French, Gilbert James (1804 -1866)
Gilbert James French was the son of James French and Janet Meikle. He was born in Edinburgh, where his father is said to have been a manufacturer. Apprenticed to a draper, he migrated firstly to Sheffield and then to Bolton in Lancashire, where he settled and developed the manufacture of the textiles worn by clergymen, and used in the services of the church. He wrote a number of works of literary and antiquarian interest including a life of Samuel Crompton. He was a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, President of Bolton's Mechanics Institution, and promoted the establishment of Bolton Free Library.