Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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John Hutchinson (of Widnes)

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John Hutchinson (1825-1865)

Born in Liverpool, son of John Hutchinson who had held a commission in the Royal Navy and then became a shipbroker.

As a student in Paris he met Andrew George Kurtz, the son of Andreas Kurtz who owned an alkali factory in St Helens.

Hutchinson gained a post in Kurtz's factory.

1847 Hutchinson obtained a lease on land in Widnes, where he established his first factory, Hutchinson's No 1 Works.

1850 Married Mary Elizabeth Kinsey; they had five children, three daughters and two sons.

By 1851 Hutchinson was employing 100 men.

c.1853 Hutchinson entered into partnership with Oswald Earle, who had business interests in the lime; they traded as "Hutchinson and Earle". It is likely that Earle was the selling agent for this business.

1859 Built the No 2 Works on land he had acquired from William Gossage.

1861 John Brunner came to work at Hutchinson's, joining his older brother Henry, and he was soon appointed as the office manager.

1862 the German chemist Ludwig Mond also joined Hutchinson's

In addition to his alkali factories, Hutchinson had interests in quarrying, building and farming. He had his own private gasworks near his home in Appleton from which he supplied to gas to customers living nearby. He developed land to the west of his factories where others built factories and where West Bank Dock was built.

1865 By the time of his death Hutchinson was employing 600 men. During his life the population of Widnes had increased almost fivefold. His contemporaries called him "the father of Widnes".

See Also


Sources of Information

  • Wikipedia [1]
  • A History of the Chemical Industry of Widnes, by D. W. F. Hardie (1950). Imperial Chemical Industries