I should say that although my name is Hayward, I am not descended from Joseph, but from his brother William.

This website is a revised and updated copy of the slide show I presented to the Stocksbridge and District History Society in 2017

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These paintings were owned by his daughter Ann Elizabeth, and inherited by his great-granddaughter Tomasine Muriel Whitaker, who left them to me in her will.


Joseph was an employee who was employed at the factory owned by Samuel Fox. The factory was (and is) located in the village of Stocksbridge, some ten miles north-west of Sheffield. The factory has changed its name several times since Samuel Fox's day.

He is known as the person who invented the Fox Paragon umbrella, and also designed the machinery to make it. This was a breakthrough in umbrella design. It was lighter, stronger, and more elegant than umbrellas that had existed before. The mill owner claimed the rights to the invention and made a fortune from it. Joseph was happy just to be an employee.

Here is Samuel Fox proudly showing the Fox Paragon Umbrella.


The importance of this umbrella to Fox's business can be illustrated by reference to the timeline of Fox's, which was published in The Fox's booklet “A Century in the Steel World”, which can be found on the Stocksbridge & District History Society (SDHS) website.

The slide below shows that, for the first seven years of Fox's existence, ie up to 1848, it was making pins for the weaving trade, and umbrellas made from solid steel wire. These products were already in production elsewhere, including at Cockers of Hathersage where both Samuel and Joseph had served their apprenticeships. So when Fox started his business at Stockbridge, he was making nothing new, and he would have been in direct competition with companies that were already existing, and well established, such as Cockers, and elsewhere.


Joseph Hayward joined the company around 1847. The slide below shows that, 5 years later, the Fox Paragon umbrella was introduced. Basically, instead of using solid wire for the ribs and stretchers, which is what had been used before, the wire was rolled flat and then rolled again into a U-shaped section. This produced an umbrella frame which is light and strong and springy. This design is still used in umbrellas today. This patent established Fox’s monopoly. Only he was allowed to make this new design of umbrella because he held the patent. Anyone who infringed his patent was taken to court. From then on, the existing competition such as Cockers, and other umbrella manufacturers, had to be content with manufacturing an inferior product, or they had to withdraw from the market.


With this new product, and this monopoly, Samuel Fox was able to make a lot of money very quickly. He had the income to move ahead with the expansion of his fledgling company. The slide below shows that within a few years he was able to install steel smelting furnaces, A Bessemer Convertors for converting pig iron into steel, rolling mills for making bar, rod and strip. He was manufacturing railway lines (and exporting them to the USA), rail wheels, and may other products. He was expanding his factory and also purchasing land and property.


He left the competition far behind. The mills of Hathersage, including the Cocker mills, had all closed down by the end of the 19th century. (Ref: The Mills Of Hathersage. Tom D Tomlinson. 1979).

On the other hand, Fox was able to build an enormous factory, which filled the Stocksbridge valley for several miles. It became one of the largest steelmakers in the UK, and I read somewhere, the biggest manfacturer of umbrellas in the world.

The growth of the factory is illustrated in the slide below.


The administritive and historical centre of the factory is illustrated in the slide below. The Umbrella Building is the large building on the right at the rear.


This is the administrative centre as I remember it. My father was a foreman in the Umbrella Building, I was an apprentice draughtsman and the Drawing Office (which held about 150 draughtsmen) was just out of sight on the right.

Who was Joseph Hayward?

If you want to learn about a person, and a person’s achievements, a good way to start is to read his obituary. Joseph died on 15 March 1901. This is the obituary that was published in the Sheffield Independent newspaper at that time.

