The Sheffield and Hallamshire Bank, George's place of Employment

George Wild Staniforth was born on the 28th of August, 1858 to George Staniforth and Harriet Wild. He was baptised at the Sheffield Parish Church on February 6th, 1861.

His Father George was a Merchants Clerk, the son of a Pen Knife Cutler, George Staniforth Sr. and Ann White.

On the 1861 Census, the family are residing at 301 Glossop Road, Sheffield, George Staniforth, the head of the household, is a 35 year old Merchants Clerk, his wife Harriet is 34. There are three children in the home, Harriet Ann Staniforth, aged 4, George Wild Staniforth, aged 2 and Arthur White Staniforth, also aged 4. There is also a House Servant, Alice Sunderland, aged 20 from Dodworth.

On the 1871 Census, the family have relocated to Northumberland Road, George is now 45, still working as a Merchant’s Clerk, and the family remains unchanged, the three children are now at school, and the old House Servant has been replaced by 15 year old Selina Hall from Thorne

On the 1881 Census, the family are still at Northumberland Road, at house 18. George is now described as a Cashier at a Cutler Factory, George Wild Staniforth is now a 22 year old Bankers Clerk and his brother Arthur White Staniforth is working at a Steel Manufacturers. The Servant has now been replaced with Mary A. Sandall, a 16 year old Sheffield woman.

A Newspaper article dated April 11, 1882 shows the family almost lost their lives:

Shocking Carriage Accident in Derbyshire

Two Killed and Several Injured

A most serious carriage accident occurred yesterday, on the Froggatt Edge road, some few miles from Sheffield. A party of nine ladies and gentlemen left Sheffield in a carriage and pair early in the morning for the purpose of spending the day in Derbyshire. Their ultimate destination was Tideswell, and the route selected was by Froggatt Edge and Middleton Dale – one of the most charming drives which can be easily accomplished from Sheffield in a day. The party consisted of Mr. George Staniforth, of 18 Northumberland Road and Mrs. Staniforth; their daughter, Miss Staniforth, and two sons, Mr George Staniforth and Mr. Arthur Staniforth; Mrs. J. F. Littlewood, of Taptonville, and her son Mr. B. D Littlewood, with Miss Mary Coke Smith and Mdlle, Julien, of the Misses Boalers’ School, Broomgrove Road. All went well until about 10.15 am, when the party were within less than a hundred yards of the Grouse Inn, situate some two miles from Fox House. Here the descent to Froggatt Edge is abrupt and the party was proceeding at a moderate pace, the horses being well in hand. A traction engine was observed to be in front, but as it was on the proper side, and the horses did not appear to be alarmed, there was no unusual anxiety on account of its proximity. The engine, which belonged to Mr. Sheard, of Dronfield, was dragging two wagon-loads of coal. There were three people in charge of it – the driver, the “steerer” whose duty it is to keep the engine on the right track, and a man walking in front with a red flag. As the party neared the traction engine they noticed, it is stated, that the engine was crossing the road as if making for the inn. The driver shouted to the men in charge, and Mr. Arthur Staniforth, who was seated on the box, gave a similar warning. The carriage was now too close upon the engine to draw up, and a collision ensued – the carriage being “pinned” between the engine and the bank, which at this spot rises to a height of some six or eight feet. The horses, which up to this time had been quiet enough, were startled by the unexpected rupture, and attempting to climb the bank, dragged the near wheels after them, and upset the carriage, throwing all the occupants violently against the engine and on to the road. The driver was upset in front of the engine, but, although he had a very bad fall and was considerably bruised, he promptly picked himself up and looked after the horses. Mr./ Staniforth Se, saved himself somewhat by falling on his elbow, Mddle Julien was close to him, with her left leg jammed in the wheel. That lady, on being picked up and placed on the bank by Mr. Staniforth, exclaimed “My Leg is broke;” which afterwards proved to be the case. Mrs./ Staniforth, Mrs. Littlewood, and Mr. Arthur Staniforth were also bruised and shaken, the latter having been thrown violently from the box, and in addition to bruises on his face being hurt in the hip. Mr. B. D Littlewood lay prostrate against the engine his face and the side of his head fearfully cut, and blood flowing profusely. He was picked up and placed on the bank, but death had taken place, and must indeed have been almost instantaneous. Not far from him lay the body of Miss M. C Smith, from whose nostrils blood was streaming. She was not quite so badly cut and bruised as Mr. Littlewood, but it was evident that her internal injuries were of the most serious character. Indeed beyond what seemed to be two very heavy sighs, she never gave any further signs of animation, and her dead body in a few moments was placed side by side with that of the unfortunate young gentlemen on the bank. The medical gentlemen who afterwards examined the bodies expressed the opinion that death was caused by the terrible force of the fall and the awful shock they received. The poor young lady was subsequently ascertained to have been very severely crushed in the chest and side. The dead bodies were carried to the neighbouring inn, and the injured persons were also assisted there. In about an hour’s time there were three doctors in attendance – Dr. Fentem, Eyam; Mr Taylor, Hathersage; and Mr E. M Wrench, Baslow. The horses were uninjured, and all the damage done to the carriage was the breaking of the splashboard and the smashing of a lamp – facts which would go to prove that the horses had not been restive or unmanageable.

