Henry Tate, the son of a clergyman was born in Chorley, Lancashire on 11th March 1819. When he was thirteen he moved to Liverpool and soon afterwards became an apprentice to a grocer. An ambitious young man, Tate owned his own shop by the time he was twenty. Over the next fifteen years he accumulated five more shops.
In 1859 Tate sold his shops and became a partner in a sugar refining company. Ten years later he obtained total control and changed the name of the company to Henry Tate & Sons. In 1872 Tate patented a new method of cutting sugar cubes. He built a new sugar refinery in Liverpool and over the next few years his business expanded very quickly.
Tate gave generously to charity. He founded the University Library at Liverpool and gave the nation the Tate Gallery, which was opened in 1897, and contained his own private collection of paintings.
Henry Tate died on 5th December, 1899.