A VICTORIAN philanthropist, who supported hospitals and almhouses in his native Colne after becoming a leading jam-maker, has been remembered in a new book.

Sir William ‘Pickles’ Hartley never forgot his roots in Pendle after building factories across the UK to manufacture his world-famous preserves and jellies.

And his great-great grandson Nicholas Hartley is not allowing his illustrious ancestor's memory to fade with Bittersweet, a just-published biography of the Colne-born businessman.

A spokesman for his publishers Amberley said: “William Hartley was an enlightened entrepreneur who married a beguiling vision of commercial progress with an unalterable belief in the essential goodness of human nature.”

Sir William, whose family had traded as grocers for many years in East Lancashire and erected Wycoller Hall, died aged 76 in 1922.

In later life he also constructed a model village for his workforce at Aintree, near Liverpool.

He was a staunch Primitive Methodist and as well as aiding overseas missionary work he secured Holborn Town Hall in London as the movement’s headquarters.

Sir William is best known in Colne for being a major benefactor of Hartley Hospital, in Keighley Road, and Hartley Homes, former almshouses for the poor on the border with Laneshawbridge.

In 1995 campaigners fought to safeguard the legacy of the former hospital, as the plans to turn it into a nursing home were discussed, and they enlisted the Bittersweet author’s help.

He became the first Hartley to tour the hospital as Sir William never made it to Colne to visit the wards he endowed. It would eventually become a retirement village.

The Hartley's brand is today owned by UK and Irish giant Premier Foods and the name is still attached to a wide range of jams, preserves and jellies.