This is probably a good point to pause the Walmsley stories. Josh’s biography has come to an end. There is an up-dated version of the children of Joshua Walmsley posted fairly recently. If you haven’t seen it, it’s here. The only remaining thing to do is some faces to put to the names. By rights there should be at least one portrait of Adeline, and probably more of the girls, but they have yet to be unearthed.
CHAPTER XV. This is mostly 1845. George Hudson (1800-1871) was an English railway financier and politician who, because he controlled a significant part of the railway network in the 1840s, became known as “The Railway King”. Eventually in 1849, a series of enquiries launched by the railways he was chairman of, exposed his methods, and it was established that he was essentially running a Ponzi scheme paying dividends from capital. He had been elected M.P for Sunderland in 1845, and so was immune from arrest for debts. He become bankrupt in 1853, and after losing his Sunderland seat in 1859, he fled abroad to avoid arrest for debt, returning only when imprisonment for debt was abolished in 1870. General Narvaez was the Prime Minister of Spain. Sir Joseph Paxton was the head gardener at Chatsworth House, so close to Stephenson at Tapton House; he also designed the Crystal Palace, and was the M.P for Coventry for eleven years.
At this time the railway mania was at its height, and a company was formed to construct a line from Madrid to the Bay of Biscay. George Hudson was to be chairman. Sir Joshua travelled to Spain to inquire personally into details, and his report was unfavourable. This occasioned great discontent ; but it was only when George Stephenson offered to accompany him on a second voyage, and gratuitously give two months of his time, in order to survey the most difficult parts of the line, that Sir Joshua consented to a second journey. [This was the early autumn of 1845]
” Stephenson,” he writes, ” was a wonderful travelling companion. We travelled in an open barouche, and his keen eye was ever on the alert. Though abounding with difficulties, Stephenson asserted that they could be overcome, while at the same time he fully justified my refusal to deposit the caution- money. On reaching Madrid, Stephenson dictated one of those lucid reports he excelled in, setting forth the obstacles and consequent heavy cost, at the same time showing the importance of the line, and making stipulations in favour of the Anglo-Spanish Company. “
” Several interviews took place with General Narvaez, but all ended in a great show of politeness, great speeches, and nothing else. A bull-fight was organised in our honour ; but at last, to bring matters to a point, I notified that Mr. Stephenson and I would wait a week longer for the reply of the Government, and in the name of the English company refused to enter further into the scheme until our terms were agreed to. “
The week elapsed and still no answer came, so the travellers set their faces homewards. They took the more easterly direction and crossed the higher range of the Pyrenees, travelling, as they came, in the open barouche. ” The old man,” says Sir Joshua, ” usually sat with a map spread over his knees, and a pencil in his hand with which he marked down very accurately the villages as we passed. He enjoyed pointing out on the map the exact spot on which we were standing. “
” One day, after a weary ascent of several hours, during which Stephenson had marked out our route with pencil dots, he looked up and said : ‘ Walmsley, we’ll reach the summit in ten minutes now.’ ‘Nay, we’ve passed it already, we’re going down,’ I answered. “
” This reply was almost too much for the old man’s equanimity, always easily ruffled at contradiction. ‘You know nothing about it; it will take us ten minutes to reach the summit, I tell you,’ he said testily. After a short silence he threw down the map. ‘The map is all wrong,’ he growled. ‘ Nay, it was I who was wrong,’ he added, correcting himself a minute after. ‘ How did you know we were going down that time ? ‘ ‘While you were buried in your map I caught sight of a stream, and we were going down with it,’ I answered, laughing ; the old man joined in the laugh. ‘ Better look at nature than all the maps. You’ve beaten the old engineer for once,’ quoth he. “
” Another day the Spanish muleteers were urging their mules to a tremendous pace. ‘ No machinery could stand this pull,’ said Stephenson, and turning to our interpreter requested him to tell the driver to moderate his speed. The muleteers grinned in answer ; they evidently enjoyed what they took to be a token of the fright of the Englishmen, they therefore lashed and urged on their mules to go faster still. ‘ Another can play at the same game,’ said Stephenson, with the sense of fun that often made him seem but a boy in years ; and standing up he clapped his hands and he hallooed, evidently bent upon making the mules go faster and yet faster still. The muleteers were astonished ; the Englishmen after all were not frightened, and so they abated the speed and performed the rest of their journey at a reasonable trot.”
