Greenside House, Walter's birthplace

Walter Staniforth was born in 1842 at Hackenthorpe, Derbyshire. He was the son of Thomas Staniforth and Mary Jane Hard of Greenside House.

Thomas' father was a Sicklesmith who ran the family business, Thomas Staniforth's on Main Street, a business founded by Walter's great-great grandfather Thomas Staniforth in 1743.

On the 1851 Census 9 year old Walter is living with his parents and his siblings.

On the 1861 Census, at the age of 19 his occupation is listed as clerk, it is presumed that he was being employed at his father's firm as his brother Thomas, who would only live another couple of years is also described as a clerk.

In the Sheffield Independent dated November 26th 1870 Walter is mentioned in the Rotherham County Court listings:

Application for the remission of a fine. - At a previous sitting of this court a fine of 5 pound was impored on Mr. Walter Staniforth, sickle manufacturer of Hackenthorpe, for contemot of court, in neglecting to attend and produce certain books, a summons having been served for that purpose. Mr. Sagg now made application that the fine might be remitted contending that the summons was never served on Walter Staniforth, but had been thrust upon the father, and that the son had never seen the summons at all. The bailiff of the court stated that the summons was given to the father, and that after taking it up he threw it down. His honour said he was of opinion that Walter Staniforth had not received the summons, and he would, therefore, in this case remit the fine; at the same time he wished to remark that if a case came before him in which persons refused to attend in answer to summonses, and produce books as required, he should inflict not a 5 pound penalty, but the highest that the law allowed.

On the 1871 Census Walter is still living with his parents and siblings, however no occupation is noted.

On the 1881 Census, Walter is a lodger at the home of James and Elizabeth Gregory at Beighton. His occupation reads Commercial Clerk.

On the 26th July 1881, Walter married Harriet Hibbard at Laughton, Yorkshire. Harriett was the daughter of George Hibbard and Mary Humblebee, George's sister Hannah Hibbard married John Hibbard and had son John Hibbard who married Walter's sister LouisaHibbard. His sister Harriet Ann Staniforth married John's brother Rowland Hibbard.

This showed a strong family bond between the Hibbard and Staniforth families.

On the 1891 Census, Walter and his wife Harriett are living on Meetinghouse Lane at Woodhouse. His occupation is recorded as Mercantile Clerk. They have a daughter Ida Staniforth, born 1886. Ida would go onto marry Joseph Robert Rhodes Child before moving to Hertfordshire.

Walter's death was not a simple one, as it is reported in many newspapers that he committed suicide in front of his wife at their home at Woodhouse.

Thomas Staniforth & Co. Sickleworks in October 2017.

The Sheffield Evening Telegraph dated 16th November 1894 reports:


Mr. Walter Staniforth of Foley Place, Meetinghouse Lane, Handsworth Woodhouse who is well known in Sheffield and the district committed suicide under distressing circumstances this morning. Mr. Staniforth was the son of Mr. Thomas Staniforth, scythe and sickle manufacturer, Hackenthorpe, and for many years he assisted in the business of Messrs Thomas Staniforth and Company. Some time ago he severed his connection with the firm, and for the last few weeks was engaged as a traveller for Messrs J. Marples and Company, wine and spirit merchants, Sheffield. Though of a cheerful temperament generally, he was subject to fits of despondency, and gave way to drink. Recently while in his dark moods he hinted at self-destruction, and also used language to his wife and daughter which showed that he even meditated worse crimes. A lawsuit which was to come out at the next made him much worse, and it was evident to those around him that his mind was affected by his trouble, which he much exaggerated. Last night he talked of going to bed at seven O'clock, but did not retire until eleven O'clock. He slept alone, Mrs. Staniforth, who was not well, sleeping with her little daughter in an adjoining room. About two O'clock this morning Mrs. Staniforth was awakened by his rushing at her door and trying to open it, but in this he was prevented by the chain being fastened. She called out to him and he replied "Harriet, I am going to do it!" and hurried downstairs and went out. Mrs Staniforth proceeded to her bedroom window, and it being a bright moonlight night was able to see him distinctly. He was only dressed in his trousers, and walked deliberately up to the top of the garden, then bent his head down and comenced sawing at his throat. His wife alarmed Mrs. Hopewell, her next-door neighbour and asked her to send her sons to assist Mr. Staniforth. She remained in her own room, still fearful of harm to herself and child. Staniforth continued sawing at his throat and then fell to the ground. When the Hopewells got to him they found a fearful gash in his neck, and at once went for Dr. Scott. He arrived quickly but found life to be extinct. It was evident that the deceased had cut his jugular vein. Sergeant Dempster and Police constable Foggett were early on the scene, and assisted in the removal of the body. Close by it was the deceased's own razer with which he had made the wound.

This event was also noted in the Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser on November 17th 1894:


A suicide under distressing circumstances is reported from Handsworth Woodhouse, near Sheffield. Mr. Walter Staniforth, son of a scythe manufacturer had recently been despondent, but no hard was apprehended. Yesterday morning he woke his wife, and the, going into the garden, cut his throat before her eyes, the bright moonlight enabling her to be an agonized spectator of the tradedy. When help arrived, Mr. Staniforth was found to be dead, the jugular vein having been severed.

Walter's wife Harriet would go onto live another 16 years, passing away in Woodhouse in 1910.