"On Friday last, Mr Joseph Hayward of Croft Cottage passed away after a short illness. Mr Hayward, who was born on the 2nd of January 1819 at Derwent, Derbyshire, in a farmhouse on the site of the proposed new waterworks, would therefore, have seen his 82nd birthday had he lived a few weeks longer. His longevity was, no doubt, helped by his temperate living, and the taking of a large amount of walking exercise. Mr Hayward, together with the late Samuel Fox, esq, was apprenticed to Cockers of Hathersage, one to needle making, and the other to wire drawng, and came to Stocksbridge to work for the latter gentleman about 54 years ago. He was the first and original starter of the umbrella works at S Fox & Co’s and being of an inventive and genius mind was responsible for most of the patents which have gained Fox & Co’s umbrellas a world-wide reputation. In addition to the improvements to the umbrella frames, Mr Hayward designed most of the plant for making them and in the early part of the late Mr Fox’s career he acted as general draughtsman for the firm, and assisted materially in helping to build up the splendid business of Fox & co. Deceased was a man of modest and unassuming manners, who contented himself with doing his duty to his employer. He was one of the pioneers of the Co-operative movement in Stocksbridge and designed what is now the central stores of the Stocksbridge Band of Hope Cooperative Society, and officiated as treasurer for number of years in its infancy. For a number of years Mr Hayward had only attended the works at intervals, spending a part of the year at his property in Matlock, though it is only about three years ago since he ceased to attend business altogether. About 35 years ago the deceased gentleman left Fox & Co, and started in the hackle pin trade at Mosborough, and also did business at Thurlstone in the same trade, but eventually came back to Stocksbridge, and continued in the service of S Fox & Co. Up to his retirement, which as before stated, took place about 3 years ago. Deceased was a widower, and leaves 3 sons and several daughters to mourne his loss".

I think there are minor errors and omissions in this obituary. The Eckland Mill business at Thurlstone was founded by William Hoyland and Joseph Hayward not to manufacture hackle pins, but specifically to manufacture and market a new foldable umbrella called "Flexus", which could be folded and carried in a pocket. This was another invention by Joseph Hayward. Joseph had other outside business interests besides Mosborough and Thurlstone. He had business interests in Midhope, Rotherham and Dronfield, and he had property at Dronfield. It says he had property in Matlock, but I wonder if he just went to stay with his daughter, Mary Walton, who lived there. (It amazes me that in a time before motor transport, people moved such great distances in their daily lives)

Another contemporary obituary indicates that Joseph was a popular and well liked person.

“The death of Mr Joseph Hayward has removed a familiar figure from our midst. He was a man who was highly esteemed both by employer and employed at the Stocksbridge Works, and among the wreathes placed upon his grave was a beautiful one sent by his colleagues at the works. I see that a contemporary states that Mr Hayward was in the habit of walking to Strines before breakfast. Of course this is not an impossible feat, but I am inclined to think that Mr Hayward and his friend Mr Wade, would be ready for breakfast by the time they reached Strines. (the Strines Inn is a pub on a remote part of the Yorkshire moors, about six miles from Stocksbridge, and the route includes some very steep hills). Many anecdotes are related about Mr Hayward in connection with his studying improvements. One of the best of which is that one day a fellow employee, seeing Mr Hayward with his head in his hand, thought he was asleep, and reported to the late Mr Fox that he has seen Mr Hayward asleep. “Off you go to your work” exclaimed Mr Fox “He's worth more to me asleep than you are awake”. (Personally, I think this would sound better in the Yorkshire dialect: "Thee go abart thy work. He's worth more to me asleeap than thou art wakken")

Yet a further obituary, in the Penistone and Stocksbridge Express, contains an poem of 10 verses about Joseph Hayward, written by Alfred Moxon specially for the occasion. The poem can be found in full in the Kenworthy Handbook No 9 on the SDHS website. One verse ends this lecture.

I’ll now fill out some of the detail about Joseph's life.

Joseph was born on 2 January 1819 at Derwent, which was a pictureque Derbyshire village. It was "drowned" in the making of the Ladybower reservoir. The church steeple was allowed to remain standing, and for many years it could be seen rising above the water. Eventually the steeple was thought to be a safety hazard and was destroyed.


Joseph had a brother called William (my great-great-grandfather), who was 5 years older than he. Their father, also called Joseph, was an agricultural worker, and up to that point the family had been of farming stock. But William and Joseph both became engineers. So they were part of the Industrial Revolution. That is, they were part of the move from agriculture to Industry.

Joseph was an engineering apprentice at Dale Mill, owned by Henry Cocker. Samuel Fox was from Bradwell, some five miles from Derwent. He was four years older than Joseph, and had also been an apprentice at Cockers. It is likely that they knew each other from those days.

The photograph below is Cocker's Dale Mill today, converted to residenses.


Joseph married Ann Schofield on 25 November 1838. Their ages were 20 and 21. Their residence was Sheffield Moor (The Moor is a street in Sheffield). Their fathers were both agricultural labourers. Presumably he was living in Sheffield while employed at one of Cockers’s mills, which was located at Sharrow Moor (Cocker had at least 3 mills in various places).