The travellers’ way now lay across France, and in this part of their journey occurred the two following incidents. ” We crossed on foot, “ says Sir Joshua, ” the chain-bridge suspended over the Dordogne. ‘Let us go over it again,’ said Stephenson, when we had reached the other side. Accordingly over it again we went, the ‘ old man ‘ walking very slowly with head bent down, as if he were listening to and pondering over every step he took. ‘ The bridge is unsafe, it will give way at the first heavy trial it meets with,’ he said, decisively, at last ‘We had better warn the authorities, your name will carry weight,’ I replied. We went to the mayor, we were politely received, and we related the object of our visit. The mayor shrugged his shoulders with polite incredulity ; he assured us that the engineer who had built the bridge was an able man. Stephenson urged his warning, supporting the interpreter’s words with gestures and rough diagrams drawn on the spot. Still the French official shrugged his shoulders, looked incredulous, and finally bowed us out. “
Only a few months later Stephenson’s warning came true. A regiment of soldiers crossed the bridge without breaking step, the faulty structure gave way, and scores of men in heavy marching order were hurled down into the eddies of the rapid river below, where many were drowned before means of rescue could reach them.
” Another day we passed by a French line in process of construction ; the navvies were digging and removing the soil in wheelbarrows. Stephenson remarked that they were doing their work slowly and untidily. ‘ Their posture is all wrong,’ he cried; jumping out of the carriage with the natural instinct that impelled him to be always giving or receiving instruction, he took up a spade, excavated the soil and filled a wheelbarrow in half the time it took any one of the men to do it. Then further to illustrate that in the posture of the body lies half the secret of its power, he laid hold of a hammer and mallet, and poising his figure, he threw it at an immense distance before him; challenging by gestures the workmen, who had now gathered round him, and were curiously watching him, to do the same, but they one and all failed to equal the feat. The interpreter explained the lesson to the navvies, and told them who their teacher was. ‘ Ste-vim-son ! ‘ the name went from mouth to mouth. The intelligent appreciative Frenchmen gathered close around him and broke into vociferous cheers, such as I thought could only proceed from British lungs, until the echoes rang around us on every side. “
” Pressing engagements were calling us home, and we journeyed continually day and night. The fatigue and irregular hours began to tell upon the old man’s health ; by the time we reached Paris, symptoms of severe indisposition had set in. I was anxious to get him home as soon as possible, but Stephenson consented to remain a day in Paris, to avail himself of the invitation of Mr. Brassey, Mr. Mackenzie, and others to a dinner given in his honour. The next morning a special train was ready to convey us to Havre ; Stephenson was very ill, but he persisted in travelling onwards. By the time we had reached Havre, unmistakable symptoms of pleurisy had declared themselves. I got him on board, and sent for a surgeon, who bled him profusely. There is little doubt this prompt action saved his life. On reaching London, next morning, I took him to the Arundel Hotel, Haymarket, where for six weeks he remained confined to his bed. I now became his nurse and sole attendant. “
” During the first part of the time, no one else was allowed near the sick man. Stephenson’s active temperament could ill brook the inaction to which he was now condemned, and he fretted against the precautions enjoined upon him. The activity of his mind remained wholly unimpaired by the sufferings of his body, and he kept pondering over his schemes. As soon as he was able, he insisted upon dictating aloud. I was his amanuensis, and was amazed at the clearness and vigour of his intellect, at the just views he entertained, not only on railway matters, but of the characters of public men. Remembering his lack of learning, the happy illustrations he used often surprised me, as well as the correctness of his style, that seldom needed alteration in word or phrase. “