By 1891, the family are residing at Western Bank, Nether Hallam, Sheffield. George is now a 65 year old Cashier, Harriet is 64 and all three children are still living at home, George Wild Staniforth is still working as a Banker’s Clerk, and Arthur White Staniforth has taken after his father, working as a Merchants Clerk.

The Family are still living at 304, Western Bank by the time of the 1901 Census, George is still working as a Cashier at the age of 75, George Wild Staniforth is now a 42 year old Bank Sub Manager and his sister Harriet Ann is still in the home, aged 42. Arthur White Staniforth is notably absent; however, there is a 40 year old Arthur Staniforth listed as a visitor at a house in Lismore, County Waterford, Ireland, he is noted as being a Commercial Dealer from England. He is also listed as not married

A Newspaper article dated December 27, 1902 gives more insight into George’s work location:

Bank Clerk’s Tragic Death

Remarkable Document

As Fireman Bainbridge was exercising horses in Fulwood, Sheffield, yesterday morning, he discovered the body of a man in a lonely, exposed lane, known as Bents Green Road. The body was lying against a wall, wet through. There were no marks of violence, and apparently the man had been out all night in the wind and rain, and had perished from exposure. The body was removed to the mortuary. There seems no room for doubt that the dead man was a clerk in the Sheffield and Hallamshire Bank, Church street named Alfred John Swift, who lived at 133, Gell Street. A letter giving instructions to a friend as to how to proceed after his death was found on the body. The letter is signed “Alfred John Swift, at present in apartments at 133, Gell Street, Sheffield.”

The Letter Begins –

“Instructions to my friend George Wild Staniforth, the Sheffield and Hallamshire Bank Limited, Sheffield, who is my sole executor, to be carried out by him after my decease.”

Mr Staniforth it should be mentioned is the sub manager of the bank.

The letter continues:-

“It is my wish to be interned in our family grave at Norton Cemetery.” Swift gives the name of an undertaker whom he wishes to be asked to “prepare a plain but good coffin, the coffin plate to bear a plain inscription:

Alfred John Swift

Born 21st October 1851

Entered into rest…..

“It is also my wish that the said G. W Staniforth, A. T Wright of the Inland Revenue Office, and two other friends who may desire to do so may attend my funeral.

“It is also my wish that there be no memorial cards, wreaths, or flowers, but that information of my decease be sent to Mr. Clarke, Ash Cottage, Chesterfield Road, Staveley, Chesterfield: Mr. H. W. Hancock, Rushley, Dore; and Mrs. Alcock, The Cedars, Mansfield.

My Will will be found in my cash box”

Other letters and papers found in the possession of the deceased confirm the belief in his identity. From one envelope he appears to have been a member of the Reform Club, and another paper shows that he was connected with the Junior Liberal Association. As to how he came to be at Fulwood nothing is known. He was a small man, of delicate health, and had recently had to be medically attended more than once, as doctors’ bills and prescriptions show.

