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British Industrial History

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Thomas Howard Head

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1871. Exhibit at Beamish Museum.

Thomas Howard Head (1833-1880).

of 90 Cannon Street, London (1871)

1833 Born in Ipswich, son of Jeremiah Head and his wife Mary. Brother of Jeremiah Head (1835-1899)

1841 Living at Ipswich: Jeremiah Head (age c52), Independent. With his wife Mary Head (age c40) and their children John Head (age c9), Thomas Head (age c8), Henry Head (age c6), Jeremiah Head (age c5), George Head (age c4), Charles Head (age c3), and Mary Head (age c1).[1]

1858 of Teesdale Iron Works.[2]

1860 Thomas Howard Head was in partnership with William Whitwell, Thomas Whitwell, Joseph Wright, and Joseph Ashby of South Stockton, iron manufacturers, under the firm of William Whitwell and Co[3].

1867 Feeling the northern climate trying to his health, he sold his interest to Messrs. C. A. Head and T. Wrightson, and went to London, where he became a member of the firm of M. T. Shaw, Head and Co., engineers and contractors.

1868 Dissolution of the partnership of Thomas Howard Head, Joseph Ashby and William Chaplin carrying on business as contractors at 9 Dowgate Hill, London, and at Weston-Super-Mare, under the firm of William Chaplin and Co; the business would be carried on by William Chaplin[4].

1871 Built a vertical boiler locomotive for the Dorking Greystone Lime Co or possibly built by Head, Wrightson and Co [5]

1880 Died in Devon; his brothers Charles Arthur Head of Stockton on Tees, ironmaster, and Albert Alfred Head, insurance broker of London, were executors.[6]

1880 Obituary [7]

MR. THOMAS HOWARD HEAD, second son of the late &fr. Jeremiah Head, J.P., of Ipswich, was born on the 30th of March, 1833.

In 1849 he entered as a pupil the Orwell Works, Ipswich, then belonging to the firm of Ransome and May. On completing his apprenticeship in 1855, he obtained an appointment as inspector of materials for Indian railways, and resided a year at Middlesbrough in that capacity.

In partnership with Mr. Joseph Wright (now of the Neptune Forge, Tipton), he commenced, in 1856, the Teesdale Iron Works, at Stockton-on-Tees. After a time Mr. Wright retired in favour of Mr. Joseph Ashby, the style of the firm being first, Head and Wright, and afterwards Head, Ashby, and Co.

During the twelve years Mr. Head was a member of the Stockton firm, many important works were executed. These consisted of bridges, piers, blast-furnace and rolling-mill plant, shunting locomotives, iron roofing and general foundry and fitting work. The Teesdale Iron Works became indeed a large and important establishment in his hands.

In 1861, feeling the northern climate trying to his health, he sold his interest to the present, proprietors, Messrs. C. A. Head and T. Wrightson, and went to London, where he became a member of the firm of Messrs. M. T. Shaw, Head and Co., engineers and contractors, their business laying for the most part with architects and builders.

In 1871 this partnership was dissolved, and he commenced in a similar way on his own account, and added certain engagements as consulting engineer. In the latter capacity he was responsible for a time for the conduct of the mining operations of the Coleford Haematite Company, and of the Flour Mill Colliery Company, both in the Forest of Dean.

In his ordinary business he took into partnership Mr. C. Williams, the firm then becoming Head, Williams and Co. They, among other works, obtained the contract for the iron roof of the New National Gallery.

In 1877 delicacy of health compelled him to give up business, and to seek in Devonshire a more genial climate than that of London. He retired to Axminster, and there remained until he died of consumption on the 11th of July, 1880.

His vivacity of temperament and geniality of manner gained him the goodwill of all with whom he came in contact. He was generally popular, and his loss will be deeply felt by a large circle of friends. He was elected an Associate of the Institution on the 7th of May, 1872.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. 1841 Census
  2. 1858 Institution of Mechanical Engineers
  3. London Gazette, Issue 22407 27 July 1860
  4. London Gazette 23350, 7 February 1868
  5. British Steam Locomotive Builders by James W. Lowe. Published in 1975. ISBN 0-905100-816
  6. National Probate Calendar
  7. 1880 Institution of Civil Engineers: Obituaries