” What became of these papers I never could make out. Stephenson took possession of them, but they have not been given to the public. One treatise was devoted to the elaboration of a favourite scheme of his, for constructing a mineral or a goods train line of rail from the Derbyshire coal-fields to London. Coals and heavy goods alone were to be carried on this line. The idea originated with Mr. Charles Binns, secretary to Mr. Stephenson, and the present able manager of the Clay Cross Colliery.[Hugh neglects to mention that he was also Josh’s son-in-law, and his own brother-in-law] He had written a book upon the subject, that attracted much attention at the time. Stephenson had taken up the idea ; his arguments in its favour were strong, and in this treatise he enforced them with some eloquence. He pointed out how collisions would necessarily be avoided by the separation of the passenger and goods trains at the outset. That such an arrangement must ultimately be adopted, Stephenson was convinced ; and he advised that the construction of the goods train should go on simultaneously with that of the passenger line. I entered heartily into the plan, but in an evil hour it all fell to the ground. “
” Another paper, “ says Sir Joshua, ” dictated by Stephenson during his illness was devoted to the arguing out of his original proposal, that Government should construct and hold the Grand Trunk lines of rail through the country. He pointed out all the jobbery that would have been avoided had this plan been adopted from the first, and he fearlessly showed up the deplorable mismanagement that had occurred in railway direction. He painted George Hudson’s portrait with such keen discriminating touches, that I was amazed at the fidelity and delicacy of the delineation. At this time the railway king was at the zenith of his power, courted and toadied by the aristocracy. Stephenson predicted his speedy downfall No one appreciated more than he did the pluck, the strong will, and business capacity of Mr. Hudson ; qualities that had lifted him from his small draper’s shop in York to the place of arbiter of the fortunes of millions in England ; but that no eminence can long be held by unprincipled means, was a tenet too firmly held by the ‘ old man ‘ to allow him to be swayed or blinded by the railway king’s position. Another treatise he dictated to me was in vehement opposition to the proposed atmospheric railway. He was very positive in his condemnation of the scheme. It is told that one day, when a nobleman, a zealous advocate of atmospheric railways, said to him : ‘ Mr. Stephenson, you are a very able man, but you are not strong enough for the atmospheric system.’ With characteristic fierceness, the ‘ old man ‘ seized him by the collar and expelled him from the house. Those papers also contained some valuable observations on the steam-plough, and the heaving up of coal by machinery, in both of which experiments Stephenson believed. “
” When Stephenson’s report was laid before the board of directors, the scheme for an Anglo-Spanish railway was abandoned, and the line of conduct I had adopted in the first instance was justified. The subscribed capital, minus incurred expenses, was ultimately returned to the shareholders. So persuaded however, was Mr. Stephenson that the railway was practicable, and that when achieved it would prove of the highest importance to the Spanish nation, that he again tendered his services gratuitously as consulting engineer to the Spanish Government, should it resolve upon constructing the line during his lifetime. ”
A few more details, gathered from the notes before us, and the record of Sir Joshua’s and Mr. Stephenson’s friendship closes for ever. In them we see the latter at Tapton House, surrounded by his dogs, his horses, and his cows. His enjoyment of country life remained to the end, keen as in his boyhood. ” He was very proud of his vines, melons, and pine-apples,” says Sir Joshua, ” in the cultivation of which he would only admit Sir Joseph Paxton for rival.” Before this hale and vigorous old age many years seemed still to be stretching.
In January, 1848, Mr. Stephenson married for the third time. The marriage was contracted without Mr. Robert Stephenson’s knowledge, and it caused some ill-feeling between him and his father. Sir Joshua Walmsley became the mediator between the two. Letters before us, of a nature too delicate and private for publication, show the tact and zeal with which he pursued his self-imposed task. No one understood better than he the strong affection that bound the father and son. Mr. Robert Stephenson has said that he never had but two loves in his life, his wife and his father; and this only son was the chief pride of the old man’s heart
Suddenly, on the 10th of August of this same year , Stephenson died. A chest complaint carried him off at the age of sixty-eight, before any of the many sources of interest and enjoyment of life had begun to fail him. His son was with him— his faithful and tender nurse to the last during this illness.
