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British Industrial History

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John Ashbury (1806-1866)

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Tomb in Kensal Green Cemetery. (Detail).

John Ashbury (1806-1866) of John Ashbury and Ashbury Railway Carriage and Iron Co

1806 January 31st. Born the younger son of Thomas Ashbury (1765-1810), a storekeeper and his wife Ann Hindley (1766-1821), shoe makers from Pits 'Oth Moor, Barton on Irwell. John's older brothers James Ashbury and Thomas Ashbury were also shoe makers and lived and worked in the south Manchester area. John's parents and brothers were buried in Barton Wesleyan Chapel Cemetery with other members of their family during the 19th and early 20th century.

He was residing with his uncle in Winton, near Manchester

1825 He was about 19 years of age when he bound himself as an apprentice to a wheelwright in Manchester where he became a skilled workman in wood and iron.

Having been entrusted with the building of some coal wagons for the Manchester and Leeds Railway, he commenced building railway wagons resulting in the large works at Openshaw for making railway carriages and wagons. A forge, rolling mill and puddling furnaces were also added to make iron for the manufacture of general railway plant.

1834 October 19th. Married Frances Lloyd

1834 Birth of son James Lloyd Ashbury

1835 March 15th. Birth of daughter Mary Ann Ashbury

1846 June 27th. Death of daughter Mary Ann age 11 years, only daughter of John Ashbury of Great Jackson street, Hulme [1]

1851 Living at Poplar Grove, Gorton Lane, Gorton (age 45 born Manchester), a Railway Carriage and Wagon Wheel Manufacturer. With his wife Frances (age 45 born Manchester) and their son James (age 18 born Manchester), an Assistant. Four servants. [2]

1866 September 2nd. Died at his residence in Sussex Place, Hyde Park Gardens, London, age 60 years following a short illness.

1866 November. Will Valued at £400,000 proved by James Ashbury. Leaves his nephew Thomas Ashbury £2,000, each of his other nephews £500, his brother Thomas an annuity of £100 and £100 to his housekeeper. The remainder to his son James. [3]

1867 Obituary [4]

John Ashbury was born on 31st January 1806, and resided with his uncle at Winton near Manchester, until he was about nineteen years of age, when he bound himself apprentice to a wheelwright in Manchester. His energy and industry soon obtained for him the position of a first-class workman both in wood and iron.

About 1840 he began business in a small way in Manchester as a wheelwright; and having been entrusted with the building of a few coal wagons for the Manchester and Leeds Railway, he subsequently entered upon the building of railway wagons, and in 1847 commenced the large works at Openshaw near Manchester for building railway carriages and wagons. A forge, rolling mill, and puddling furnaces were afterwards added, for making iron and for the manufacture of general railway plant.

The works became ultimately so extensive and complete that in 1862 a railway goods wagon was entirely constructed in a single day for the International Exhibition (with the exception only of the steel springs), the timber work being cut from the log and the whole of the ironwork made from the pig iron; the work was commenced at 6 a.m., and the wagon was finished, loaded with goods, and sent away to London at 7 p.m. the same day.

The works were disposed of to a Limited Liability Company in the year 1862.

Mr. Ashbury died at his residence in London on 2nd September 1866 at the age of sixty, after a short illness.

He was a Member of this Institution from 1848.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser - Saturday 04 July 1846
  2. 1851 Census
  3. Manchester Times - Saturday 03 November 1866
  4. 1867 Institution of Mechanical Engineers: Obituaries Minutes of the Proceedings