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John Ashbury was the younger son of Thomas Ashbury (1765-1810) and Ann (Hindley) Ashbury (1766-1821); shoe makers from Pits 'Oth Moor, Barton on Irwell, situated in the area of south Manchester known at that time as THE SALFORD HUNDRED. John's older brothers James Ashbury and Thomas Ashbury were also shoe makers, Thomas also a storekeeper. They also lived and worked in the south Manchester area. John's parents and brothers were buried in Barton Wesleyan Chapel Cemetery with other members of their family during the 19th and early 20th century.
John Ashbury was born on the 31st January 1806, residing with his uncle in Winton, near Manchester until he was about 19 years of age when he bound himself as an apprentice to a wheelright in Manchester. He soon became a skilled workman in wood and iron. Having been entrusted with the building of some coal wagons for the Manchester and Leeds Railway, he commenced building railway wagons resulting in the large works at Openshaw for making railway carriages and wagons. A forge, rolling mill and puddling furnaces were also added to make iron for the manufacture of general railway plant.
John Ashbury died at his residence in Kensington, London on the 2nd September 1866 age 60 years following a short illness. John Ashbury, his wife Frances and their son James Lloyd Ashbury (1834-1895) - a conservative Member of Parliament for the constituency of Brighton and a keen yachtsman, first challenger for the Americas' Cup; are buried in Kensal Green Cemetery in London.
1867 Obituary 
John Ashbury was born on 31st January 1806, and resided with his uncle at Winton near Manchester, until he was about nineteen years of age, when he bound himself apprentice to a wheelwright in Manchester. His energy and industry Boon obtained for him the position of a first-class workman both in wood and iron.
About 1840 he began business in a small way in Manchester as a wheelwright; and having been entrusted with the building of a few coal wagons for the Manchester and Leeds Railway, he subsequently entered upon the building of railway wagons, and in 1847 commenced the large works at Openshaw near Manchester for building railway carriages and wagons. A forge, rolling mill, and puddling furnaces were afterwards added, for making iron and for the manufacture of general railway plant.
The works became ultimately so extensive and complete that in 1862 a railway goods wagon was entirely constructed in a single day for the International Exhibition (with the exception only of the steel springs), the timber work being cut from the log and the whole of the ironwork made from the pig iron; the work was commenced at 6 a.m., and the wagon was finished, loaded with goods, and sent away to London at 7 p.m. the same day.
The works were disposed of to a Limited Liability Company in the year 1862.
Mr. Ashbury died at his residence in London on 2nd September 1866 at the age of sixty, after a short illness. He was a Member of this Institution from 1848.