Two days before the great engineer’s death came the news that the House of Lords had passed the bill for the railway from Ambergate to Manchester. Stephenson gave a feeble cheer at the tidings. He had long struggled to obtain the passing of this Act.
On Thursday, the 15th, Mr. Stephenson was buried in Trinity churchyard, Chesterfield. Mr. Robert Stephenson wrote to Sir Joshua : ” I am desirous that the funeral should be as private as possible, attended only by a few of his pupils, who like myself have been dependent upon him for our professional success. “ There was, therefore, no large gathering of mourners at the house, but the mayor and corporation of Chesterfield met the cortege on its way. A file of carriages and a train of three hundred persons followed the hearse, that was bearing to its last resting- place the body of one revered by all for the greatness of his services, and very dear to those who had known him intimately. ” He ought to be lying in Westminster Abbey, and not in a country churchyard, “ Sir Joshua often said.
This post seems to be getting rather more interest, and it is probably time to re-visit and revise it. It was published almost two years ago at the start of the whole thing. The original information came from a website called http://www.researchers.plus.com which is now, I think, rather moribund. Some of the information was a useful spur, some was a distraction, and some just needs more verification before it can be taken as solid fact. So this is a recent update and addition to the original from November 2016.
So lets start with some basics. Joshua Walmsley married Adeline Mulleneux at St. James’ church in Toxteth on the 24th June 1815, six days after the battle of Waterloo. They had eight children, five girls and three boys.
Elizabeth Walmsley b. 1817 – d. bef 1861
Joshua Walmsley II b. 1819 – d. 1872
Hugh Mulleneux Walmsley b. 1822 – d. 1881
Adeline Walmsley b 1824 – d. 1842 – died aged 18.
James Mulleneux Walmsley b. 1826 – d. 1867
Emily Walmsley b. 1830 – 1919
Mary Walmsley b. 1832 – d. bef.1851
Adah Walmsley b. 1839 – 1876
The eldest child, Elizabeth married Charles Binns (1815 – 1887) in 1839. Charles was the son of Jonathan Binns, a Liverpool-born land agent and surveyor living in Lancaster. The Binns were a fairly prominent Quaker family; Jonathan Binns was a Poor Law commissioner who did a survey of Ireland in 1835 and 1836 which was both insightful, and rather heart-breaking. His father Dr Jonathan Binns was an early slavery abolitionist, and later headmaster of the Quaker boarding school at Ackworth in Yorkshire. Charles was George Stephenson’s private secretary, and later manager of the coal mines and ironworks at Clay Cross, Derbyshire, which had been established by George Stephenson, and of which Sir Joshua Walmsley was a co-owner and director. The family connection with Clay Cross continued for almost a hundred years. Charles and Elizabeth had four children, all girls; but Elizabeth seems to have died in the early 1850s. Charles remarried in 1871, and died in 1887. Emily Rachel Binns, Elizabeth and Charles’s youngest daughter married Samuel Rickman. Her first cousin Adah Russell, the daughter of Adah Williams [neé Walmsley] had married Charles Russell who was a prominent London solicitor, the son of the Lord Chief Justice, and the brother and uncle of two more Law Lords.
Much less is known about Sir Joshua’s eldest son Joshua Walmsley II (1819-1872). He seems to have joined the Army, attaining the rank of captain. He lived in southern Africa for many years and served as a border agent in Natal on the Zulu frontier. He crops up as a peripheral character in some of the accounts of the British dealings with the Zulus, particularly the Battle of Ndondakasuka – 1856, and he employed a very strange man called John Dunn as a translator in his dealings with the Zulus. In the aftermath of the battle, the young Zulu King Cetshwayo was so impressed by the equally youthful John Dunn’s conduct in the midst of Zulu internecine clan bloodletting, that he invited the Scot [Dunn] to become his secretary and diplomatic adviser. Cetshwayo rewarded Dunn with traditional gifts of a chieftainship, land, cattle and two Zulu virgins to be his wives. This last gift greatly upset Catherine, Dunn’s 15-year-old mixed-race wife. But it did not deter him from taking at least another 46 Zulu wives. By some unofficial accounts, Dunn fathered 131 children by 65 wives, though his will records only 49 wives and 117 offspring. Catherine retained the title of “Great Wife”, giving her the privilege of being the only wife allowed to enter his presence unannounced. How, and why he [Joshua] went to South Africa is still unknown, but the Army, and then colonial service, was probably regarded as a step up from trade. It may well also have helped escape the shadow of his father.
