Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Charles Churchill

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June 1872.

Charles Churchill (1837–1916) of Charles Churchill and Co and the Churchill Machine Tool Co‎

1837 July 8th. Born in Hamden, Connecticut, USA to Willis Churchill, described as "a mechanic of rare ability, original in the style of his goods and in his process of manufacture", who had been manufacturing brass surgical instruments at a time when such instruments were all imported to the US. Willis Churchill founded a factory manufacturing auger drill bits which was so locally prominent that the area of Hamden in which it was situated was called Augerville.

Charles worked in his father's auger manufacturing business but when Willis went to London in 1861 to supervise the installation of wire-covering machinery being exported by Thompson, Langdon and Co of New York City, Charles followed and spotted a business opportunity for himself as he saw the interest that the US-made equipment generated.

The original installation was of machines for wire-braiding crinoline frames.

1865 Charles Churchill and Co initially operated on Charles' own account rather than as a limited company. In his early period of operating in England he was active in patenting engineered items in conjunction with one of several other parties. The London Gazette shows several announcements for protection under the terms of the Patent Law Amendment Act of 1852.

1887 Charles Churchill living at 118 Cazenove Road, Stoke Newington, Middlesex, with offices at 21 Cross Street, Finsbury, trading as Charles Churchill & Co was declared bankrupt by debtors' petition on 1 September 1887. He declared himself bankrupt rather than be declared so by someone to whom he owed money.

1889 The final dividend in bankruptcy was paid and he was released from trusteeship on 29 April 1890. He had applied earlier for discharge but it had been refused on the grounds that he had omitted to keep such books of account as are usual and proper in the business carried on by him, and as sufficiently disclose his business transactions and financial position within three years immediately preceding his bankruptcy; had continued to trade after knowing himself to be insolvent; and had brought on his bankruptcy by rash and hazardous speculations.

1889 Churchill installed, assembled and made ready for productive use the Gatling Gun factory that opened in Birmingham in 1889. This was despite being an undischarged bankrupt. He had formed a partnership with his son, Charles Henry Churchill and in 1888 he obtained another partner when John William Wright Gabriel disposed of his family's interest in a drugs manufacturer, Gabriel and Troke, and joined the Churchills.

1891 Charles Churchill 58, machinery merchant, lived in Stamford Hill, with Charlotte L Churchill 55, Charles H Churchill 27, machinery merchant, Willis L Churchill 22, merchant's clerk, Alice L Churchill 17, Edith M Nevill 1[1]

Charles Churchill suffered ill-health in his later years and retired from active involvement in the companies in 1915. His son, Charles Henry Churchill assumed the responsibilities of chairman and managing director.

Charles Churchill died on 14 or 15 February 1916, his last address was 321 Seven Sisters Road, Stoke Newington, London. His son, C. H. Churchill, had died six days earlier

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. 1891 census