Darby, Francis (1783 -1850)
Francis Darby, of Sunnyside, and afterwards of the White House, Colebrookdale in Shropshire, was the eldest son of Abraham Darby, the third of the name, of the Quaker family of Ironfounders in Coalbrookdale, and Rebecca Smith. He married, in 1808, Hannah only child of John Grant of Leighton Buzzard. From 1810, he had oversight of the Coalbrook Foundry. His early days were marked by an industrial depression which caused a number of the furnaces to be closed down, but this was followed by a recovery in the early 1820s. Francis Darby was not like most of his family a technical innovator. In private life he collected contemporary art, and in the foundry introduced designers, some of them French, who started a very successful line in decorative artistic castings, not only gates, railings and stoves, but pillars for churches, fountains, and even statues. The library of Francis Darby was sold at auction by Sotheby's 15 June 1904.