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British Industrial History

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John Hussey Delaval

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John Hussey Delaval, Baron Delaval (1728–1808), industrialist and politician

1728 born the second of Captain Francis Blake Delaval RN, and his wife Rhoda Apreece (d. 1759), heiress, of Doddington, Lincolnshire. (Francis had changed his name to Francis Blake on inheriting the Ford estate in north Northumberland in 1718, and then to Francis Blake Delaval in 1729, on inheriting the coal-rich coastal estates at Seaton Delaval and at Hartley in south-east Northumberland.)

Educated at Westminster School, Eton and Pembroke College, Cambridge

1750 married Susanna Potter, née Robinson (d. 1783), widow of John Potter, thereby acquiring property in Soho and Mayfair, Westminster.

1754 defeated the young John Wilkes at Berwick in the general election

He enclosed and divided Ford, a rural and largely barren estate of about 7000 acres. By 1794 plantations had been established, and farmsteads extended or rebuilt; estate rental increased from about £1000 to nearly £5000.

Extended the collieries and limeworks and built a brick and tile works and an iron forge.

1761 Delaval lost his seat in parliament. He was created a baronet.

Added considerably to his businesses in Hartley - pumping engines and wagon-ways were introduced at the pits

1764 The harbour was improved to cope with the resultant increased coal production as well as the products of a glass-bottle works that Delaval had established in 1762.

For a period after 1764, family disagreements led to his younger brother Thomas assuming responsibility for the Hartley enterprises.

1765 regained his seat at a by-election and held it in 1768.

1771 John resumed control of the businesses.

1774 Lost the Doddington estate to his brother Edward. Having spent £17,000 on improvements there, John sought revenge by ordering every tree on the estate to be felled.

1783 Delaval received an Irish peerage and an English peerage in 1786

By 1788, Delaval's Royal Northumberland Bottle Works had become the largest in the country. Copperas production was also begun, using iron pyrites found in some coals, to provide a colouring agent for the glass, and also for export.

John refused to be bound by the cartel of the Tyneside coal traders. He also built an industrial village alongside the harbour. By 1790 Seaton Sluice, with forty-three cottage houses also had a market square, a school, a brewery, and public houses.

1803 Suffered some financial pain when his bank, Surtees and Burdon in Newcastle, crashed

1808 died without a male heir on 17 May 1808 at Seaton Delaval Hall

See Also


Sources of Information

  • Biography of John Hussey Delaval, ODNB