The Marsden family
The Marsdens owned Moor Oaks House for 36 years, from 1874 to 1910, and so lived here while the Moor Oaks Triangle was developed around the house. Charles Marsden was a very successful paper manufacturer. He had been born in Hathersage to a family who were already established in the papermaking business and he led a period of expansion of the business with the development of new paper mills in Sheffield, Barnsley, Tamworth and Nottingham. Charles moved to the edge of Sheffield (Bennet Grange, Ringinglow) to manage the paper mills in the Rivelin valley, while his younger brothers James and Thomas Marsden looked after the Marsden businesses interests in Hathersage and Barnsley respectively. When Charles and his wife Elizabeth bought Moor Oaks House in 1874 he was 66 years old and his youngest son Horatio (age 27 in 1874), who moved here with them, had taken over the running of the local Marsden business interests. Two older brothers, Charles and Lee, had both died young. Horatio married in 1877 but unfortunately his wife died just one year later at the age of 25, possibly in childbirth. Horatio was very involved in Sheffield’s civic life, for example he was one of the Town Trustees and in addition to his paper business interests he was also a director of the Hadfield Foundry. After Charles death in 1879 Horatio continued to live here alone, but by 1891 the census shows that he had been joined by Ellen Marsden, the widow of his uncle James, her son also called James Marsden age 25 and her daughter Elsie,18. James also worked in the Charles Marsden and co. paper business and he managed the Barnsley mills after his uncle Thomas’s death in 1893. In 1896 James acquired full control of the entire Charles Marsden and Co. business after Horatio became mentally ill. We know this from a published court ruling by the ‘Master of Lunacy’, an officer of the chancery court whose responsibility it was to settle the affairs of people suffering from mental illness and of unsound mind. Horatio died in 1899 leaving James as sole heir. In 1903 James floated the (by then very large) Charles Marsden paper business as a public limited company and he moved away from Sheffield. His mother Ellen continued to live at Moor Oaks until her death in 1910, after which James sold the house at auction.