Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

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Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Gisborne and Wilson

From Graces Guide

of Pendleton, Lancashire

Calico printers

Partners are Hartley Packer Gisborne, William Wilson, and Edward Wilson

1842 One man and two boys scalded to death by steam when a boiler failed:
On Monday morning a shocking and fatal accident occurred at the works of Messrs. Gisborne & Wilsons, calico printers, Pendleton, by which three persons were severely scalded. The accident was caused by a rent underneath the boiler of a steam engine. The sufferers, by name Daniel Canovan, Samuel Hulme, and John Diggles, were conveyed to the Infirmary, where Canovan and Hulme have since died of their injuries. Canovan was employed as fireman at the works. The two others are boys, who had gone into the boiler-house to Canovan, in the absence of the engineer. An inquest was held on Canovan and Hulme, at the Infirmary, on Wednesday, before Mr. Rutter, and subsequently before Mr. Chapman, borough coroner, when the following evidence was given as to the cause of the accident:-
John Price said he was engineer in the service of Messrs. Gisborne and Wilsons, calico printers, Whit Lane, Pendleton. Deceased were in the same service. Hulme was a hooker-on of pieces in the stove, and Canovan was a fireman. The explosion took place about five minutes to nine on Monday morning. I had gone out, he says, to fetch a ladder, having just left the boiler-house. I heard a report, and ran to see what was the cause, and the steam and water met me in the face. A new boiler is putting down, and I had gone to fetch the ladder to that. I heard these men "scriking" and ran towards them, and met Daniel Canovan. He told me to get some stuff on him as soon as possible, and, with some other men, I got some oil and lime water as soon as possible, and he was rubbed with it. The other two boys I did not see; they ran down the yard. I found after that the explosion had taken place of the boiler. There were three boilers at work, all in one boiler-house. This worked separately; the others together. When I had ascertained what was amiss I went and started the engine from the other two boilers, and then I found there was a rent in this boiler near to the seams. There was a crack. It was on the bottom, on what is called the crown. That had let the water out into the fire hole. On Saturday last I perceived a leakage, and let the boiler off on Saturday night on purpose to examine it next morning. When I got home I told my father, and he told me to take two of the blacksmiths to mend it. My father is superintendent of the engines. On examination we found a crack about ten inches long close to the seam where the plates are rivetted together, near the crown. The crack ran right into the hole of one of the rivets. Under this crack I cut four rivet holes out of the sold, and four rivets out of a piece of iron to make what is called a "welt" over the crack, to prevent it going further. After that I examined the boiler to see if it was safe, and tried it to see if it leaked. It did not leak, and we filled it and started work at four o'clock on Monday morning, and worked it till the explosion took place. Nothing seemed to be wrong. The rent is a part of the same I repaired, only it has continued further. The seam now is about three feet long.-By a Juror: The welt was not blown of, but the rent had continued further. The welt was of iron. I have been with the firm three years. The men who put the welt on are regular ?? I came out of the boiler-house there was only Canovan in. Hulme was not there. The boiler, I think, has only been in work two years. It appeared to be in good working condition. In three minutes more I should have been in the fire-hole myself.
Moses Price (father of the last witness) said, I live in Great George-street, Salford, and am head engineer to the firm of Gisborne and Wilsons. My duty is to inspect the boilers and engines. We have fifteen boilers and six steam engines at work, and my duty is to look after them all. I was not at the boiler at the time. I was there on Saturday, on the top of it, measuring for another, longer, to go in its place. By a Juror:- We were going to replace it because it was too small. - It appeared to be in good working condition, and the cotters were all safe. I had examined it on Good Friday, and was in it many a time. The plates were all in good order then. When mv son came home he said he had let the little boiler off, and he had done it because he thought there was a leakage, and he thought it best to be safe. I told him he could take two smiths, and he called them up on Sunday morning. There was a tear along the seam, and it turned into one of the rivet holes. They cut fresh holes through the plate and rivetted a welt on. It is considered proper work - better than a screw patch, though they sometimes last for years. As soon as the accident happened they run down far me, and I got into the boiler and found all the stays, straps, and cotters correct, same as I left them. I found the crack had continued up the seam of rivets and caused what we call a seam rent. The seam rent proceeded from the crack. It may have been caused by drifting the holes too much in making the boiler. It was the old rivets that had given way. I considered the boiler in good condition. It was only on Saturday they were praising it as a good one. I durst have slept on it, I thought it so little in danger of explosion; they did not call it indeed an explosion; it was only a bit of a rent.
It was explained here that there were no witnesses who saw the deceased in the boiler house. - Witnesses were offered to show that the boiler was in good condition, but Mr. Rutter's jury expressed themselves satisfied with this evidence, and returned a verdict of 'Accidental death'. -At the inquest held before Mr. Chapman, Mr. Galloway and a smith were examined in addition to the above witnesses. The jury found a verdict in the same terms as the previous jury.
John Diggles, the other sufferer from the accident, died yesterday morning, about twelve o'clock.'[1]

1842 Partnership change. '... the partnership connexion heretofore subsisting between the undersigned Hartley Packer Gisborne, William Wilson, and Edward Wilson, in the business of Calico and De Laine Printers, and carried on in Manchester, in the county of Lancaster, and in London, under the firm of Gisborne and Wilsons, was, on the 24th of June instant, dissolved by mutual consent, the said Hartley Packer Gisborne having then retired from the concern....'[2]

The company appear to have ceased trading around 1848 and the works were taken over by Wilson and Barton.[3]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Manchester Times - Saturday 9 April 1842
  2. The London Gazette Publication date:1 July 1842 Issue:20116 Page:1818
  3. Manchester Times - Saturday 18 August 1849