John Crossland was apparently born on 28 November 1812, the son of Joseph (a cutler), and his wife, Dorothia. Between 1841 and 1864, John was listed as a manufacturer of table knives at Hill Top Works in Park Hill Lane. This was an area known as the Park and Hyde Park, which is now obliterated by housing blocks and motorways. Crossland operated independently, though in the early 1850s he was briefly in partnership with Thomas Turton (dissolved 1855) and also combined his cutlery business with shop keeping. In 1858, he advertised in a Birmingham directory as a maker of spear-point knives and table cutlery ‘in all its branches’.
In 1865, however, John Crossland was bankrupt. By about 1868, Crossland – not to be confused with a spring-knife maker of the same name – was at Porter Island, Arundel Street, where he manufactured table and spring cutlery. He lived in St Mary’s Road. In 1871, the business address was Duke Works, Matilda Street. By 1876, Crossland was manufacturing table, spear, Bowie, dagger and butchers’ knives at Eclipse Works, New George Street. He lived in Sheaf Gardens. John Crossland, ‘manufacturer’, Sheaf Gardens, died (aged 69) on 15 January 1882, leaving £2,641. His burial in the General Cemetery was unconsecrated. His son, Joseph Crossland (1844-1890), was apparently running the business. He was enumerated in the Census (1881) as a cutlery manufacturer employing 30 men. He died on 10 November 1890, aged 46, leaving £741. Another of John’s sons, Frederick Moulson Crossland (1857-1921), took over and the business became ‘Frederick Crossland’. However, the old name was restored in the 1890s at Eclipse Works, Boston Street. Crossland’s continued until about 1900. The trade mark was a skull and crossbones (picture), which was acquired by Reuss & Co.