At the time of the 1841 census Joseph and Ann were living in a cottage in Hathersage. Next door was a large house called Rock House in which the mill owner, Henry Cocker, was living. Nearby was the Dale Mill owned by Henry Cocker.

I visited Hathersage to see if I could follow in the footsteps of the census enumerator so see where the Hayward family were living. The enumerator listed the Hayward houshold as being next to a large property called Rock House. Rock house is still there. It is at the junction of School Lane and Church Bank.

Next door is a very old cottage. The cottage is along a very narrow unpaved track, which is called Hungry Lane.


Below can be seen cottage as it is in the present day. Behind the cottage can be seen Rock House, the home of Henry Cocker.


It seems to me that this is probably the cottage where where Joseph and family were living in until 1847

My aunt Edith Sewell (nee Hayward), lived in Bamford and was a fan of Joseph Hayward. Bamford is near to Hathersage. By coincidence she knew the owner of this cottage because she was an amateur artist, and he was a picture framer who framed her pictures. She took me to meet him and he made us very welcome. He also gave me a very old photograph of the cottage, which I was very grateful for, and here it is.


The move to Stocksbridge

Samuel Fox had inherited some money and decided to set himself up in business. In 1841 he leased an old cotton mill in Hunshelf, at that time a hamlet, and now a district of Stocksbridge, and he converted it to a mill making steel wire and steel wire products. Below is a sketch of the old mill and cottage at that time.


Joseph was not part of that initial team of pioneer workers who came to Hunshelf/Stocksbridge with Samuel Fox in 1841. He came some 6 years later, around 1847, by which time the business was already well established.

The Census of 1851 shows Joseph, his wife Ann and 4 children living at Midhope, which is a village about two and a half miles from Stocksbridge. It’s guesswork, but maybe they took accommodation at Midhope because the influx of employees to work at Fox’s meant that it was becoming difficult to find accommodation nearer to Stocksbridge. At that time, Midhope was a relatively large farming community with around 100 inhabitants. It had a watermill for grinding corn, a church, a pub, a smithy, and more. Stocksbridge was just a hamlet of a few cottages.

Walking the two and a half miles from Midhope to Stocksbridge would have been no problem. Other Fox employees were also living at Midhope and walking to Stocksbridge each day. Both Midhope and Stocksbridge were on the Sheffield to Manchester turnpike so there would have been a good road. The road ran along the valley bottom, alongside the river known as the Little Don (the Underbank Reservoir had not been built at that time). The river would have been a sparkling trout stream, which it still is before it becomes polluted downstream. The route would take them through other farmsteads and hamlets: Unsliven Bridge, Hawthorn Brook, Horner House.

The census of 1861 shows that by that date, Joseph and a family of an increasing number of children had moved from Midhope to Hunshelf.

Also by that date Joseph's elder brother William (b 1815) and family, and his widowed father Joseph (b 1793), had moved from Hathersage to Hunshelf to join Joseph and Ann.

Joseph’s father was an agricultural labourer. My father thought that he was a dry stone waller, and may even have done some walling for Fox’s. He died in 1875 aged 82.

Joseph's brother William was an engineer. His wife was Ann and they had two children, William (b 1848 and Mary b 1851). I don't know much about William their father except that my father thought he was a press tool maker. He died aged of 56 of bone cancer. His son William was indentured to Fox's as an apprentice, and later became manager of the Umbrella department. He died at the early age of 44 and left nine children. Mary died at the age of 26 of tuberculosis.

In 1865, Joseph bought some land from Samuel Fox, and built Croft House, which is located in Hunshelf Lane, just behind the Umbrella Building. He had only about 100 yards to walk to work each day, but the road is very steep, in parts 1:4.


While researching family history, I called at Croft House to see who lived there. The owner and family made me very welcome. They were already aware of the position that this house holds in the history of Stocksbridge.

Joseph Hayward's family

Joseph and Ann had 11 children:
Mary, b: 1839, m: J Walton
William, b 1840 at Hathersage. Died aged 9 of Scarlet Fever,
John, b: 1842
Ellen, b: 1846, m:1 Grayson m2 Husdon
Frankin, b: 1853
Heber Chancey, b: 1853, m: Ada Hoyland
Emma, b: 1855, m: J Ashton
Ann Elizabeth b: 1859, m: Thomas Catlow Whitaker>
Francis, b: 1862, m: H Milnes.

