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John Candlish (bapt. 28 April 1816 – 17 March 1874) was a Britishmarker glass bottle manufacturer and politician.

Early life

Candlish was born in Tarsetmarker, Northumberlandmarker, the eldest son of John Candlish, a farmer, and his wife, Mary, née Robson. On the death of his wife in 1820, Candlish senior moved the family to Sunderlandmarker where the latter found work at Ayres Quay bottleworks, managed by his brother, Robert.

Candlish was educated at local Dissenter schools and then at an academy in North Shieldsmarker before returning to Sunderland, aged eleven, to work in the bottleworks. Aged fourteen, his uncle secured him an apprenticeship as a draper and he began to study the French language and joined a debating society.

Early career

In 1836, Candlish's commercial career began when he became a partner in a drapery business. He purchased the newspaper, Sunderland Beacon that year, but it failed within six months. Other short-lived ventures followed into coal exporting and shipbuilding in 1844. His yard at Southwickmarker was said to have produced "fine ships" but made little profit. In 1851, he returned to publishing by founding Sunderland News and was a secretary at the Sunderland Gas Company.

Bottle works

A turning point came to Candlish's career in 1855 when he acquired the lease of Seaham Bottle Works at Seahammarker harbour with his childhood friend, Robert Greenwell. He later bought out his partner and patronage was given by nearby resident Frederick Stewart, 4th Marquess of Londonderry and the works renamed Londonderry Bottle Works, becoming the largest bottling business in Europe. Candlish purchased a site at Diamond Hall in Millfieldmarker and by 1872, had six glasshouses at Seaham and four at Diamond Hall.


In 1848, Candlish had been elected to Sunderland Borough Councilmarker and was mayor of the town in 1858 and 1861 and held other public offices as a river commissioner, magistrate, Chairman of the Board of Guardians and principal of the Orphan Asylum.

Candlish contested for one of Sunderland's two parliamentary seats in 1865 but was defeated by Henry Fenwick and James Hartley. Fenwick's resignation a year later brought success for Candlish in the subsequent by-election and he held the seat until 1874.


In 1845, Candlish married his first cousin, Elizabeth (the daughter of his uncle, Robert). Their daughter, Elizabeth Penelope, later married politician William Shepherd Allen.

Death and legacy

Candlish undertook a parliamentary visit to India in 1870 (where he, incidentally, was presented with a bottle of beer manufactured by his own company), a trip which was blamed for the subsequent breakdown of his health. He died on 17 March 1874 in Cannesmarker, Francemarker, and is buried in Sunderland. In 1875, a statue of Candlish was unveiled in the centre of Mowbray Parkmarker and John Candlish Road, near his glassworks at Diamond Hall, is named after him.


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