Darnall Hall

There are many stories that have been passed down through the various lines of the Staniforth family over the years, and perhaps one of the most humorous and intriguing is the tale of Samuel Staniforth of Darnall Hall, and his umbrella. This particular tale was published by Frances Margery Hext in her 1860 publication Staniforthiana, she writes:

It is worth mentioning that the first umbrella ever seen in Sheffield was brought there by Mr. Samuel Staniforth. Unfortunately the date of its first exhibition has not been kept, but a droll story connected with it will never be forgotten in the family.

The umbrella was given by Mr. Samuel Staniforth to his servant to take to his sister’s, Mrs. J.T Younge, who lived in Union Street. On the way the man showed it to some friends, and willing to gratify their curiosity he opened it, easily enough, as he had seen his master do it; but when all were satisfied and he wished to close it, he found he had only learned half his lesson, and after many unsuccessful attempts, equally afraid of damaging the umbrella and of “trapping his fingers” as he himself expressed it, the man was obliged at last to set off for Mrs. Younge’s with the umbrella open, though the day was very fine. The novelty of the article soon attracted a crowd of idlers of all ages, some expressing curiosity, others entertaining themselves and those around by their facetious remarks. He hastened on to Mrs. Younge’s but his troubles were not ended when he arrived at her house, for the expanded umbrella could not be got through the door, and every unsuccessful attempt only served to increase the rather noisy amusement of the crowd. The indignant astonishment of the precise Mrs. Younge cannot be described. She sent Mr. Younge, in haste, to extricate the now penitent delinquent from his embarrassment and dismiss the entertained multitude, which was quickly done, the umbrella safely lowered and quietness restored.

You can read more about Samuel Staniforth in our Darnall Hall article here