John R Childs
The Cressy

Original information:
John Childs was one when he emigrated from Northamptonshire to Canterbury with his parents, Joseph (1814-1889), a blacksmith, and Fanny (30), and brothers William (9) and Daniel (6). Joseph set up his forge in Oxford Street, Lyttelton. In 1900 John was a blacksmith living at Lyttelton, and his brother William a blacksmith at Kaipara.

Readers' response:
Other sources say Joseph was born on August 22, 1813, not 1814. Joseph married Fanny on April 17, 1838, at Gainsborough, Northamptonshire. Joseph’s first job in Canterbury is recorded as being a contractor building the road from Lyttelton to Sumner. Joseph and Fanny had four children born in England, bringing the surviving children to Canterbury. The couple had six more children born at Lyttelton. In August 1852, Joseph went to the goldfields in Bendigo, Victoria, and returned home in January 1854.

Joseph established the first blacksmith business in Lyttelton, initially on the north-west corner of Oxford and Winchester Streets (1854-1871), then on Norwich Quay (1871 until his death in 1889). The family business carried on for at least eight more years with his sons William, John and Peter working there. Joseph Childs was on the committee of the Lyttelton Trades Rowing Club.1 According to a family member, Joseph built a house at 34 St Davids Street, Lyttelton, in December 1856 and the house still stands.

John Childs and his brother William married two daughters of Captain William Johnston, a master mariner who emigrated to Canterbury on the Fatima in December 1851. The Childs family has long been associated with the Lyttelton Volunteer Fire Brigade.2


1: Information supplied by Maria Ryan
2:Barry Paul, unpublished family history


POSTED BY: John Harford : October 25, 2006
A pdf document from Barry Paul (click on the document name to download)

Childs family brief summary.pdf