He was buried at St Mary’s, Edge Hill [the same cemetery as his brothers, sisters, parents, and a large numbers of the Mulleneux family including his maternal grandparents] in Liverpool on 14th December 1872, having died at “Chantilly, Zulu Frontier, in South Africa” on 20th April the same year. He left his widow £2,000, so a fairly respectable amount of money.
Hugh Mulleneux Walmsley (1822-1882) also joined the Army. He served time with the 25th Bengal Native Infantry, and then volunteered to join the Bashi Bazouks, which was a semi-mercenary Ottoman force – the name literally translates as “crazy-heads”. The Bashi Bazouks mainly recruited Albanians, Bulgarians, and Kurds, and had a reputation for bravery, savagery and indiscipline. They weren’t salaried and relied on looting for pay. In due course he rose to the Ottoman rank of colonel, and described himself as such in the 1871 census ” Ret. Colonel Ottoman Ind. Corps, late 65th Foot [ie. a British regiment]”. So it doesn’t appear to be something he was ashamed of. On his return to England sometime in the 1850s he started to write. The books included several describing his own military service, a biography of his late father and also some adventure novels including The Ruined Cities of Zulu Land based on Josh junior’s travels. He married Angelina Skey (b 1826) in 1870 and moved to Hampshire close to his parents. He too was buried at St Mary’s, Edge Hill in Liverpool, along with large numbers of the family, on 12th December 1881. His burial record states he died at ” St. André “ in France, which could be any one of thirty-plus places.
The next child is another Adeline Walmsley (1824-1842), this is the second daughter born in 1824, in Liverpool. All the children are named either after their parents or grandparents, or other family members. Elizabeth is easy, named after both their mothers, this Adeline was named after her own mother. Joshua II, Hugh, and James are named after father, grandfather, and uncle respectively. There is very little to be known about this Adeline, she appears on the 1841 census when the family have moved out of Liverpool to Wavertree Hall, then in a country village outside the city. Her death is recorded in the autumn of 1842 in Staffordshire, just as the family had moved to Ranton Hall in Staffordshire
James Mulleneux Walmsley (1826-1867), by contrast to his brothers became a civil engineer.James aged 15 is shown at home at Wavertree Hall in 1841. In the 1851 census, he was lodging and working in Derbyshire. He was at Egstow House, very close to Clay Cross, suggesting he was involved with the family mining and ironworks business. His brother-in-law Charles Binns [Elizabeth’s husband] and family were already there living at Clay Cross Hall about a mile away. Ten years later, he is living with his parents, and two youngest sisters at Wolverton Park, in Hampshire. He died on December 6th, 1867 aged 41 and was buried on December 12th with his sisters [Adeline, and Mary] at St Mary’s, Edge Hill. He died in Torquay. James was unmarried, and his addresses for probate were given as 101 Westbourne Terrace, and also Wolverton Park, Hampshire, both his father’s houses, and “latterly of Torquay, Devon”. Probate was granted to his father’s executors because Sir Josh was the “Universal Legatee”. It wasn’t granted until 1874, about three years after Sir Josh’s death in 1871. James left a fairly respectable £2,000.