Joseph Hayward's employment and other activities

Beside his employment at Fox’s. Joseph played a major part in the foundation and early years of the Stocksbridge Cooperative Society. The Cooperative movement had recently started at Manchester, and it was decided that there was need for such a society at Stocksbridge which had a rapidly expanding population, and presumably there was a shortage of retailers to supply the expanding need. Joseph was one of the four people appointed to form the Co-operative Society in Stocksbridge. His job was treasurer, and he also acted as the person who purchased the stock. When the co-op was fined for having scales that weighed too high, it was Joseph that had to appear in court! A new building was needed, and Joseph designed this building. This photo is the central stores that Joseph designed. There is a book published about the history of the Stocksbridge Co-op, also on the SDHS website.


Besides working at Fox’s, Joseph also invented and designed various new products, quite separate to his employment, as private enterprises. He had a factory at Midhope to manufacture a patent button fastener which was probably one of Joseph's inventions. This company was managed or owned for a time by Joseph's son Heber.


There was also a steel comb where each steel tooth of the comb was soldered into place. I used to have one, but I gave it away to one of his descendants. It was engraved with the name J Hayward & Co. I don’t know how or where Joseph had it manufactured.

The Eckland Works Enterprise

In 1875 Joseph Hayward and the Fox Company Secretary William Hoyland resigned from Fox’s to form a partnership to manufacture the Flexus umbrella that Joseph had invented. This was a foldable umbrella that could be carried in a pocket. Samuel Fox declined to produce it, but gave Hoyland and Hayward his blessing, provided that they bought their steel from him. Samuel Fox also provided the premises, Eckland Mill at Thurlstone, under a lease. I knew Eckland Mill, and a few years ago I went to get a photo of it for this slide show, only to find that is had been demolished! But I found this photo online.


When Joseph left Fox’s to start the business at Eckland Mill at Thurlstone, he took his son Heber who married William Hoyland's daughter (more on that later). He also took his nephew William Hayward (my great grandfather). Several children were born at Thurlstone to this nephew including my grandfather (Charles Edward Hayward).

This partnership did not last long, about 5 years. There appears to be no record of why the partnershop broke up.

In 1880 Joseph Hayward returned to work at Fox’s (as my father put it “as a humble employee”). When Joseph returned to Fox’s, so did William Hayward.

William Hoyland became the sole proprietor at Eckland Mill, and proceeded to establish a very successful business which made him very wealthy.

This was the second time that Joseph had invented a new umbrella only to have someone else make a fortune out of it!

In 1948 Fox's published a book on the Centenary of Umbrella Making at Stocksbridge.

While writing this book, the author, Stanley Moxon, had some correspondence with my grandfather, Charles Edward Hayward, who was at that time retired from his job as a foreman in the Umbrella department.


This is a letter dated 29 October 1947. I’m not expecting you to read it. Here is a short extract

"Dear Mr Hayward. Next year is the centenary of our Umbrella Dept and I have been instructed to prepare a book covering production and progress over the hundred years. I’m stuck on two points - and you are the only person who can give me any help as there’s “nowt” about them in our records. First, what happened to Joseph Hayward? After he left Fox’s with William Hoyland he just fades out of the picture as far as records are concerned. Did he go with Hoyland as a partner? If so, how come that only Hoyland left a fortune? Where did “Uncle Joe” come in? (My grandfather always referred to Joseph as “Uncle Joe”, even though he was his great uncle.)

In a later letter, 23 February 1948, Stanley Moxon says, among other things:

"I’ve been off work a bit since then with a carbuncle and a touch of heart trouble. . . . . Much of the information is personally connected with Joseph Hayward, and I am sure that, as a matter of family pride you will want to see this is right. Joseph Sheldon has never done justice to him, and the official records here certainly don’t . . . . . It shows that Fox’s hadn’t retained much information about Joseph. We don’t seem to get boils and carbuncles these days!

The Joseph Sheldon book “The founders and Builders of Stocksbridge Works”, features Joseph, and is quite complimentary about Joseph Hayward. He refers to him as “one of the worthies”, and gives him a whole page of text, and concludes with the remark “The effects of Joseph Hayward’s work in Stocksbridge were considerable and lasting”.

An aside to the Eckland Mill episode, is that Joseph’s son, Heber, married William Hoyland’s daughter Ada. Ada had previously had a child out of wedlock, Clara, to a house servant of the Hoyland household. Heber accepted Clara as his daughter. It has been said that Joseph Hayward’s problem son married William Hoyland’s problem daughter. When the Hayward/Hoyland parnership broke up, Heber, now the son-in-law of William Hoyland, continued to work at Eckland Mill.

