Benjamin Oxley (1847-1916)

Benjamin Oxley was a cab proprietor, livery stables owner and farmer.

Benjamin Oxley (1847-1916)


He was born on 1 January 1847, the son of tailor Joseph Oxley and his wife Sarah (née Heywood or Hayward), and was baptised on 23 May 1847 at Huddersfield Parish Church.

By the early 1850s, Joseph had set up a livery stables on West Parade[1] to supply horses and cabs, and Benjamin then built this business up until it "was the largest of its kind in Huddersfield", eventually forming Ben Oxley and Sons, Limited.[2]

In January 1868, he treated his workpeople to supper at the Old Hat Inn to celebrate his 21st birthday.[3]

He married Ellen Clayton of Lepton on 6 May 1868 at St. John the Baptist, Kirkheaton.[4] The couple had nine children, four of whom had died by the time of the 1911 Census.

  • Edward Oxley (1869-1901)[5]
  • Elizabeth Oxley (1870-?)[6]
  • Florence Oxley (1872-1908)[7]
  • Joseph Oxley (1874-1901)
  • Mary Oxley (1876-?)[8]
  • Percy Oxley (1877-1900)[9]
  • Lilian Oxley (1879-?)[10]
  • Sarah Oxley (1881-?)[11]
  • Ann Oxley (1883-?)[12]

By 1871, Benjamin was operating out of larger livery stables on the corner of Upperhead Row and West Parade. The Census of that year notes that he was employing 13 men and 1 boy. The 1881, 1891 and 1901 Censuses record the family's address as 29 West Parade, although the Oxley's also apparently owned farmed land in Highfields from as early as 1880.[13]

In November 1895, the Huddersfield Chronicle reported that he had held his third annual dinner at the Crown Hotel on Westgate for his 20 or so employees. After a substantial dinner, the tables were cleared and several of the men — including Edward Oxley and Joseph Oxley — sang songs, accompanied by Mr. W. Shoesmith at the piano.[14]

Ben Oxley and Sons, Limited was register as a private company in June 1899 with capital of £10,000 in £5 shares. The sons in question were Edward and Joseph, and Benjamin was described as a "livery stable keeper, job master, horse dealer, cab and 'bus porprietor, undertaker, funeral furnisher, etc."[15]

In 1900, he applied to build large livery stables at Highfields.

Tragedy struck when all three of his sons died within a period of 13 months between 1900 and 1901, leading Benjamin to wind up the family firm in 1903.[16]

The 1911 Census records him as a livery stables keeper and farmer residing at Highfields.

Benjamin Oxley died on 18 January 1916, leaving an estate values at £1,591 3s. 10d.

Further Reading

Notes and References

  1. Possibly the stables were in Oxley's Yard.
  2. "Death of Mr. Benjamin Oxley" in Huddersfield Daily Examiner (19/Jan/1916).
  3. "Treat to Workpeople" in Huddersfield Chronicle (04/Jan/1868).
  4. Ellen is listed as a minor and no details are recorded for her father. One of the witnesses appears to be Martha Clayton.
  5. Born 1 July 1869 and baptised 5 September 1869 at St. John the Baptist, Kirkheaton. Married 5 November 1890 to Catherine Annie Bedford at St. John's Church, Green Balk Lane, Lepton.
  6. Born 4 October 1870 and baptised 30 October 1870 at St. John the Baptist, Kirkheaton. Married 22 September 1897 to William Alfred Brown at Huddersfield Parish Church.
  7. Born 21 September 1872 and baptised 24 November 1872 at St. John the Baptist, Kirkheaton. Married 9 January 1894 to Ernest Darnley at Huddersfield Parish Church.
  8. Born 4 May 1876 and baptised 9 July 1869 at St. John the Baptist, Kirkheaton. Married 18 June 1902 to Henry Holt Eastwood at Huddersfield Parish Church.
  9. Born 23 December 1877 and baptised 16 June 1878 at St. John the Baptist, Kirkheaton.
  10. Born 25 July 1879 and baptised 1 January 1880 at St. John the Baptist, Kirkheaton. Married 24 August 1904 to Walter Hibbert at Huddersfield Parish Church.
  11. Born 21 May 1881 and baptised 25 July 1881 at St. John the Baptist, Kirkheaton. Married on 5 July 1906 to Walter Priest at Huddersfield Parish Church.
  12. Born 9 July 1883 and baptised 6 January 1884 at St. John the Baptist, Kirkheaton. Married 1 June 1911 to Robert Ferrier Whalley at Huddersfield Parish Church.
  13. The Huddersfield Chronicle (28/Aug/1880) contains an article titled "Damaging Turnips" about Fred Dyson of Fountain Street being charged with damaging turnips belonging to Ben Oxley of Highfields.
  14. "Employes Dinner" in Huddersfield Chronicle (16/Nov/1895).
  15. "New Company: Ben Oxley and Sons (Limited)" in Huddersfield Chronicle (13/Jun/1899).
  16. London Gazette (10/Apr/1903).