Returning to the Asher family…

John Asher was born on 15th June 1845 at Ibstock in Leicestershire, son of Thomas Asher and Samaria Johnson.  The birth certificate doesn’t give an address.  Thomas, a labourer, signed the certificate with an X.

Ibstock is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Ibbestoche (possibly meaning Ibba’s stockade).  It is in northwest Leicestershire, north-west of Leicester, close to the middle of England.  In 1846 the small, agricultural, village had a population of 1138.


John was the eldest of five siblings, including two sisters.

In 1851 the family of five were living in Ibstock (no address) next door to John’s grandfather, Joseph Asher.  John’s father was a waggoner at a colliery.

By 1861 the family had moved to nearby Coalville, Hugglescote.  Coalville, as you can guess, was a former coal-mining town developed in the 1820s.  Thomas and John were working as colliers (John was 16).

John must have decided that wasn’t for him and moved to Crewe where he got a job as assistant to the postmaster in 1862.  He became a “stamper” at the Crewe station post office in 1863, then in June 1864 was given a job as a third-class clerk at Worcester.

John met Elizabeth Darlington, who was a couple of years older than him and living in Haslington, Cheshire.  John married Elizabeth on 5th September 1864 at Haslington at the age of 19.  It appears Elizabeth was heavily pregnant as she gave birth to a girl in December, but the child died.

John was promoted to second-class clerk in 1868 at the Worcester post office. He was mentioned in a newspaper article in Worcester in May 1869.


Three months later, Elizabeth gave birth to twin boys, William and John.

In 1871, the family were living at 2 Bank Street, Claines, Worcestershire, John listed as a class 2 post office clerk.  In 1872 he became chief clerk at Northampton post office.

John Asher founded the United Kingdom Postal and Telegraph Service Benevolent Society in 1875.  It paid out benefits on the death of a post office employee.


Rhyl Record and Advertiser, 14 February 1885

In the 1881 census, the family were still in Northampton, living at 19 Somerset Street, John still chief clerk.

Then in April 1883, John was promoted to postmaster in Rhyl, a seaside town in North Wales, filling the vacancy caused by the death of the previous postmaster, Mr Thomas.


Northampton Mercury, 28 April 1883

There was some discussion about the suitability of a postmaster that could not speak Welsh.


… Rhyl Record and Advertiser, 23 June 1883

As for Rhyl itself, I recommend the Rhyl History Club blog for wonderful information and pictures about the town (eg Rhyl streets).

Elizabeth, meanwhile, gave birth to another son in between April and June in 1883, but sadly he died in June.

Rhyl got a new post office,


… (the article is a long one)

and a new lamp.


The post office continued to do well under John’s supervision.


Rhyl Record and Advertiser, 10 July 1886


Gifts of alcohol to the postmen, however, were not welcome.


With date typo…

Post office employees had an annual meeting and dinner on Boxing Day, presided over by John.


John’s sons were part of the entertainment.


In 1890, the postmaster of Camarthen Crown Post Office, Mr James, resigned to move to Stockport, leaving an opening for John.



A “toothsome repast” was taken to farewell John.


John’s son’s fiancées were mentioned (Miss K Powell and Miss A Vaughan).

And so, the 1891 census reflects John’s new position, living at “Long Acre Villa” in Camarthen, John listed as head postmaster, where he continued the good work.


South Wales Daily News, 30 November 1894


South Wales Daily News, 24 March 1900

John retired in 1903, at the age of 58, due to ill health.


And a lucky find in the Weekly Mail in 1903 reveals an illustration of the man.


Weekly Mail, 4 April 1903

After retiring, it appears that John and Elizabeth returned to Rhyl (where their son, John, was still living).  John was involved in an inquest as a witness.


John and Elizabeth lived in Palace Avenue in a house they named Ibstock, after John’s birthplace.


John took part in Empire Day in 1909.


In 1911 John and Elizabeth were living at the Palace Avenue address with a 38-year-old widow acting as servant.

In September, 1914, John and Elizabeth celebrated their golden wedding anniversary.


There is no further newspaper trail for John, even for a death announcement.

He died on 24 March 1932 in Rhyl.


He was 87 – a good age.


Sources: family archives;;; findmypast; British newspaper archive; Welsh newspapers online; probatesearch