John Halford

Beach Street
Middle Street
16 Lower Street
195 Lower Street

Occupation: Stocking Weaver & Hosier

John Halford & Frances Cox married in St. Lawrence, Thanet in  December 1813 moving soon afterwards to Deal where John was to run his hosiery business. The following year in November their first child Mary was born. Her baptism record states that John is a Stocking Weaver and that they were then living on Beach Street. Another daughter, Sarah, was to follow in 1816 when they had moved into Middle Street and by 1818 John had moved to Lower Street which is where Frances and her younger siblings were all born.
Sarah must have died before 1819 as a second daughter of that name was born in November of that year. Mary also must have died before 1822 as it is in this year that we find John and Frances registering their children, Frances, Sarah and Alfred at the  Dr. Williams’ Library, followed later by John, Mary Ann and Thomas.

Dr. Williams’ Library

As Dr. Williams’ Library is usually associated with the nonconformist churches we are assuming that the family had decided to worship at one of the nonconformist churches in Deal sometime after Frances’ birth. Adding weight to this assumption is that no burial records can be found for Mary or the first Sarah or indeed any baptism records for their siblings born after 1818. But which church did they attend? Well, we can rule out the Congregational Church as those records are online and there are no Halfords recorded amongst them and also there does not appear to be any Congregational (Independent) members registered with the library. But which other church still remains a mystery!

Birth Certificate & Register 

Dr. Williams’ library birth register and corresponding certificate can be found on both Ancestry and FindmyPast. They detail the birth date, registration date, place of birth, parents names, plus the parents of mother and also who was present at the birth. So we know from the Halford registration records that surgeon William Hulkes, probably the elder, was in attendance at all the Halford children’s births with one of several local midwives. They had to sign the certificate as witnesses to the birth and in the case of midwife Sarah Ryan, not being able to write, she made her ‘mark’ which then witnessed by two more people, Stephen Foster and John Solley. 

The Hosiery Business

John, as we have established, was a Stocking Weaver when he first arrived in Deal. It seems that he soon started dealing in Hosiery as well as making it. We don’t know if he then employed other ‘stocking weavers’ but at some point, John went into business with a Thomas Voss who according to Pigot’s Directory of 1824 and of 1840 they were advertising themselves as ‘Hosiers and Lacemen’.
How these two men met we don’t know but Thomas was here in Deal in 1814 when he married a Sarah Carter in St. Leonard’s Church. Sadly Sarah died in 1817 and the Congregational Church’s register states that she “died in April.”  Thomas though doesn’t stay in Deal he moves back to Leicestershire where he remarries and continues in the Hosiery business.
The pair remained in business until 1840 when they dissolve their partnership by mutual consent.

18 February 1840 London Gazette

John died in 1847 making his wife and his daughter Frances his executors. He also bequeathed his Hosiery business to both of them.  He requests that money is to be invested and the dividends paid out to his surviving children. It appears that in the year before his death he took out a twenty-one year lease on 195 Lower Street and it is here that his daughter Frances was to carry on her millinery business.

His burial took place at St. Leonard’s where he was buried in the churchyard on 20 November 1847. This seems a little odd, as at this time most people were being buried in St. George’s and the fact that he may have been nonconformist, even more so! Frances, his wife, who died in 1850 is also buried with him. Their memorial inscription reads-


Sacred to the memory of John Halford
Who died November 15th 1847 in his 63rd year of his age 

This Mouldering Stone can ill express the loss of him I mourn
The many virtues that did bless his life, would grace a throne.
Also Frances wife of the above who died April 11 th 1865
in the 60th year of her age

Frances, his wife moved to 4 Alfred Square where she appears to have brought up her illegitimate granddaughter Julia. Julia Mary Halford was born in Canterbury in 1841, the daughter of Sarah, and like her aunt,  she was to become a milliner.

It was while Frances was living in Alfred Square that she, and a large number of ratepayers,  signed a letter that was sent  to the Deal Pavement Commissioners in which they complained about the gross mismanagement of the commissioners in bringing about improvements to the town. 

South Eastern Gazette – Tuesday 04 September 1849

Until the younger Frances married in August 1849, she and her mother had been in a partnership running the hosiery business then in September the partnership was dissolved and Frances continues in business in her own right at 195 Lower Street exactly opposite her husband’s Chemist business at number 196.

Name Born Baptised Married Died Buried
John Halford abt. 1783 Unknown Frances Cox
16 December 1813
St. Lawrence in Thanet, St LawrenceBorn abt 1786
Died 1865
Lower Street, Deal
20 November 1847
St. Leonard’s

The Children of John Halford & Frances Cox

Name Born Baptised Married Died Buried
Mary 1814
Beach Street
16 November 1814
St. George’s
Sarah 1816
Middle Street
11 September 1816
St. George’s
Frances 14 March 1818
Lower Street
24 May 1818
St. Leonard’s
Edward Jones
18 August 1849
St. Leonard’s
Wellington Road
13 March 1883
Hamilton Road Cemetery
Sarah 6 November 1819 Unknown William Thomas Hobbs
21 June 1849
St. Leonard’s
Alfred 12 December 1821 Unknown Unknown 1840
Mary Ann 2 April 1823 Unknown Thomas Bishton
16 August 1842
St. Mary the Virgin, Dover
Thomas 30 April 1825 Unknown Unknown 1847
John 9 March 1828 Unknown 1858


Year Address Name Number of Males Number of Females
1821 Lower Street (16) John Halford


Year Address Name Relationship Occupation
1841 Lower Street John Halford Head Hosier
Frances Wife
Mary Daughter
Thomas Son Drapers Assistant
John Son
Ellen Moat Female Servant


Year Address Name Relationship Occupation
1851 4 Albert Place Frances Halford Head Annuant
John Halford Son Tin Man
Julia Halford Granddaughter Scholar
Elizabeth Rogers Servant House Servant


Year Address Name Relationship Occupation
1861 4 Albert Place Frances Head Proprietor of Houses
Julia Grandaughter Milliner
Elizabeth Rogers Servant Servant

Trade and Street Directory

Directory and Year Trade or Occupation Address
Pigot’s Directory 1824 Hosier Halford & Voss Lower Street
Pigot’s Directory 1840 Lacemen & Hosiery Manufacturers Halford & Voss Lower Street
Bagshaw’s Directory 1847 Haberdasher John  Halford 195 Lower Street
Sources and further reading:
Newspaper image © The British Library Board. All rights reserved.
With thanks to The British Newspaper Archive (
London Gazette
KHLC- EK/U725/O7  – Deal Pavement Commission: memorial from the ratepayers to the commissioners complaining of mismanagement [36 signatures] Deal Maritime and Local History Museum