Return to Robert Stevenson (1905-1986) – a biography

Hugh Hunter Stevenson (1837-1915)

Robert’s father, Hugh Hunter Stevenson, was born in 1837 in Nottingham and died in 1915 in London. His mother was Clementina Louise Johnson born in 1870. The couple married in Somerset in 1903. It was Hugh’s second marriage.
From the census records it is possible to trace the outlines of Hugh’s life. By 1851 – when he was 14 – his family lived in Derby and Hugh was an apprentice printer. The youngest child of six who survived to that date – he had five older sisters.
By 1861 he was lodging in Chorlton Upon Medlock, (now inner city Manchester) with the Fox family and was described as a pattern card maker. Another lodger was Jane Shipley – a flower maker – who was to become his wife early in 1864.
Hugh and Jane (born in 1836) had eight children (six sons and two daughters) between 1865 and 1877. By 1871 the couple had five children and employed two servants – it seems fair to suppose that Hugh’s business interests were flourishing.
In 1881 the family was living at New Holme, Whalley Road, Moss Side, Manchester. Hugh was described as a “Fancy Box Maker” employing over 80 people (mostly women). Records show that Hugh Stevenson and Sons Ltd was a paper box-making business started in 1859 at Great Marlborough Street, Manchester (though the first son was not born until 1865). For twenty-eight years it traded locally until, in 1887, it expanded to incorporate more staff and a more accomplished method of production. This expansion also saw the enlargement of the Manchester premises quickly followed by the opening of branches in London (with works at Summerstown, Wandsworth), Perth and Birmingham, and of Agencies in most of the large Colonial centres. In 1898, the business was incorporated as a private limited company and in 1900 became the proprietors of the Corruganza Manufacturing Co. Of Hugh’s sons at least two were involved in the business – Arthur William (born 1865) and Albert Hugh (born 1869).
In 1901 Hugh was living at Lefton House, Arthog Road, Hale in the household of Edward Johnson (a chartered accountant) and his wife Mabel. Jane probably died in 1898. The youngest son was 24 by then and presumably all the children were leading independent lives.