Emily (1830 -1919) the third daughter, in contrast to James lived until almost 90, and was a widow for almost forty years. She was the second wife of William Ballantyne Hodgson (1815-1880), who was a Scottish educational reformer and political economist, even though he spent more of his time working in England. In 1839, Hodgson was employed at the new Mechanics’ Institution (later Liverpool Institute) just before Sir Joshua became mayor, and went on to become its Principal. He married Emily in 1863 and they mostly lived in London till Hodgson was appointed the first Professor of Political Economy in Edinburgh University in 1871. After he died in 1880, Emily stayed on in Edinburgh with their children, it’s not entirely sure how many. The Dictionary of National Biography says two sons and two daughters, however I can only find Alexander Ireland Hodgson (1874-1958) and Lucy Walmsley Hodgson (1867-1931)
The youngest daughter Adah (b 1839) married a Welsh banker, William Williams, in 1866. They went to live in Merionethshire and had at least two daughters. Adah possibly died as early as 1876. Their daughter Adah Adeline Walmsley Williams (1867–1959) married Charles Russell in 1889. Charles Russell was a solicitor who worked for the Marquis of Queensbury during his libel case with Oscar Wilde. Charles Russell’s father was Lord Chief Justice between 1894 and 1900. The first Catholic to hold the office for centuries. Charles Russell was made a baronet in 1916, and then got the K.C.V.O in 1921, so I suppose that technically he was Sir Sir Charles, and Adah was Lady Russell twice over. Charles’ baronetcy was inherited by their nephew Alec Russell because he [Charles] had arranged a special remainder allowing it to be inherited by male heirs of his father. A nicely lawyerly touch given that he and Adah had a daughter, and by the time he was made a baronet it was extremely unlikely they would have a son. Adah was 49 at the time. But even better, because their daughter Monica married her cousin Alec, she, Monica, became Lady Russell as well because her husband inherited her father’s baronetcy
Gwendoline Walmsley Williams, her sister, married Denis Kane in 1897. He was an Army officer; the wedding was ” hastened owing to Mr. Kane’s being ordered to join his regiment at once in the Tirah Field Force on the Indian frontier. ” He survived that but died about a year later playing polo in India.
I came across a paper entitled ” The Binns Family Of Liverpool And The Binns Collection In The Liverpool Public Library By Eveline B. Saxton, M.A., A.L.A. ” which was published as part of the ” Transactions Of The Historic Society Of Lancashire And Cheshire Vol. CXI.For The Year 1959 “. Miss Saxton seems to have been, at one time, the Assistant-in-charge of the Local History Department, Liverpool Public Libraries. She was also a long-serving member of the Council of the Lancashire and Cheshire Historic Society. One gets the feeling that there is probably rather more to her that that brief description implies.
Miss Saxton throws up almost as many questions as she answers in her paper, she starts:
” All students of Liverpool local history will be acquainted with the most interesting collection of maps, views of old Liverpool and Lancashire, and portraits of old Lancashire worthies in the Liverpool Record Office, which goes by the name of the Binns Collection, and is contained partly in thirty five elephant folio volumes and partly in a number of very large boxes. The originator of the collection was a Liverpool Quaker named Thomas Binns, and it is a remarkable fact that though he was born in Liverpool and belonged to a family esteemed and respected in the town in both public and private life for over a hundred years, when he died in 1842 so little was known of his origin that the prominent Liverpool paper, the Albion, described him as having been born in Ireland. “
” It is yet more remarkable that, in spite of two other important Liverpool papers stating that he was born in Liverpool, his Irish birth was accepted as the true version and the error perpetuated in an article in the Lancaster Guardian of 8 April 1911. He was in fact born in Church Street, where his father had lived for over five years, on 24 November 1771, and his name appears in the register of births for the Quarterly Meeting of Lancashire.”
“In 1932 a letter arrived at the Liverpool Reference Library from a Mr. George Binns, a solicitor in Lancaster, who had seen the reference to this Thomas Binns from Ireland in the Lancaster paper, and wrote to refute the statement. He expressed a desire to inspect the Binns Collection on a coming visit to Liverpool, and later not only sent to the Library all the data he could collect on Thomas Binns and genealogical notes on the family, but also lent a transcript of the letters and diaries of Jonathan Binns, the uncle of Thomas, a prominent Liverpool doctor, with permission to copy as much as was thought necessary for the Library records.”
