Thomas Tunaley Snr


b. Derby, 1772.

m. Elizabeth Potter, Nottingham, 16-10-1795.

Thomas Snr. d. 10 September 1848, Derby.



Looking across the market place Derby to where the Thomas Tunaleys lived.

Click to Enlarge



The two Tunaley dyeing houses appear to have been set up at the time of the Napoleonic wars 1799-1815 when there was a blockade on trade with France.

Dyeing rapidly died out in Derby and the rest of the country following the repeal of the Corn Laws, the German manufacture of synthetic dyes and the Cobden free trade agreement (around 1860). Consequent to these events, thousands of dyers were put out of work.

Recovery took place in the Derby area with development of the railways (see also below) and in the form of new processes as exemplified by Stevenson's dyers of Ambergate, who became world leaders in dyeing for the next 100 years.

(The Derby-Ambergate section of the Peak Railway was opened by the Midland Railway in 1840 with the line to Manchester completed in 1860 - click here).











According to Glover's Directory 1827-1829, "Mr. Thomas Tunaley Jnr., has a very superior Dye-house at Derby fitted up with Steam apparatus (by the ingenious and justly celebrated Mechanic Mr. John Harrison) by this means the coppers are boiled and a great saving of labour obtained. It is thought to be one of the completest establishments of the kind in the kingdom" (sic).


Thomas Tunaley Jnr.

(Master Dyer)

b. 1796, St. Nicholas, Nottingham.

m. Susannah Sparks,

Derby 23/12/1846

(J.H.: Susannah bp. 5 July 1812, Derby: father James Sparks, mother Mary Sparks).

(marriage announcement in Derbyshire Advertiser and Nottingham Review, 1st Jan. 1847)

The following information courtesy of Dr.Jane Holmes: 1841 census shows that prior to marriage in 1846, the first three children carried the surname Sparkes. Susannah and the children were then living at 32 Bath Street, Derby. Thomas Tunaley Jnr. was not a resident. See also Edward Tunaley b. 1806. and comments below.


White's Directory 1857: Thomas Tunaley, councillor for Derby Corporation's Kingsmead Ward.


Thomas d. Derby, 4-4-1868.

Susannah died Camberwell, 16th. December, 1890.


Mary Ann Tunaley b. 1829, Derby.

d. 1868, Derby (death same year as Thomas, the father).

It seems as the law stood at the time, "fathers of illegitimate children could be committed to jail unless they made arrangements to indemnify the parish for the upkeep of the child" (click here). See also the first family of John Tunaley (b. 1813).

In the book "The History and Directory of the Borough of Derby

(Intended As A Guide To Strangers Visiting the Town)"

By Stephen Glover

Published 1843

the residences and occupations of eight of the various Tunaleys are given as follows:

"Tunaley Edward, cabinet maker, Full Street.

Tunaley William, Silk Dyer, Upper Brook Street.

Tunaley Thos Snr., Silk Dyer, 4, Tenant Street.

Tunaley Thos Jnr. Silk Dyer 7, Derwent Street.

Tunaley Samuel, Silk Dyer 17, Derwent Row.

Tunaley Henry, Silk Dyer, Tenant Street.

Tunaley John, Silk Dyer, Tenant Street.

Tunaley Thos Snape, Dancing Master, Full Street."

(Thomas Snape Tunaley was son of Robert Tunaley d. 1820 with the Full

Street property rented out by Robert's widow, Constantia).











Elizabeth Potter


m. Thomas Tunaley Snr. 16-10-1795, Derby.

Elizabeth d. Derby, 5 November 1843, aged 72 years.




Re. Thomas's wife Susannah after Thomas died:

1881 Census: Birth Year 1812;

Birthplace: Derby; Age 69;

Occupation: Retired Dyer;

Marital Status: Widow;

Head of Household: Susannah Tunaley;


Dwelling: 37, London Road, St. Peter, Derby.


Susannah d. 1890, Camberwell, London.



Click here for George Sorocold (1668-1738), "The First British Civil Engineer."


Click here for John Heathcoat and his undoubted influence on the Thomas Tunaleys with his invention and dicovery of the lace-making machine 1807.


Read here about an even more amazing character:

Samuel Slater, from Belper, Derby, father of the American Industrial Revolution following apprenticeship with Jedediah Strutt at Milford, Derbys.















The Tunaley Family History

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