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Little is known of Williamsonís early life. He is thought to have been born in Warrington in 1769 and moved to Liverpool at about 11 years of age to seek his fortune. He found work with the tobacco firm of Richard Tate and having risen through the ranks, and become a successful businessman in his own right, married the bossís daughter, Elizabeth, in 1802.

The Williamson Tunnels consist of a labyrinth of tunnels in the Edge Hill area of Liverpool, England, which were built under the direction of the eccentric businessman Joseph Williamson. For many years it was thought that Joseph Williamson was born in Warrington, However, research by staff and volunteers of the Williamson Tunnels Heritage Centre has shown that he was born in Yorkshire and that his father was a glassmaker in a small village near Barnsley, At an early age, his family moved to Warrington. In 1780, when he was aged 11, he left his family and went to where he was employed in the tobacco and snuff business of Richard Tate. He gained promotion within the business and also developed his own merchant's business in partnership with Joseph Leigh. Forum Index -> Liverpool and Merseyside History & Nostalgia
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