The son of James Hardcastle of Firwood, Bolton-le-moors.
He was educated at Repton School, which he entered in January 1859 and left in December 1862, having been in the cricket eleven in 1861 and 1862.
On 9th to 11th July 1869 he played for the Gentlemen of Lancashire against the Gentlemen of Yorkshire at Old Trafford, scoring 31 and taking a catch. This was the match in which E.B.Rowley scored 219 and E.Whittaker 146 not out in Lancashire's mammoth total of 586. The match was inevitably drawn.
On 2nd and 3rd September he was selected to play for Lancashire against Yorkshire at Middlesborough, when he scored 3 in each innings. Yorkshire won by an innings and 40 runs. It is thought that Hardcastle was playing under the assumed name of J.Jackson in this match.
On the 5th to 7th September, at York, he again appeared for the Gentlemen of Lancashire, scoring 13 and 33 not out, opening the innings, in another drawn match.
Two years later, on the 12th and 13th July 1869, he played for the Gentlemen of Lancashire against the Gentlemen of Warwickshire at Warwick, opening the innings and scoring 18 and 7.
On the 19th and 20th July he played for Lancashire against the MCC and Ground at Lord's and on the 22nd and 23rd of July he played his third and last match for Lancashire, against Surrey at The Oval, scoring 0 and 9 and taking a catch.
At the time of the 1881 Census he was living at Firwood House, Tonge, Bolton, unmarried aged 36, a bleacher and colliery proprietor employing 400 people in his cotton activities, he has four domestic servants.
He was to marry in 1885 Ida Ross but she died in 1894 leaving five daughters.
From 1885 to 1892 he was the Member of Parliament for the Westhoughton divison of Lancashire and in 1896-96 was High Sheriff for the County of Lancashire.
He was the head of the firm of Thomas Hardcastle and Son, bleachers and dyers, established by his grandfather at Firwood, Bolton, in 1803. He was also the proprietor of the Breighttrust Colliery, near Bolton. From 1886 he was the President of the United Bleachers Association of Lancashire and Cheshire.
(Article: Copyright © 2004 Don Ambrose)
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