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Frederick Ingle

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Frederick Ingle (1839-1912), of Dennett and Ingle, building engineer

1912 Obituary [1]

Frederick Ingle died on 30 May 1912 at 73 years old, ending an eclectic life of architecture, science and philanthropy.

Frederick was the son of Edward Ingle and his second wife Eleanor. Eleanor Butterfield was born in Waltham-on-the-Wolds but her family moved to Gosberton where she and Edward were married. Edward was a worsted manufacturer at the time of Frederick’s birth. By the time he was 60 he was a farmer who owned 333 acres around Colsterworth and employed six men and was a Trustee of the Sproxton Methodist Chapel Frederick was born when his parents were in their late 30’s. He had a half-sister Sarah and a half brother John Edward.

After leaving school Frederick, was articled as an architect to Mr Hinde of Nottingham. In 1861, at the age of 22, he lived on his own in a small lodging at 19 Promenade, St Mary’s in Nottingham as Mr Hinde’s “architect’s clerk”. However, when he had completed his term he moved his employment to the building contracting firm of Mr Dennett in Nottingham. Robert Dennett had originally traded with Ananias Dennett as A & R Dennett but on the death of Ananias in 1865 (for whom Frederick was an executor) the business became R. Dennett & Co. Robert Dennett was a well-known figure in Nottingham and he was Sheriff of Nottingham in 1887/8.

The firm grew large, particularly in the construction of fireproofing. It had use of the patent awarded to Charles Colton Dennett in 1863 for fireproof arches, which supported the interiors of buildings, made out of concrete encasing timber or iron.

Frederick did well in this business and improved on the Dennett fireproofing system by encasing structural pillars in fire-resisting concrete. He told the scientific and engineering communities about this in his paper of 1866, presented at the meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, entitled “On recent improvements in the application of concrete to fireproof constructions” In the article he commented on the dangers of spraying concrete, during fires, with water. When in contact with the water, the lime in the concrete expanded rapidly forcing adjoining walls outwards and causing the buildings to collapse. Frederick recommended that gypsum should be used instead of the lime as the gypsum did not expand and, so, the buildings were more likely to survive.

In the census of 1871, Frederick is recorded as staying with the Dennett family at Station Street, St Mary’s, Nottingham, where the firm also had its building yard. Charles Colton Dennett, the patentee, was another visitor at the house on that day.

Frederick soon became a partner, along with Colton Maw who had been the firm’s building foreman and stonemason. Colton Maw retired from the business on 22 December 1880 and the name of the business was changed to Dennett & Ingle Ltd. It was awarded many prestigious contracts and was responsible for building, amongst many other edifices, Bestwood St Mark’s Church and the Prince of Wales Brewery in Nottingham.

However, Dennett & Ingle were best known as contractors providing two construction features. Firstly, they installed their ironwork in buildings such as the Dalston Theatre in Hackney and the Empress Theatre in Brixton. Secondly, and most importantly, they were renowned for their concrete fireproofing construction which, to give some examples, they built into the Town Hall in Newport, South Wales and the Liberal Club in Burton-on-Trent. The architect Sir Gilbert Scott favoured their technique and it can be seen in such buildings as the Foreign Office in Whitehall (where the ironwork is exposed and decorated), the Royal Courts of Justice and St Thomas’ Hospital.

By 1881 Frederick had a residence in London at 47 Grosvenor Road in Westminster where he described himself as “building contractor”.

The work of Dennett & Ingle was widely appreciated and the business was listed in the “Royal Blue Book” of 1906.

Such was the demand for the fireproofing technique that it was exported to the United States and Frederick’s firm was granted a US Patent in 1870. However, this international work lead to a certain amount of difficulty for Frederick himself. In order to make use of the design in the USA, the technique was licensed to an agent. However, it was felt, after a short while, that the agent did not promote it enough or derive sufficient royalties, though he insisted on claiming exclusive rights over the patent in the U.S.. In 1873 Frederick wrote to the agent urging more activity. However, a flurry of correspondence between Frederick and the agent ended in litigation in California and then an unsuccessful appeal by the agent in the US Supreme Court in the 1883 case of Laver v Dennett.

Frederick kept himself occupied when he was not thinking about his construction work. He was interested in science as well as engineering and is listed as a member of the British Astronomical Association in 1894.

After the death of Robert Dennett, Frederick took sole control of the firm but remained in close contact with the family and was staying with them at Barton Lodge, Camberwell Road, Camberwell at the time of the 1891 census.

At the age of 72, Frederick was still working living at his London house at 24 Queen Anne’s Gate in Westminster, being described in the census as “Engineer”. The offices of Dennett & Ingle were also located there, having moved from their previous London location of 5, Whitehall.

Frederick, did have political affiliations, being a member of the National Liberal Club but his activities did not extend much beyond paying his subscription to the Stanmore Division. He was Non-Conformist in his religion, donating to both the chapels in Colsterworth, but this did not deter him giving £50 for the restoration of the bells in the Colsterworth parish church.

He made his will on 6 February 1909. This left the majority of his property to his niece Sarah Abbot, although some houses were bequeathed to the tenants who lived in the dwellings. This property was extensive comprising his London house in Queen Anne’s Gate (including his Chippendale furniture), two pairs of villas in Wilford Lane, Nottingham and 15 cottages in Glebe Street, Nottingham. He also had property in and around Colsterworth.

Frederick bequeathed money to the Dennett family, to each of the widows of the employees of Dennett & Ingle and to its draughtsmen, clerks, foremen, yardmen labourers, carpenters and plasterers. He left sums to a large number of second cousins including those who lived in Philadelphia, USA, New South Wales, Australia and Bombay, India and to Robert Hill Ingle who was one of the first guides of the volcanic park of Rotorua in New Zealand. Surprisingly, he also made bequests of £100 each to second cousins with whom he had never had contact. This required his executors to place advertisements in newspapers in Australia, New Zealand and USA asking anyone who thought they were related to Frederick to come forward to the solicitors with evidence.

Most importantly he left sums to charities in London and Nottingham. In Lincolnshire his will stated that his bequest go “to charities in the neighbourhood of Colsterworth, Grantham, Stamford”.

Frederick’s funeral took place at his house, Middlefield in Colsterworth, and the parish church of St John the Baptist rang a muffled peal of bells in the evening. Mourners came from across the country, from Manchester, Nottingham and London, and there were many tributes including the message on the wreath from the well-known Grantham solicitor Mr R. F. Moresby White - “a kinder heart never beat”

In Colsterworth his executors established three charities The Benevolent Fund, the Nursing Fund and the Pension Fund. These were later amalgamated into a single fund now known as the Frederick Ingle Charities which, thanks to the skill and commitment of its trustees, still operates today supporting the people of Colsterworth.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. David Skydmore 2017/03/20