John Richard Flitch was born about 1843 in Newcastle-upon-Tyne to John Jacob Flitch and Sarah (nee Workman). He was baptised on 28 December 1843 at St Andrew’s Church.

The Flitch family had moved to Leeds by the time of the 1851 Census and were living at 30 Cobourg Street. The family consisted of John Jacob, Sarah, two children – Rosina and John Richard, and Sarah’s mother, Ann Workman. John Jacob was a “Leather Dresser emply 12 Hands”.

The 1861 Census shows that the family had moved to 2 Roundhay Terrace. John Jacob was obviously doing well as he was recorded as “Leather Manufacturer employing 40 men & 40 boys”. Rosina was 19 years old and John Richard was 17.

John’s mother died on 5 January 1866.

John married Ellen Crawford on 23 August 1866 at the Brunswick Wesleyan Chapel in Leeds. John was 23 years old, living on Roundhay Road and working as a Leather Manufacturer. Ellen was 22 and living at “Crimbles House” which I think was at 13 Camp Road. Ellen’s father, Jonathan, was a “Cloth Finisher”.

John and Ellen had the following children:

  • Rosina Mary (1867-1875)
  • Kathleen Crawford (1868-1868)
  • Florence Adelaide (1871-1956)
  • Mabel Constance (1873-1886)
  • Stanley Crawford (1875-1959)
  • Ellen Crawford (1876-1975)
  • Harold Crawford (1878-1878)
  • John Ernest Crawford (1881-1946)

The 1871 Census records that the family were now living at 7 Elmwood Place. (Elmwood Place connected to Camp Road and the area was demolished for redevelopment in the 1950s/60s.) John was 27 and described as a “Master Leather Manufr”. Rosina was 3 years old and Florence was 10 months. They had two live in servants, a general servant (Maria Butt aged 23) and a nurse maid (Isabella Best aged 16).

The 1872 White’s Directory of Leeds (page 311) shows that the Flitch family were now living at Westfield Terrace in Chapel Allerton, John is described as a “tanner”. On page 183 of the directory we read:

1872 White’s Directory of Leeds (page 183)

A Jonathan Crawford (Ellen’s father?) was recorded as “wlln. mnfcr. (Overseer, Leeds Union)” at Westhill Terrace.

The 1881 Census shows that the address was 8 Westfield Terrace in Chapel Allerton. John was 37 years old and a “Leather Manufacr., Fellmonger” (a fellmonger was a dealer in hides or skins, particularly sheepskins, who might also prepare skins for tanning). Ellen was 36 and must have been pregnant with John Ernest Crawford. Florence (10), Mabel (7) and Stanley (6) were scholars, Ellen (4) was too young for school. They had a cook, a housemand and a nurse as servants. A few doors up from them at 14 Westfield Terrace was the family of James Crawford (Ellen’s brother?) and, at no. 15, Jonathan Crawford (Ellen’s father?)

John was away from home at the time of the 1891 Census but Ellen (46), Florence (20), Ellen (14) and John (9) were at home with three servants. John’s father, John Jacob, was living at 1 Westfield Terrace and Ellen’s brother, James, was living at no. 14. No. 15 was empty as Ellen’s father had died in 1888. It is possible that John was travelling abroad in connection with his business as there is some evidence that he visited Australia and the USA.

By the time of the 1901 Census, John had moved his family to Southlands, a 15 room house just off Harrogate Road on the boundary between Moortown and Chapel Allerton. He was now 57 years old and still working as a Leather Manufacturer. Ellen was 56 years old and they still had Ellen (24) and John (19) living at home. Visiting the family was the Rev. Sutton Patterson (53), a C. of E. Clergyman who was to conduct the burial service of John in 1914 and Ellen in 1913.

John (67), Ellen (66) and daughter Ellen (34) were still living at Southlands according to the 1911 Census. John and Ellen had been married for 44 years, John was still a leather manufacturer.

The 1912 Methodist’s Who’s Who has the following entry:

FLITCH, John Richard, J.P. ; b. Aug. 5, 1843, at Newcastle-on-Tyne ; s. of John Jacob Flitch, J.P. ; tn. Ellen, d. of Jonathan Craw ford, of Leeds ; two s. two d. Educ. Private schools in Leeds. Leather Manufacturer ; J.P. for Leeds ; Member of Women and Chil dren’s Hospital Board and Blind and Deaf and Dumb Inst. Com. ; Commissioner of Income Tax ; Governor of Leeds Univ. ; Chairman of Chapel Allerton Girls’ High School. Recrea tions : Travel, reading, art-collecting. Ad dress: Southlands, Moor Allerton, Leeds. W.

Ellen died on 23 July 1913 and John died the following year on 29 April 1914 aged 71. He was buried in the graveyard at St Matthew’s Church in Chapel Allerton on 2 May. The following is a report of his funeral in the Leeds Mercury:

Leeds Mercury 4 May 1914

Probate reads:

FLITCH John Richard of Southlands Moor Allerton Leeds died 29 April 1914 Probate London 8 August to Florence Adelaide Oliver (wife of Edmund Lomas Oliver) the reverend Stanley Crawford Flitch clerk Ellen Crawford Flitch spinster John Ernest Crawford Flitch barrister-at-law Frank Crawford cloth manufacturer and the said Edward Lomas Oliver cotton manufacturer.
Effects £34291 12s. 3d.