Friday, 15 April 2011

Henry Darby 1816-1893 and Ellen Haywood 1822-1908

Henry Darby was born on 5 Oct 1816 at Meriden St, Birmingham, Warwickshire, England, and christened at St Martin's in the Bull Ring, Birmingham on 5 May 1817. He was the son of locksmith Edward Darby and Ann Hobday.

Ellen Haywood was born on 7 July 1822 at Masshouse Lane, Birmingham, and christened on 3 September at St Philip's Church, Birmingham. Her parents were William Haywood and Ellen Perry.

On 9 June 1840 Henry and Ellen married at Handsworth Parish Church near Birmingham.  By this time Henry was working as a master saw maker, a trade he continued throughout his life, and the newly-weds settled at premises in Freeman Street, Birmingham.  Their first four children were all born at Freeman Street, an address the family would return to later.

They moved to Aston, where in 1851, the census shows Henry with one son, his mother-in-law and a servant.  Ellen was visiting family in Walsall. By now, Henry was employing an apprentice.  Further children were born in Aston, including the last, William James, in 1857.  In 1861, the family were living in Adelaide Street.  Henry's business was growing – he employed “1 man and 2 boys”, at premises in Freeman Street.  In 1871 they were still in Aston, but by 1881 Henry and Ellen, now with only one son living with them, had returned to Freeman Street.  In 1891 Henry and Ellen are listed on the census with William James, his wife, and 7 children living with them (possibly as William had only recently returned to Birmingham).

Henry died on 18 March 1893 aged 76. Ellen outlived him by 15 years, and also outlived all of her children, eventually dying on 11 September 1908 in Birmingham.

Henry and Ellen's children were:

Charles 1842-1866
Henry 1844-1873
Emma 1846-1864
Elizabeth 1848-1849
Edward 1850-1900
Mary Ann 1852-1876
William James 1857-1903


  1. That's a really nice little story Rebecca - and especially the fact that Ellen outlived all of her children.


  2. I blundered onto this site while researching the history of one of my handsaws, which has the sawmaker's name "H DARBY" stamped onto the blade.
    You'll be happy to know there is one of Henry's old saws here in Ontario, still in workable condition after about 150 years
    (I wondered about the slight possibility its location here is connected with W H Darby, who lived in Ontario just before WW1 )


  3. Hi Rob,

    Thanks for the comment. I think it's likely that the saw did arrive with WH Darby - William Henry was Henry Darby's grandson, and he emigrated first to Chicago and then to Fort William. WH Darby joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force in 1915, and was killed at Ypres in 1917. His wife had returned to England in 1914 with their children (including my grandfather), so I guess William left his tools behind, assuming he'd pick them up when he returned.

    I'm not aware of any of Henry's saws surviving over here - certainly there's nothing in the family. It's lovely to know that something Henry made is still around. Could you email me a photo of the saw? My email address is rahudson.sunderland[at]gmail[dot]com