James Burton (1784–1868) was the mid-19th century owner of several cotton mills in Tyldesley and Hindsford. Born in Clitheroe, Lancashire, he moved to Tildsley Banks in 1828, where he entered into partnership with John and Richard Jones at Tyldesley New Mill. The brothers were more interested in silk weaving, and moved to Bedford, Leigh. By 1838 Burton owned many properties in the west end of the town, where he lived in Charles Street, and in Hindsford across the Hindsford Brook. In 1845 his firm was named Burton, Chippendale and Company but that partnership was subsequently dissolved.
Burton’s company, James Burton & Sons, was the biggest mill-owning business in the area in the middle of the 19th century. Burton built a cluster of cotton mills in Hindsford starting with Atherton Mill in 1839, followed by Lodge Mill in 1853, Field Mill in 1856, and Westfield Mill in 1860, all of which were supplied with water by the Hindsford Brook.
Politically, Burton was a Liberal. He represented Tyldesley on the Board of Guardians of the Leigh Poor Law Union
Leigh Poor Law Union was established on 26 January 1837 in accordance with the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834. The union covered the townships of Astley, Atherton, Bedford, Pennington, Tyldesley with Shakerley and Westleigh all in the ancient parish of Leigh plus Culcheth, Lowton and part of Winwick. . He died in 1868 and is buried in St George’sA Waterloo church dedicated to St George completed in 1825 to serve the growing township of Tyldesley cum Shakerley. churchyard.
After his death, his sons, Oliver and Fred continued the business. A fire at the mills caused £15,000 damage in November 1883. In 1891 Burton’s mills had 157,196 spindles and 570 looms. The mills were stripped of machinery and were demolished in 1926.