Samuel John Stanley

Blacksmith in Birmingham

John was the youngest of a small family, unusual in Victorian days and I've yet to discover exactly why. Born in Ladywood, Birmingham in 1866 the son of Samuel Stanley and Mary (nee Gee). His father was a blacksmith and John followed him into this trade, although on his marriage certificate he is shown specifically as a nut & bolt maker. John married Sarah Selina Denver in 1889 at Christchurch, Summerfield, Birmingham. For more details on the Denver family see here.

Initially the couple lived in Peel Street and shortly afterwards in Upper Thomas Street, Aston, where they had eight children.

  • Francis John (1891 - aft 1932)
    Very well known blacksmith, did most of the dray horses in and around Birmingham.
    Married Elsie
    Then married Wright

  • Gertrude Rena (1893 - aft 1940)
    Married Herbert Leonard Abbot, 8 children
    We know that one of these eight children, Irene Abbot, married and had children

  • Wilfred Henry (1895 - 1945)
    Motor mechanic
    Married Ada Eaton, lived in Kidderminster

  • Harold (1896 - aft 1931)
    POW during the First World War
    Married Margaret Maud

  • Ella (1899 - aft 1917)
    Married Samuel Wright, lived in Luton
    They had at least one son, Leonard, probably born in Luton

  • Albert Edwin (1891 - 1981)
    Electrical engineer
    Married Irene Bond
    The couple had two children, Albert William & Ann Doreen.
    Both children married and have living descendants

  • Nora (1902 - 1943)
    Married Leonard Porter.
    They had two children, Barbara & Leonard

  • Horace Barnsley (1907 - 1940)
    Married Edith Willmott
    My grandparents

John had his own forge at the bottom of his garden. He died in 1931 from tuberculosis, buried in Handsworth cemetery.

An interesting aspect of the family was the fact that they were all good swimmers. Harold swam at Victoria Road baths in Aston, Birmingham, Warwickshire. His brother Albert was a diver at the same place. Harold allegedly won every race he swam and accumulated many cups & trophies, none of which remain in the family today. The theory is that maybe the council have them stached away in some secret vault, but we will probably never find out.

Incidentally Horace's eldest brother Frank was for a while at least a blacksmith which makes him the last of an unbroken line of at least seven generations of blacksmiths, possibly more.

We are in contact with decendants of Albert but surprisingly have had no contact at all with any other descendants of the above. If you are out there we’d love to hear from you.