Joseph Anstey (BI 12)

See ‘Anstey: A Complete History From the Norman Invasion to World War One‘ for much more on the Birmingham Ansteys. In addition to biographies of various Anstey individuals who make up this sub-branch, the book contains a plethora of Anstey research and statistics, including an analysis of how the Birmingham Ansteys fit into the pedigree descendent from Hubert de Anesti, the 12th century originator of the ‘Anstey’ surname.

BI 12. Joseph Anstey: He was born in Birmingham in 1813 to parents John Anstey (BI 5) and Hannah Whateley. He married Catherine Lee in Rotherham, Yorkshire in 1834 and they had children

  • Edwin Ellis Anstey (b 1838 Sheffield, died in 1860, buried in the family grave at Key Hill Cemetery, Birmingham);
  • Elizabeth Anstey (b 1841 Sheffield);
  • Sarah J. Anstey (b 1844 Birmingham, unmarried and living with father in 1871);
  • Catherine Anstey (b 1848 Birmingham unmarried and living with father in 1871);
  • Joseph Whately Anstey (BI 40 – b 1850 Birmingham);
  • Emily E. Anstey (b 1854, known as Eva, unmarried and living with father in 1871); and
  • Annie Matilda Anstey (b 1856, baptised 27 January 1856 in Birmingham, unmarried and living with father in 1871. She married William Alfred Nash or George Lowe in Birmingham in 1876).

The ‘Globe‘ on 23 June 1838 reported: “Partnerships Dissolved: Joseph Anstey and William Meggitt, Sheffield. Yorkshire, mother-of-pearl shell dealers“.

In 1840 according to the ‘Birmingham Journal‘ newspaper “Joseph Anstey, pearl shell dealer of Sheffield…was declared bankrupt“. Other newspapers reporting the same event in 1840 stated “Insolvent Debtor: JOSEPH ANSTEY, late of Broom Spring-lane, in Ecclesall Bierlow, near Sheffield, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, Pearl Button Manufacturer and Pearl Shell Dealer, late of Monmouth Street…then of Fargate in Sheffield…and formerly of Trippet Lane in Sheffield, Grocer on his own account…” and “BANKRUPTS. Joseph Anstey, Sheffield, Yorkshire, pearl button manufacturer to surrender February to, and March 10, eleven, at the Town Hall, Sheffield

He was a pearl button maker in Springfield Street Birmingham in the 1851 Census. The ‘Birmingham Journal‘ 19 January 1861 reported that “Mr Bateman, architect, had received instructions from Mr Joseph Anstey to prepare plans for the erection of a jewellers shop and warehouse upon a piece of land near the corner of Pope Street and Icknield Street East [which he was trying to buy freehold]“. By the 1861 Census the family were living at 132, Icknield Street East, Birmingham.

The ‘Birmingham Daily Gazette‘ 30 January 1865 reported “Mr. Joseph Anstey, the manager, says the pearl button trade is a small trade, and is almost entirely confined to Birmingham. There are one or two small establishments in London, one in Dublin, and two or three in Sheffield, but they do not average more than half a dozen persons in each. The total number in the trade in the whole kingdom was about 1.200, but now there are not more than 500 or 600 at work. It may be that there are only 300 or 400 trade union men, but the number may be made up by the “black-legs,” men who do not belong to the union. The trade has been in this depressed state for two or three years, in consequence chiefly of the American war, two, thirds of the goods having formerly been made for America. There are now about 150 pearl button manufacturers in the town

His wife Catherine died in 1870 – ‘Aris’s Birmingham Gazette‘ 17 December 1870 reported “Death: On the 1st inst., aged 57 years, Catherine, the beloved wife of Joseph Anstey, St. Mary’s Street, Ladywood“. She was buried in the family grave in Key Hill Cemetery, Birmingham. In 1871 he was a pearl button maker and widower living with five of his children at St Mary Street Birmingham.

He died in 1876 “Death: Anstey on the 30th September Joseph Anstey aged 63 years” – he too was buried in the family grave in Key Hill Cemetery, Birmingham.

Anybody who can add anything to this account, or finds any mistakes on this page, please contact us at research@theansteystory.com.

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