John retired the following year. He and Ellis left Park End, Ormesby and returned to live again in Coatham, at 7 Trafalgar Terrace. He gave his law library to Middlesbrough Town Council in 1908.
These diaries probably survived because they were stored in the office. In the 1990s they were discovered again in old deed boxes in the offices of the successor firm in which John's grandson, great-granddaughter and great-grandson-in-law worked for most of the 20th century: Meek, Stubbs & Barnley of Albert Road, Middlesbrough.
John died on 6 December 1916 at Coatham.
All John's diaries & papers are, as of 10 November 2015, at the North Yorkshire County Record Office.