Dear Jon - looks like we have a common ancestor. Walter's son Rowland Ellis France was my Grandfather. Rowland was born in 1889, and died on the 17th April 1934. He and my grandmother (Mary Ida) lived in Ravenscar Yorkshire (she died on March 29th 1967).
Based on the 1881 Census for Thornhill, Walter (then age 24) lived with his parents Edwin (age 54) and Harriet (48) and his sister Mary E (26). There address was Savile Terrace, Thornhill. By the 1901 Census for Thornhill, Harriett (then 66) is listed as a widow, in the household of her son-in-law Joe Talbot (43) an iron-mongery bookeeper, and her daughter Mary E Talbot (45), their sons Arthur (10) and George E (8) Their address was Oakdene, Savile Town, Thornhill (on the outskirts of Dewsbury.
Based on what my grandmother told me Walter was Mayor of Dewsbury. He is listed as Mayor for 1915, 1916, 1917 and 1918.
In the 1901 census for thornhill Walter is listed as a Carpet Manufacturer of Worsted and Yarn Spinner (Employer). I am not sure that this is connected to James France and Company.
In Pigot's Directory for Dewsbury in 1829. A "Spring Mill" is listed as belonging to Smith and France (at Westgate End).
In Pigot's Directory for 1834 Smith and France are listed as Carpet and Rug Manufacturers in School Lane.
In Whites Directory for 1837 Jas France is listed as a carpet Manufacturer at School Close. There was also a Jno France, listed as a shopkeeper at Northgate, but no indication if he was related.
There are record for James France and Co Ltd, Woolen and Worsted Manufacturers, Dewsbury Records (1902-1971) Ref KC56 in the West Yorkshire Archive Sources, Kirklees, A2a Catalogues (www.a2a.org.uk
). I have not seen these so cannot comment on the content.
I would be interested to know your connection with Walter, and any information you may have about the Frances of Dewsbury,