Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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George Washington Griffiths

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George Washington Griffiths (1844-1924), foundry proprietor

1844 March 24th. Born at Bristol, England, son of Thomas Griffiths, accountant and Congregational minister, and his wife Elizabeth Hawkins. Elder brother of John Alfred Griffiths

1846 The family moved to London

1848 Moved to Manchester where Thomas became a junior partner in A. and S. Henry, cotton merchants

George was educated at Dr Clark's Boarding School, Brill, Buckinghamshire, and briefly at Manchester Mechanics' High School.

1867 July 31st Married by his father to Isabella Park Atherton.

1870 With his wife, children and brother-in-law William Atherton, he sailed for Queensland

1871 Griffiths and Atherton bought a small ironmongery and mechanical repair shop at Toowoomba but Atherton soon left and, after the arrival of a brother, John Alfred Griffiths, and two sisters, the firm became Griffiths Brothers and Co.

Moving to a larger site in 1874, they built a foundry and made their first casting in February 1876.

They survived by making some of Australia's earliest metal windmills until their first contract for railway rolling-stock in 1881.

In 1884 Griffiths bought out his family partners and formed the Toowoomba Foundry and Rolling Stock Manufacturing Co. Ltd with himself as quarter stockholder and managing director.

1911 Married(2) to Margaret Ann Hunt

1924 August 27th. Died at Rose Bay, Sydney, survived by his wife and four daughters and three sons of his first marriage.

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