Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Laird, Kitson and Co

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The original partnership of Todd, Kitson and Laird didn't last long (1838-1839), and in 1839 Messrs. Kitson and Laird withdrew, and Todd continued the existing business with a new partner under the title of Shepherd and Todd of the Railway Foundry.

With Mr. Laird, James Kitson then started new works on or near the site of the present Airedale Foundry under the title of Laird, Kitson and Co and the first wages sheet, amounting to £3 1s. 8d., was paid on May 18th, 1839, to five men who had then worked two to five days. These early wage records were made out in an account book which had belonged to certain Portuguese wool merchants, whose warehouse, contents included, appears to have been taken over.

1840 They built the first locomotives (Nos 1 and 2) for the [[North Midland Railway. Numbers 5, 6, 0 and 10 were for the same railway and with these engines Messrs' Kitson began a long and honourable connection with the Midland. Nos. 3 and 4 were built for the Manchester and Leeds Railway, and 7 and 8 for the York and North Midland Railway.

1842 The company was reconstituted with new partners on the withdrawal of Mr. Laird. Mr Kitson was then joined by Mr. Isaac Thompson, who had been an iron merchant at Northallerton, and by Mr. William Watson Hewitson - the company became known as Kitson, Thompson and Hewitson.[1]

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