Sir Thomas Potter, First Mayor of Manchester

William Bradley, 1801 - 1857

Sir Thomas Potter, First Mayor of Manchester

William Bradley 1801 - 1857


A bald headed man looking right. His left hand is resting on a stone plinth. Sir Thomas Potter (1774-1845) was a wealthy cotton merchant and Liberal politician. He was a partner in the family firm William, Thomas and Richard Potter from 1803 based at their warehouse at 5 Cannon Street, the largest of its type in Manchester. The Potter family were Unitarians who attended Cross Street Chapel, Manchester. In 1815, Potter was a founder member of the first Little Circle, set up to address the unfair representation of people in Parliament in the rapidly expanding industrial towns in the north of England. The Little Circle group met in a back room at Potter's business premises on Cannon Street, referred to as the 'plotting parlour'. In 1820 Potter helped to found the Manchester Chamber of Commerce. In 1821 he was co-founder of the liberal newspaper the Manchester Guardian. Following the Municipal Corporations Act in 1835 Potter was elected to the Manchester Borough Council. He became the first Mayor of Manchester from 1838 to 1840 after which he was granted his knighthood. He commissioned the architect Sir Charles Barry in 1825 to design for him a house - Buile Hill Hall in Buile Hill Park, Salford, built 1825-1827.

Object Name

Sir Thomas Potter, First Mayor of Manchester

Creators Name

William Bradley

Date Created



support: 42.9cm x 35.4cm

accession number


Place of creation

United Kingdom






Transferred from the Horsfall Museum Collection, 1918


© Manchester Art Gallery

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