After a Quaker schooling he was apprenticed at John Bell’s laboratory on Oxford Street in London in 1814.
He started manufacturing Verdigris and Solution of Tin for the use of dyers, in a yard at Severnside.
c1823 He moved to Birmingham and bought land between the canal and Wheeleys Road from Johnson, the glass manufacturer, for £500. His brother Edmund joined him after completing his schooling.
In 1831 John leased land across the road on which the John and E. Sturge works were later built and the manufacture of citrates, tartrates, bicarbonate of potash and precipitated chalk added to their portfolio
In 1833 he became a director of the London and Birmingham Railway
1837 He married Lydia Wilkins
John died at Cheltenham in December 1840