William Moorhouse was the fifth son of Thomas Moorhouse (1809-1845) and Martha and was born on 8th April 1843, when the family was renting Hesliker farm [now called Heslaker on modern maps] from The Tempest Estate.

After the death of his Father, Thomas in 1845, the family moved to The Bull Inn at Broughton, which they rented from The Tempest Estate. On the 1851 census William was living at The Bull with his Mother and is described as a scholar.

By 1861 William has moved to Skipton and is living with William Stockdale and his family. Mr Stockdale had taken over his father-in-law's grocery shop on Sheep Street and was employing William and another young man as apprentices.

William moved to Leeds sometime during the 1860's and went to work for a grocer called Ellison (probably a relative of his Mother Martha), who had a grocery and provision business on the Lowerhead Row in Leeds. William is recorded as living on the Lowerhead Row on the 1871 census working as a grocer.

It was while working, as an apprentice for Mr Ellison that William would visit farms on the outskirts of Leeds to solicit orders for groceries.  On a visit to a farm in Swillington he was invited to take tea with the family and introduced to a delicacy called "Lemon Cheese" that he had never heard of before. The farmer's wife explained that it was made from new laid eggs, fresh butter, sugar and lemons. William was so impressed with the Lemon Cheese that the farmer's wife provided him with the recipe. This incident happened sometime between 1870 and 1875.

On 24th June 1873 William Married Angiolina Porri at St Stephen's Church in Skipton.  William's brother James was one of the witnesses.  His Mother, Martha, died in December 1873 falling from a dog-cart.

William and Angiolina's first son James Ellison was born on 21 January 1874 at 43 Lowerhead Row in Leeds. The couple moved house to 4 Newton Terrace and their second son, Charles Innocent was born on 8th September 1875. Angiolina took her new baby and first son James to see her widowed sister Mary Jane Fattorini in Skipton James was taken ill and died on 24th October 1875 of pneumonia at Caroline Square (home of Mary Jane Fattorini) age 1 year and 9 months. He was buried At St. Stephen's Church in Skipton. William and Angiolina's third son Baldisaro was born on 22 February 1877 whilst they were still living at Newton Terrace.

The family moved house to 129 Park Lane and William started his own grocery business there, at which address he also made Lemon Cheese to sell over the counter. It was a very popular product and he started to makes supplies for other grocers. Two more sons were born while the family was living at Park Lane, Joseph on 11th May 1881 and Thomas Leo on 11th June 1884.
The production of Lemon Cheese had grown so much that William decided to close his grocery business in about 1887 and he moved to 30 Alexandra Road in Burley where his last two sons William Edward (21 July 1887) and Francis (19th August 1889) were born.

He started the Moorhouse Business by making Lemon Cheese and the allied products of Orange Marmalade and Mincemeat. The demand for the products from the Moorhouse company grew and in 1889 they moved to 6, Lofthouse Place, Carlton Hill which was a larger house with stables and warehouse at the back.

By 1893 the business was supporting William, Angiolina and three of the older sons. Mr Laxton, a business associate of Williams recalled visiting the house in about 1895 and seeing Angiolina cutting out by hand from greaseproof paper the discs, which in those days were placed on the surface of the jars of Lemon Cheese to prevent evaporation and crystallization after packing. There were also two or three hired hands to help production.

At the First Grocers' Exhibition held in Leeds, William had a stand displaying his products and he won a Diploma of Merit for the high quality of his Lemon Cheese. Additional premises were taken in Camp Road and after two years they took a larger premises at Proctors Place off Meanwood Road.

Angiolina died 22 March 1908, at Lofthouse Place, of cancer of the liver. She was aged 55 years. She is buried at Killingbeck cemetery (Roman Catholic cemetery) on York Road in Leeds.

On the 1911 census William is living at 6 Lofthouse Place with 5 of his sons and a housekeeper.

In 1913 William signed a partnership agreement with his sons Thomas Leo and Joseph that created the company William Moorhouse and sons.


William died on 15th April 1917 of cancer of the oesophagus, and was buried with Angiolina at Killingbeck cemetery. In his Will he divided his assets between his five surviving sons and the widow and children of his eldest son Charles who had predeceased him that year.

The will specified that Baldisaro's money should be put in trust for him.   This was probably due to the fact that Baldisaro was very small and maybe William was worried that he wouldn't be able to look after himself and also that his life expectancy was poor.

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Biographies/William Moorhouse