” Thomas Binns died on 27 December 1842, and Gore’s Liverpool Advertiser of 5 January 1843, said, “At his house, Mount Vernon, at the age of 71, Thomas Binns, a member of the Society of Friends. He was a native of Liverpool, and was for a long period highly respected in business, filled the offices of chairman of the Underwriters’ and other associations, and was treasurer to the Infirmary, at the important era of the building of the present edifice”. But however honourably he fulfilled his obligations in business and public, Thomas’s real interest was in the collecting of items of local topography. He was a born collector, and when he died he left, in addition to real property in Liverpool and North Lancashire, the collection of material illustrating the county of Lancaster which we now know as the Binns Collection. It numbered over 6,000 items (the number has of course been greatly increased since then), and comprised maps, plans, views, portraits, MSS. and rare printed items, including broadsheets and election squibs. Many of the portraits are fine mezzotint engravings. While making the collection Binns commissioned certain items, notably the sepia drawings of Liverpool streets and buildings made by James Brierley in 1828-29, which are a valuable contribution to our knowledge of Liverpool topography at that period. “
Liverpool Public Library was started in 1852, and ” In the 2nd Annual Report, 1854, of the Free Public Library occurs this note: “A valuable addition has been made to the Library during the past year, by the purchase from the Executors of the late Mr. Thomas Binns, of the collection made by that gentleman, illustrative of the history of the County of Lancaster, and more especially of the town of Liverpool.”
The collection cost £ 300 in 1853, [ a modern day equivalent of just over £ 300,000 ]
So far, so simple. Then she drops the following into her paper: ” There are about fifty items in the Binns Collection either drawn or engraved by Jonathan Binns, Thomas’s nephew. He was the son of Dr. Jonathan Binns, the younger son of the firstJonathan to settle in Liverpool. ” On this one, she is wrong, well, part right, part wrong. Jonathan Binns (1785 – 1871) was Thomas Binns’s first cousin, not his nephew. But it adds a whole new set of ingredients to the story.
Going back to the Sir Joshua Walmsley story. Sir Josh’s eldest daughter Elizabeth married Charles Binns on the 6th August 1839. Charles Binns “came from a Quaker family with strong Liverpool connections.”
Charles Binns is the grandson of Dr. Jonathan Binns, (1747 -1818), and one of seven children of Jonathan Binns, (1785 – 1871). Miss Saxton takes an interesting line on both Jonathan Binns. “Dr. Jonathan was a most interesting character,” which is true, but she takes a slightly harsh line with Jonathan junior, who she almost portrays as a Forest Gump character.
She quotes ” a letter sent by a member of the Binns family, which gives an account of the doctor’s strange treatment of his elder son, Jonathan. “Dr. Binns”, says the writer, “appears to have grossly neglected the education of his son, the late Mr. Jon. Binns of Lancaster. He did not have him taught Latin, History or Geography, and at an early age put him to learn farming with a mere yokel, while on the other hand the other [younger] son (William), who died young, was apprenticed to a physician in Darlington to start his career as medical man.” and
” Mr. Jon. Binns spent much valuable time in after life in learning things he should have been taught when young. He was over 6ft. high and marvellously handsome, clever in all ways, and most expert with his pencil”. and then:
” His father did advance the money to set him up in a farm, but he gave this up in 1819, and began business as a land surveyor in Lancaster. His great work is the map of Lancaster which he published from an actual survey made in 1821: during its preparation he collected a number of old people’s recollections.”
We’ll come back to both in other posts, but Dr. Jonathan Binns, (1747 -1818), was one of the only two Liverpool persons who signed the first list of the Abolitionists of Slavery. He then became the Superintendent of Ackworth School [the Quaker boarding school], which both his sons attended.
Jonathan junior’s great work was not a map of Lancaster, though he did make one, but actually a two volume work “The Miseries and Beauties of Ireland” Jonathan Binns 1837 which is fascinating, and, with hindsight, slightly heart-breaking at the same time. It’s in part an account of two years travelling round Ireland, and in part a description of poverty in Ireland, and also very practical plans and suggestion to improve agriculture, and alleviate that poverty.