On the 1911 Census, both George and Harriett have passed away, George was buried at Christ Church, Fulwood on March 6, 1905 and Harriet followed on October 16, 1909. The three children are however still living at the family home at 304 Western Bank, Harriet is the head, with no occupation listed, George Wild Staniforth is still working as a Bank Sub Manager at the age of 52, and Arthur White Staniforth is back in the house, recorded as being a 50 year old Commercial Traveller

George Wild Staniforth is mentioned in a Sheffield Independent article dated June 10, 1914:

A Sheffield Will

Mr J Manuel's Legacies for the Hospitals

The will of the late Mr. John Manuel, of 22 Collegiate Crescent, Sheffield, who died on 9 April, has been proved in the Principal Probate registry by the executors, Messrs, Charles Frederick Brindley, Charles Herbert Moss, George Wild Staniforth, the gross estate being sword at 43,306, and the net personality at 42,594.

The testator makes a number of specific and pecuniary bequests to his widow, sisters, and other relativism and bequeaths 100 to the Artists' General Benevolent Institution, 100 to the Sheffield Royal Infirmary, 100 to the Sheffield Royal Hospital, 100 to the Jessop Hospital for Women, and 100 to the Sheffield children’s hospital, all the legacies being free of duty.

The residue of his estate is bequeathed upon trust for relatives

Arthur White Staniforth died on July 30th, 1917, his probate describes him as still living at 304 Western-Bank, Sheffield, however he died at The Imperial Hotel, Birmingham, likely while travelling for business. He left his wealth to his brother George Wild Staniforth, sub-manager.

Another article mentions George Wild Staniforth in the Sheffield Independent dated May 10th 1937:

Cutlery Records for Museum

Gifts of Former Sheffield Citizen

A member of an old Sheffield family has presented some useful old books to the Sheffield City Museum, Weston Park.

He is Mr G. W Staniforth of Thetford, Norfolk, who lived in Sheffield until his retirement from a position with the Midland Bank, Church street, some years ago.

His gift consists of a number of volumes which will prove very helpful in the identification of Sheffield cutlery of the 18th Century

Mr J. W Baggaley, director of the museum says the books will be very useful. The museum has a fine collection of Sheffield cutlery representing many periods and the books will help in placing pieces that have not yet been identified.

On the 1939 Register, George Wild Staniforth is living with his sister Harriet Ann Staniforth at Kings House, Thetford, George is described as being a retired Bank Sub Manager, and Harriet is living on her own means.

Harriet Ann died June 1st 1944 at Briar Bank Nursing Home, Thetford, she leaves her effects to her brother George Wild Staniforth.

GW Staniforth Bowls Club

George Wild Staniforth died January 1947 at The Kings House, Thetford, he left £191892 12s 2d. Probate was made to Arthur Frank Richardson, retired bank official, George Richard Blaydon, town clerk and Stanley George Brown, Valuer.

In the Daily Mirror dated November 11, 1949, we find further mention of George

Mr S. leaves £77,000 to a town

No one paid much attention when George Staniforth retired from his managership of a bank in Sheffield and went to live in Thetford, Norfolk.

For Twenty Years he lived the life of an elderly bachelor.

Then on January 4, 1949 George Staniforth Died.

Now the Town Council has learned he has left the town his fortune of 77,000 and with it 8,000 books and his house for use as a council office.

Thetford’s town clerk, Mr George Blaydon, said yesterday that Mr. Staniforth expressed the wish that a building be found to house his collection of books and animals.

So as soon as the council offices are moved to Mr. Staniforth’s house, the old offices are to be turned into a library and museum.

The income from Mr. Staniforth’s legacy about 1,800 a year “cannot be used for relief of the rates” said Mr. Blaydon.

Today, the GW Staniforth Trust still exists in Thetford, actively involved in maintaining King’s House, the former home of George Wild Staniforth. The Local Tennis and Bowls clubs are both named after him, and a local school was named after him for decades following his death. The School, although now under a new name, still stands on Staniforth Road, Thetford.