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British Industrial History

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A. and W. C. Bodley

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Column of large weighing scales at Exeter Quay
Detail of column of large weighing scales at Exeter Quay. Date: 1839?

A & W C Bodley of Exeter

Members of the Bodley family ran iron foundry and engineering businesses in Exeter over a period of 177 years. An excellent account is available online. [1]

1840 Partnership dissolved - A. & W. C. Bodley. [2]. Partnership dissolved Alfred Bodley and William Canute Bodley, Exeter, Ironfounders [3]

A beam engine preserved at Goolwa Riverboat Centre in South Australia is believed to have been built by Bodley Brothers in the late 1840s - early 1850s[4]. Those dates would suggest A & W C Bodley rather than Bodley Brothers and Co. It was important to South Australia by contractors building the Port Elliot breakwater. It was then used until the late 1920s for hauling boats out of the water at Goolwa Patent Slipway. The engine is of a most unusual design.

Existing Waterwheels

  • Lapford Mill, Lapford. SS 729078. 12ft by 6ft breastshot, restored 1995. ‘W. C. Bodley Bonhay Foundry Exeter. J Dicker Machinist Chagford.’
  • Morris’s edge tool works, Dunsford. SX 8072 8845. Listed Grade II. Undershot waterwheel. ‘Massive cast iron naves by W. C. BODLEY, BONHAY, EXETER. The timber work renewed in the late 1980s by Ron Hobley of Broadclyst..’
  • Nymet Mill, Nymet Rowland. SS 7115 0910. 13ft by 4ft 6in high breastshot cast by ‘W C & C BODLEY WEST OF ENGLAND FOUNDRY BONHAY EXETER’ – outward facing text on nave or axle boss. The wheel was assembled and ordered by ‘B Webber, Millwright, Nymet Rowland’. This second text appears within an oval moulding on the shroud. It appears Webber was also miller here at the time, thought to be circa 1840-1845.

[W C Bodley was bankrupt in 1855 .. Thomas Kerslake, of 193 High Street, bought the establishment in 1857: ‘T.K. begs to inform the public that he has lately purchased the West of England Foundry, together with all the Patterns and Machinery, late the property of W. C. Bodley’.]

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. [1] Exeter Memories website, Bodley & Co. webpage, Written by David Cornforth and Anne Speight
  2. Birmingham Journal, 11th July 1840
  3. London Gazette, July 7th 1840
  4. Old Glory magazine August 2015