810 (Census) and died at his residence, Broom Lane Cottage, Higher Broughton, on 7 May 1872 (Manchester Guardian). No details of his early education or training have been found. He appears in the 1847 and 1850 Directories as the proprietor of livery stables in Clarence Street, Manchester, presumably inherited upon the death of his wife's father. (The 1851 census appears to read "Proprietor of horses"). About this time he undoubtedly came into sufficient money to move his family from Manchester to what was at the time the outermost northern suburb, kept suitably select through covenants and chief rents by the Clowes family of Broughton Hall. He remained at Broom Lane Cottage from about 1848 until his death
James Speakman first appears as an architect in the Trades section of the 1855 Directory.(Whellan's Directory of 1853 notes his home address but gives no occupation, - however the completeness of this directory has been found suspect) and was working as a sole principal in April 1856 (Manchester Guardian). The partnership with Charlesworth was formed by 1858 (Post Office Directory). The partnership is noted as having submitted designs for the Manchester Assize Courts competition, won by Waterhouse (1859) and the architects for St. Catherine’s Church, Collyhurst Road, Manchester (The Builder 1859: 766.). Speakman & Charlesworth also had a branch office at Blackpool.
Perhaps their most important project was the warehouse, built for Sam Mendell in Chepstow Street, Manchester. The warehouse was illustrated in the Builder in April 1874, the architects being given as Speakman Son & Hickson, successors to the practice of Speakman & Charlesworth. However, the building was designed and substantially complete by the time of Speakman's death in 1872 and was therefore probably designed in the period 1869-1871 when Walter Wood Robertson was employed as assistant. The Builder also notes the supplier of the cast iron columns as Bellhouse & Company (qv) and the boilers and hydraulic presses as Naysmyth Wilson & Co of Patricroft (James Naysmyth the ex-patriot Scot of steam hammer fame).
Following the death of Charlesworth in 1871, James Speakman continued the practice in partnership with his son Thomas as Speakman & Son but died in 1872. Thomas maintained this name following the death of his father (Manchester Guardian and Builder February 1873), but the practice became Speakman Son & Hickson when John Hickson joined Thomas Speakman in partnership sometime between February and September 1873 (Builder 13 September 1873 Page 725). This partnership survived only a few years. The 1877-8 directory has separate entries for Hickson, still at 28 St Ann Street Manchester and Thomas Speakman at Hanover Chambers, King Street Manchester
1847 James Speakman, livery stable keeper 1 Clarence Street, Manchester (Slater)
1847 Exors of Eml Alderson. Livery Stable keepers. Clarence Street Manchester
1851 James Speakman Livery stable 4 Clarence Street, Princess Street. - House Higher Broughton
1855 James Speakman, architect, 61, Cross Street
1856 James Speakman, architect, 61 Cross Street (Manchester Guardian)
1858 Speakman & Charlesworth 61, Cross Street (Post Office Directory)
1861 Speakman & Charlesworth, architects, 61 Cross Street, Manchester (Slaters)
1863 Speakman & Charlesworth, architects 3 Princess Street Manchester (Slaters)
1851-1871 Broom Lane Cottage, Broom Lane, Higher Broughton (Census)