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British Industrial History

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John Inshaw (of Birmingham)

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1808 Baptised in Birmingham, son of Joseph and Ann Inshaw[1]

1847 John Inshaw took on young William Stroudley as an apprentice. Mrs Inshaw grew fond of Stroudley, and taught him mathematics. Later in life he presented Mrs Inshaw with a generous gift of £100.[2]

1861John Inshaw 52, practical engineer employing 8 men, lived in Laddywood with Ann Inshaw 41, Mary Maria Inshaw 18, Lucy Ann Inshaw 12, Clara Elizth Inshaw 10, Rosa Adelude Inshaw 8, John George Inshaw 6, Anne Lousia Inshaw 3, William Richd Inshaw 1[3]

1857 of Engine Works, Morville Street, Birmingham.[4]

1857 Member of I Mech E

Also see J. Inshaw

1881 Living at 188 Lichfield Rd., Aston, Birmingham: John Inshaw (age 73 St. Mary's, B'ham), Civil Engineer - Widower. With his two sons John G. Inshaw (age 26 born Ladywood, B'ham), Paper maker, and Albert E. Inshaw (age 18 born Ladywood, B'ham), Paper maker. Two servants.[5]

1893 Engineer and paper manufacturer, died in Birmingham[6]

1893 Obituary[7]


By the death at Birmingham, on the morning of the 13st inst., of Mr. John Inshaw, at the age of 85 years, there has passed away an engineer skilled in all branches of mechanics, and closely associated with the early efforts in the improvement of means of transport. Early in life he showed a preference for mechanics, and so proficient had he become that when only 14 years of age, in 1821, he lighted his father’s house with gas. He numbered among his intimate friends George Stephenson, who on several occasions consulted him as to the construction of locomotive wheels. He was largely instrumental in the introduction of steamboats on the canals in the Midlands, building several steamers which acted as tugboats and superseded horse haulage. He used them sometimes, too, for conveying passengers, a notable occasion being the transporting of passengers from Birmingham for the Wolverhampton races, the fare being but Is. fid. He carried on business as an engineer in Birmingham and was amongst the first to introduce the steam pressure gauge, the injector for use in boilers and the bilge of vessels, and the water gauge still used by the Birmingham Corporation. He gained a prize of 100 guineas in a competition for speed in steamers on the Regent’s Canal by introducing the twin-screw. His knowledge of mechanics was serviceable on several occasions while travelling. On one occasion he received a testimonial from the passengers of the Channel steamer running between Ireland and Liverpool for services rendered when the engines broke down, the signatories including Charles Dickens. When a spectator of the unsuccessful efforts to launch the Great Eastern, he suggested the use of hydraulic presses, which, on being secured from Birmingham, overcame the difficulty. On still another occasion, when travelling by train to Derby as a technical witness in the same train with judges and counsel, he was requested to make examination and ascertain the cause of a breakdown of the locomotive. By putting it right and thus preventing the delay of justice, for those were pre-telegraph days, he earned the thanks of the Midland Company. In Birmingham he was recognised and consulted as an authority on all subjects associated with mechanics, and on several festive occasions, such as a royal visit, made special balloons for pyrotechnic displays. He has left, too, several relics of mechanical skill in the form of steam clocks, &c., the ingenuity of which had been admired by the Prince Consert, the Earl of Beaconsfield, and others. He took his part in the government of Birmingham, was a member of the Society of Mechanical Engineers from 1859, and of the Steam Enginemakers’ Society from 1836. For 14 years he has, in conjunction with his sons, carried on the Aston Manor Paper Mills."

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. BMD
  2. 'William Stroudley - Craftsman of Steam' by H. J. Campbell Cornwell, David & Charles, 1968
  3. 186 census
  4. 1857 Institution of Mechanical Engineers
  5. 1881 Census
  6. National Probate Calendar
  7. Engineering 1893/01/20