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British Industrial History

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Walter Montgomerie Neilson

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Walter Montgomerie Neilson (1819–1889), railway locomotive manufacturer.

1819 Born son of James Beaumont Neilson, the inventor of the hot-blast, in Glasgow.

Trained as a mechanical engineer in the works of his uncle, John Neilson, of the Oakbank Foundry, and under Mr. John McAndrew, in the St. Rollox Engine-Works, Glasgow (perhaps at this early date it was in fact St. Rollox Foundry Co?).

c.1838 Left St Rollox to continue his apprenticeship at Kerr, Mitchell and Neilson.

c.1840 he entered into a partnership with Mr Stewart Kerr, at the Hyde Park Locomotive Works. The business was making land and marine engines

1843 he became a partner in the family firm, which under his direction built their first steam locomotive.

1847 The partnership of Walter Neilson and James Mitchell, engineers and founders, of Hyde Park and Finnieston and City Road, London was dissolved; the business would be carried on by Walter Neilson under the name Neilson and Co[1]

1849 Obtained a patent for a saddle tank engine design.

After 1852 focussed on locomotives

1857 Messrs. Neilson and Co started supplying the Indian railways, eventually supplying 1200 locomotives.

1861 Walter M Neilson 41, Engineer Anderson Foundry, Employing 1000 Men, lived in Glasgow Barony[2]

Also in partnership with his brother, George, as Neilson Brothers making machine tools.

1862 Exhibited a radial steam hammer at the 1862 London Exhibition under his own name

1863 Walter Montgomerie Neilson, Hyde Park Locomotive Works, Glasgow.[3]

1865 On the death of his father he inherited the residential estate of Queenshill, in Kirkcudbrightshire

1872 of Queenshill, Kirkcudbright when he joined the Iron and Steel Institute

1878 Retired from the business

1884 founded the Clyde Locomotive Works in Springburn sited across the railway tracks from the firm still carrying his family name that he had left eight years before. His second enterprise never thrived, largely due to fierce competition from domestic and overseas engine builders,

1888 he sold the business to Sharp, Stewart and Co of Manchester, who relocated to Glasgow.

1889 of Kirkudbright, died in Florence, after some months paralysis. His executors included John Neilson , George Neilson, Walter Neilson, ironmasters in Glasgow[4]


See Also


Sources of Information

  1. London Gazette 17 September 1847
  2. 1861 census
  3. 1863 Institution of Mechanical Engineers
  4. National probate calendar
  • Institution of Civil Engineers [1]
  • Biography of Walter Montgomerie Neilson, ODNB [2]