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British Industrial History

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Thomas Wrightson

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Sir Thomas Wrightson (1839-1921) of Head, Wrightson and Co

Trained at William Armstrong's works.

1866 Joined the firm of Head, Ashby and Co[1].

1867 Thomas Howard Head sold his interest in the firm to Messrs. C. A. Head and T. Wrightson. The firm became Messrs. Head, Wrightson and Co Ltd.

1897 of 5 Victoria Street, Westminster, London.

1921 Obituary [2]

SIR THOMAS WRIGHTSON, Bart., was born at Haughton-le-Skerne, near Darlington, on 31st March 1839, and was educated at private schools and at King's College, London.

He served his apprenticeship with his cousin, Lord Armstrong, at Elswick, and then went to Westminster to study civil engineering.

At the age of twenty-five he entered the employment of Head, Ashby, and Co., of South Stockton — now Thornaby — and shortly afterwards joined the firm, which became known as Head, Wrightson, and Co., subsequently converted into a limited company in 1890.

For many years he was vice-chairman, and latterly chairman of the company, one of the largest bridge-building businesses of the country.

He was also a director at one time of the North-Eastern Steel Co., Middlesbrough, and was chairman of the Cramlington Colliery Co., in Northumberland.

For upwards of thirty years he was closely identified with the public life of Stockton and Thornaby, and was an active member of the Tees Conservancy Commission.

He was Member of Parliament for Stockton from 1892 to 1895, and for St. Pancras East from 1899 to 1906, when he was defeated. A Baronetcy was conferred on him. in 1900. He was deeply interested in problems outside engineering, and was the author of a new theory of hearing, which he expressed in a work entitled "An Inquiry into the Analytical Mechanism of the Internal Ear."

His death took place at Neasham Hall, Darlington, on 18th June 1921, at the age of eighty-two.

He became a Member of this Institution in 1871, and served on the Alloys Research Committee from 1895. He was also a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers, and of the Iron and Steel Institute.

1921 Obituary [3]

Sir THOMAS WRIGHTSON, Bart., died on June 18, 1921, at Neasham Hall, Darlington. He was chairman of the firm of Head, Wrightson & Co., Teesdale Iron Works, Thornaby-on-Tees, and for a time a director of the North Eastern Steel Co., Ltd., Middlesbrough.

He was born in 1839 at Hangleton-le-Skerne, near Darlington, and received iris education at private schools and at King's College, London. He selected engineering as a profession, and served an apprenticeship at the Elswick Works, Tyneside, of which his cousin, Sir William Armstrong (afterwards Lord Armstrong), was then the head. He also spent some time in civil engineering at Westminster with Sir John Fowler and Sir Benjamin Baker.

In 1864 he went to the Teeside Ironworks, one of the largest bridge-building concerns in the country. He had a great deal to do with the building up the fortunes of this firm. Mr. C. A. Head, the senior partner, retired, but Sir Thomas remained the active spirit and chairman of the company until his death. The public life of Stockton and Thornaby-on-Tees for many years received his careful consideration ; he was an active member of the Tees Conservancy Board, and held the position of chairman of the Works Committee of that body. He was also for a time chairman of the Stockton Chamber of Commerce. He was a Member of Parliament for Stockton from 1892 to 1895, and for East St. Pancras from 1899 to 1906. He was created a baronet in 1900.

He was a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers, and of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. He was elected a member of the Iron and Steel Institute in 1872, and has contributed the following papers to the Institute; "Patent Hydraulic Apparatus for Lowering Charges into Blast-Furnaces," 1872; "A New Form of Wagon Drop for Blast-Furnaces," 1874; "Some Physical Changes occurring in Iron and Steel at High Temperatures," 1879 and 1880; "A New Form of Centre Crane for Bessemer Plant," 1883; "The Application of Travelling Belts to the Shipment of Coal," 1897. He also frequently took part in the discussions.

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