Details of Benjamin’s schooling are so far undiscovered although he is recorded in the 1861 census as being a scholar. The term however does not mean that he was attending school but that he was of school age. He was literate but there do not seem to be any records of where or for how long he attended school. However, it seems that in the 1860s Benjamin was apprenticed as a knife grinder. This was dangerous, arduous work giving him the prospect of a hard and short life. Depending upon the type of grinding, the average life expectancy could be as low as 30 or 40 years.
By about 1856 Benjamin’s parents, Edward and Mary, had eight children. There is little doubt that the contribution of every member to the income of the family would be important.
Benjamin married Fanny Goodhall in 1873 in Ecclesall Bierlow District, Yorkshire. Between about 1874 and 1890 they had eight children.
The family had moved by 1871 to Freedom Road, Walkley, which Ogden describes as ‘the working-man’s garden suburb’. This was part of the area where the co-operative effort of the Freehold Land Societies enabled land to be bought on the side of the Rivelin Valley. The land was then divided into allotments where the members could build small houses with generous garden plots. The political aim behind this was to enable the men to become property owners, which at that time was the only way in which they could become voters. Ogden points out that the Creswick family ‘must have been members of the Freedom Hill Society’. The family occupied three different houses in this street at various times. Isaac Ironside, the well-known Chartist Leader on the Council, lived in the neighbouring street.’