Heber's descendants are somewhat despairing of Heber in their efforts to trace their family history. He left his wife and formed various other relationships. He had various occupations, and moved around a lot, and was estranged from his family. They think that he may have spent some time in prison. They were told by their father that Heber had died in 1899, only for him to turn up at Joseph's funeral in 1901. When he really died, 1912, his occupation was given as “wire rat trap maker”.

My father, who did a lot of the family history before I started to do it, and who spent a large part of his life as a foreman in the Umbrella Department, was surprised that none of Josephs’s four sons seem to have followed Joseph to work in the Umbrella Department. What seems to have happened is that Joseph set some sons up in business elsewhere, Midhope, Rotherham, Dronfield. Some of the daughters moved away to faraway places, Skipton, Cornwall.

So all the members of the Hayward family who later became foremen or managers in the Umbrella Department are all descended from Joseph’s brother William.

As the business grew and prospered, Fox expanded into into heavy engineering, which became Fox’s primary interest. But Joseph Hayward continued working in the Umbrella department.

Joseph Hayward carried on working in the Umbrella Department until 78 years old. He was manager of the department, and after Samuel Fox died, in 1887, he was one of the team of senior managers appointed to run the Fox business until a general manager could be appointed.

My father was very interested in the Hayward family history. in 1984, 15 years after my father had died, I came across a letter among his papers from Muriel Whitaker, who was a great grandaughter of Joseph Hayward, and living in the village of Earby near Skipton in north Yorkshire. She had visited my father in 1959 while trying to trace her family history. So, 25 years after the date of the correspondence, I dialled the phone number on Muriel’s letterhead. The address had changed, but by a great stroke of luck, the telephone number had been retained, and it was Muriel who picked up the phone. She knew immediately who I was, and she was thrilled to bits. We became firm friends. When I first visited her, I saw that the name of her house was “Hayward”, named for Joseph Hayward, even though 3 generations since there had been a Hayward in her family. In the hallway was a portait of Joseph Hayward. She was very proud of Joseph Hayward.

Muriel knew a lot about Joseph’s side of the family, and what she told me just about doubled the size of the Hayward family tree.

Here she is (on the right). This photo was taken in 1995. The other lady is my aunt Edith Sewell (nee Hayward, my father's sister), who was also a great fan of Joseph Hayward.


When Muriel died, she had left me the paintings of Joseph and Ann in her Will (these are the paintings at the start of this website).

Her grandmother, Ann Elizabeth Whitaker, daughter of Joseph Hayward, left Stocksbridge to live in Bradford, and the family later moved to Skipton. I am presuming that Ann Elizabeth had these portraits painted to remind her of her parents in Stocksbridge.

Some time ago I dismantled these portraits in order to scan them into computer format so that I could make full size reproductions. I could see that the paintings are made on enlarged photographic prints. On each painting was a note to state the colours that should be used. For Joseph it was noted: Hair silver grey, Eyes blue grey, whiskers as hair, complexion sallow


Joseph Hayward died on 15 March 1901 and is buried in Bolsterstone churchyard. He has a prime plot near both the lytch gate and the church door. His gravestone is unusual in that it is made of granite, when almost all the other gravestones are made of the local millstone grit.

When I visited Bolsterstone graveyard recently I saw that his gravestone has been laid flat. I'm told it is because of health and safety in case it topples over, but it was sad to see it lying on the ground. (Note, in 2023 the gravestone was re-erected by the Stockbride & District History Society)

Joseph, his father, his brother, his brother’s children, and many more of the Hayward family are buried in Bolsterstone churchyard. These days, Bolsterstone is a small village on the outskirts of the town of Stocksbridge, At one time it was the administrative centre of the area, and in some ways it still is.

I have a copy of Joseph’s Will which is very simple. He leaves everything to be divided equally among his children, and he deducts amounts that he has advanced to each of them in life.

I’d like to end with a verse from the poem that was written to mark his death

“Befitting one who always tried
To damp the flames of hate and strife
Who lived a truly noble life,
And just as calm and nobly died”


Thanks to Linda Rockett, a member of the Hayward clan, for our extensive exchanges of information over many years,

Also to the Stocksbridge and District History Society for their amazing on-line library of documents and photographs

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