Home, office.

Inventing iron screw Boot protectors.


Home, office.


Home, office etc.

MONDAY 4th JUNE 1888

Morning - In Garden, weeding etc.


To Stoke with Bert to meet Clara coming by express from London. I went to Hanley and Bert to Hartshill and we both came down to meet the 3:15 train at Stoke Station. Bert and Clara came from Blyth Bridge in coach but I walked.

Lower down in different handwriting, it says:
Alf and Ralph went to Buxton yesterday to see Dad.
Judging by this entry and other's with the same handwriting, it seems that it was John's sister Hannah who was writing these extra bits. Alfred Hordern was Hannah's husband and Ralph was John and Hannah's brother.

Clara was Alberta(Bert)'s sister. The story of their family is interesting although tragic. They were the children of Samuel Eccles and Pamela Williams, both from Worcestershire. Samuel Eccles was a tailor.

I found the following children for them:
Fredrick, born 1846 Worcestershire, died 1852 Worcestershire.
Lavinia, born 1848 Worcestershire, died 1852 Worcestershire.
Rebecca, born 1849 Worcestershire, died 1852 Worcestershire.
Clara, born 1850 Sheffield.
Matilda, born 1853 Worcestershire, died 1863 or 1865 Gloucester.
Alma, born 1861 Worcestershire.
Alberta, born 1862 Gloucester.
Frederick, born 1867 Gloucester, died 1867 Gloucester.

So out of these 8 children, only 3 survived. There might have been other children which I have not found records for. In the late 19th Century, the infant mortality rate (the number of babies not surviving to one year old) in the UK would have been around 15%. Compare that to around half a percent in 2000. When people say that things are bad these days, just remember how much modern medicine has improved our lives.

As if the situation of the Eccles family wasn't bad enough, Pamela died in 1873. Probably in desperation, Samuel went to New Zealand in 1874, to start a new life. He took Alberta and Alma with him, Clara staying behind in London as she was 24 years old.

Alberta, having met John Alcock, travelled back to Britain around 1887. Alma married Robert Pearce in New Zealand and they went on to have many children. Samuel died in 1891 in New Zealand and was buried together with Robert Pearce's mother.

Alberta, probably around 1928.

Samuel Eccles grave in Christchurch, New Zealand (thanks to Jenny in Christchurch for this)

FRIDAY 1st JUNE 1888 (The Oaks Day)

Home in Market. Settling up for yesterday's Sale and out on Brewery Business.

THURSDAY 31st MAY 1888

Sale of Farm Stock (under distress(?) for Rent). George Hill, Whitehurst Farm, Near Dilhorn. Good Sale.

WEDNESDAY 30th MAY 1888 (Derby Day)

About Cheadle for Brewery but did no good.

TUESDAY 29th MAY 1888

Endon Well dressing

Took Bert to Endon to see well dressing and May pole dance. Walked to Froghall Station and had lunch at Leek, then Endon by Rail.

Home via Stoke to Blyth Bridge by Rail alnd walked from Blythe Bridge to Cheadle. It came on to rain and we got almost wet thro. Home about 10.30pm.

Ascertained my weight at Stoke Station by an automatic penny slot machine to be 10 stone 4 pounds or 144 pounds. Bert is 10 stone 6 pounds or 146 pounds. Bert is 2 pounds heavier than me.

1) Well dressing is a tradition in Derbyshire and Staffordshire. Endon well dressing still takes place
2) 144 pounds = 65kg. I don't know what height he was but at this weight, he must have been thin - not surprising with all that walking he did.

MONDAY 28th MAY 1888

Endon Well dressing

Home, office etc.

Received letter from Mr Mrs Bashford in which Mrs Bashford states that she met Mrs Rogers a few days ago. and Mrs R said they were doing well and that Mr Rogers was away in the south canvassing. There will be no occassion to write to Boulter(?) for Roger's address.

Evening. Rindle for rents but got none.

SUNDAY 27th MAY 1888

Home all day.

Evening with Bert, went a walk up Draycott Cross and looking at old coalpit shafts etc.

SATURDAY 26th MAY 1888

Office etc.

Afternoon - In garden, setting peas and 2 rows of dwarf kidney beans, "American" Wonder.

Took Gibson the 3 and a quarter yards light pattern cloth with I bot of Winning for 7 shillings and 6 pence and was measured for trousers and vest to be made during next week.

1) William Winning ran a drapery business in the High St at that time and his Father, also William, was the Manager of the Phillips Tape mill in Tape St. (Thanks to Alan Winning for that)

FRIDAY 25th MAY 1888

In Market etc.

Ridge, Grocer, Bankrupt, sold up today. Figgins(?) auctioneer.

THURSDAY 24th MAY 1888

Started after breakfast and walked to Tean and Gorsty Hill on the Brewery Business. Then via Totmonslow to Draycott to see Mr Coventry regarding crops at Whitehurst Farm. (Hills) matey in possession for Briddon - took inventory for Sale and walked home accross fields, very tired.

About 10 to 15 miles tramp and awfully hot today.


Office drafting Sale papers and adverts etc. till 9pm.


Morning - Walked over to Draycott in reply to note received from Mr Coventry to see him regarding sale at Whitehurst Farm near Dilhorn to fix date etc.

Home for dinnner.

Rest of day in office inventing eyelet shields to safety pin, got the idea from a button (patent), which I cut off a pair old pants lying by road side at Draycott. So posted off a sample to Invention Office tonight.

