Background and early life
John Gilbert Crompton was born on 29 December 1819 in Chesterfield. He was the second of seven children born to Gilbert Crompton of Durant Hall and his wife Deborah Catherine Bosley.
He was educated at Rugby School and Trinity College, Cambridge.
In 1846 John Gilbert Crompton joined the family-owned private bank Crompton, Newton & Co of Chesterfield. This bank had been established in Chesterfield in 1808 as an offshoot of Crompton & Co of Derby, which itself had been established around 1685 by John Gilbert Crompton's ancestor Abraham Crompton. The two banks remained closely associated with each other, and by the time John Gilbert Crompton joined the firm, they appear to have been operating as one bank, with Derby as head office and Chesterfield as a branch. John Gilbert Crompton moved to the Derby office in 1855, presumably because he was taking on increased responsibility for leadership of the bank as a whole.
Under his leadership in 1877 the two Crompton banks merged with W & S Evans & Co to form Crompton & Evans' Union Bank Ltd. Crompton became chairman of the new bank. The new bank thrived, with a very successful strategy of expansion and acquisition. By 1890 it had 13 branches, and by 1913, 47.
John Gilbert Crompton retired in 1913 at the age of 93. The bank's annual statement that year declared 'The Directors cannot allow Mr Crompton's retirement to pass without placing on record their appreciation of the untiring energy displayed by him in conducting the affairs of the Bank, and of the very valuable services he has rendered to it as Chairman from the year 1877, when the Company was incorporated, down to the present time.'
In 1846, at the age of 27, he was elected to the Town Council of Chesterfield. He also served as Mayor of Chesterfield, as his uncle and Grandfather had done before him.
Following his move to Derby in 1855 he was elected to Derby Town Council. He served terms as Mayor of Derby and High Sheriff of Derbyshire. He was also a magistrate for the borough of Derby and a town alderman.
Other roles and interests
He was a keen and influential agriculturalist, active in the development of Derbyshire Agricultural Society and the Dairy Farmers Association. He is jointly credited with introducing to Britain the factory style system of cheese making.
He was Captain Commandant of the Derby Chaddesden Hussars, founded by his uncle John Bell Crompton. He was also chairman of the Stanton Iron Works, a company which was founded around 1846 and acquired by the Crompton family in 1858.
He was interested in archaeology, and served as the vice president of the Derbyshire Archaeological Society.
In 1852 John Gilbert Crompton married Millicent Ursula Smedley. They had one daughter, Isabelle Emma Crompton. Millicent died in 1859.
Six years later, he married Caroline Georgiana Chaplin. They had two children together; John Gilbert Frederick Crompton and Millicent Evelyn Cecilia Crompton.
Death and legacy
John Gilbert Crompton died on 29 November 1913, a month before his 94th birthday.
At the time of his funeral, all branches of Crompton & Evans Union Bank closed as a mark of respect. So many people attended the funeral that they could not all fit into the church, and a crowd of hundreds witnessed his interment. A newspaper report of the occasion declared that 'seldom has a more solemn or impressive scene been witnessed in Derbyshire'.