TUESDAY 22nd MAY 1888

Whit Tuesday Holiday.

Took Bert and children in Robert Plant's grounds, Tean Road, for a walk.

Robert Plant's mansion (Thanks to Mike Plant for this)
The mansion was demolished in 1978 and replaced by Mansion Close.
The grounds are now Tean Road Recreation Ground.
You can find out more by reading this fascinating article:

MONDAY 21st MAY 1888

Whit Monday Holiday.

Took Bert and children in Park for Walk.

Evening - Rindle for rents but got none with Bert.

SUNDAY 20th MAY 1888

Home all day.

SATURDAY 19th MAY 1888

Left London from Euston Station by 12 o'clock express to Stoke and on to Blythe Bridge and home by Frank Tipper's coach along with Tom Cooper.

FRIDAY 18th MAY 1888

In London and called on Mr F.W. Golby at Inventions office and with him from 10 to 12 going through specification etc.

He says it is a likely invention to make money and if I can get it taken up by the manufacturers.

After this I went to the Anglo Danish exhibition (no good), visited patent museum and then to the Italian exhibition. Splendid lot of statuary and ? then back to Lizzies for the night very tired.

1) Italian exhibition London 1888.

THURSDAY 17th MAY 1888

To London by midday train and went to sleep at Lizzie's - went via Stoke.

1) Elizabeth was John's sister. She married Walter Herbert Almond (born St. James, London) in 1881. In 1891, Walter was an Army and Navy Accountant and they lived at Oakdene, Avondale Square, St Giles, London.


Home - Getting things ready for London tomorrow.

TUESDAY 15th MAY 1888

Home - Correcting complete specification for patent.

Evening - In Garden setting peas.

MONDAY 14th MAY 1888

To Birmingham via Stoke and Stafford. Went to try and get in a manufacturers to see how coil at end safety pin was formed. I went to Nicklin and Co. manufacturers but they would not allow me to see any work being done. I did not tell them it was the pin I was working on but a machine for making pins. The clerk told me it was no use going to other places as I should not be allowed to see them being made anywhere. This was late Rowley's firm, the original inventor of the safety pin.

So I left Birmingham and went to see aunt Brammer at Rugely. Had lunch with them and off to Stoke and Blythe Bridge and home by coach.

After tea I went to Rindle for rents.

1) In 1849, Charles Rowley patented the safety pin in Britain whilst Walter Hunt patented it in USA.
2) Aunt Brammer was John's mother's sister Elizabeth Yardley. Thanks to Dianne Shenton for the information

SUNDAY 13th MAY 1888

Home all day.

Jim Goodwin over.

THURSDAY 12th MAY 1888

At 10am, Father, Mother, Mona and William started in Payne's Carriage for Buxton - dad was very weak and ill but William had fitted a wide seat up for him with bed and cushions so he was able to lie down.

Office - Working up Safety pin, putting Notes and drawings in book of jottings. Examining draft complete specification and drawings to hand today.

FRIDAY 11th MAY 1888

Odd works and at Walton Villa helping them to pack.

THURSDAY 10th MAY 1888

Morning - To Tean on Beer Business.

Afternoon - Cheadle on Beer Business.

Writing "Invention" and sent cheque, balance 21 pounds 4 shillings and 6 pence to pay for English patent, 4 years. German patent 1 year.

Mr Bourne came to Walton Villa this afternoon and dad backed guaranteed overdraft for 50 pounds in order to enable me to patent the invention.


To Oakamoor to see Bolton regarding countries in which there were wire mills and probably safety pins made. He showed me the new machine he has invented to draw wire - simple enough.

Afternoon - To see Mr Wood the Bank manager regarding getting an overdraft for 50 pounds in order to enable me to patent the improved safety pin. He was very kind and I really out to give him a small present, 5 pounds if I succeed. He granted my request and would call on father to back same.

TUESDAY 8th MAY 1888

Sale at Fieldings yard, Alton. Poor sale - bad bidders. Sale only realised 30 pounds odd and I thought it would have been 100.

Payne drove over and clerked along with Arthur Rushton.

MONDAY 7th MAY 1888

Morning - Writing letter regarding Invention. To Knott's place to look over repairs lately done by William for 25 pounds.

Afternoon - Home and getting sack potatoes from Walton Villa.

Evening - Writing letters and Rindle for Rents.


Morning - Office etc.

Afternoon - To Wetley Rocks to see Pegg at Plough Inn regarding the Invention, did not tell him what it was but he advises me to complete patent at once, under the circumstances. Home for tea 7pm.

Evening - To William Malkin's, Rock Cliff, to borrow 20 pounds. Said if I was successful, I would give him 30 pounds for it.

1) William Malkin of Rock Cliff died in 1891. His wife Lydia died in 1896.
2) Wetley Rocks is situated on the main road between Cheadle and Leek.

FRIDAY 4th MAY 1888

In market etc and planting 2 bunches of cabbages in garden.

Evening - Studying the rubber pin again - the more I study it the more am I convinced that I have hit upon a good thing.


Today a most excellent Invention has occurred to me regarding umbrellas, that is to make the stick out of corrugated metal - a corrugated metal pipe in fact. It is an excellent thing I believe and I shall work it out at the first opportunity.

If Mr Samuel Fox could make half a million pounds by simply hollowing or grooving the metal rails, so as to increase the weight and portability of the article. I shall get something worth having if I groove and hollow the stick itself.

Office inventing etc.