Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Head, Wrightson and Co

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April 1870.
June 1872.
Exhibit at Beamish Museum.
Exhibit at Beamish Museum.
1873. Exhibit at Beamish Museum.
1875. Moore's pulley block.
1878. Bridge for the Indus Valley Railway.
1888. Contractors of the pier.
August 1899.
October 1909.
February 1913.
April 1913.
1914. The Scherzer Rolling Lift Bridge Over the Pamban Channel.
1914. The Scherzer Rolling Lift Bridge Over the Pamban Channel.
Seaham Harbour, No17.
December 1929.
1948. Exhibit at Coldharbour Mill
18th March 1961.
July 1961.
June 1962.
January 1965.

Head, Wrightson and Co, engineers and iron founders, of Thornaby-on-Tees and Teesdale Ironworks, Stockton-on-Tees

1840: An iron works was founded at Stockton.

1851: Teesside's first blast furnace was built, after iron ore was discovered in the Cleveland Hills.

1856 Thomas Howard Head started the Teesdale Iron Works at Stockton-on-Tees in partnership with Joseph Wright. The firm was known as Head and Wright. Later Joseph Ashby joined the firm.

1859: Mr. Skinner bought the Teesdale Iron Works.

1860 Joseph Wright of Teesdale Iron Works gained a patent on lifting apparatus for use in mines, also useful for raising heavy weights[1].

1860: Mr. Skinner bought the Cotton Mill.

1860 July: Upon dissolution of a partnership, Messrs Head, Wright and Ashby made a declaration about the ownership of 2 pieces of land in South Stockton and Thornaby[2].

1860 Joseph Wright left the partnership with Thomas Head and Joseph Ashby, under the firm Head, Wright and Ashby, ironfounders and engineers[3], the style of the firm being afterwards Head, Ashby and Co.

1860/70s built locomotives

1865 The firm made cast iron and wrought iron for boilers, railway chairs, naval ships, and many bridges across the world, the largest being in India. The firm employed 450 people.

1866 Head, Ashby and Co, Teesdale Iron Works, advertised a machine that consumed smoke and improved the economy of fuel use, based on Juckes' patent, improved by the company[4].

1866 Thomas Wrightson, having trained at William Armstrong's works, joined the firm, Head, Ashby and Co[5].

1867 After 12 years with the business, Thomas Howard Head sold his interest to Messrs. C. A. Head and Thomas Wrightson. The firm became Messrs. Head, Wrightson and Co Ltd.

1867 Alteration of partnership between Thomas Howard Head, Charles Arthur Head and Thomas Wrightson on the retirement of Thomas Head[6]. In the same file is an undated draft agreement between T. H. Head and M. T. Shaw of 141 Cannon St.

1867 Dissolution of partnership Thomas Howard Head and Joseph Ashby[7] under the firm Head, Ashby and Co in October 1866[8].

1888 Head, Wrightson and Co exhibited a model of the Empress Bridge for the Indus Valley Railway from a design by Sir A. M. Rendel, as well as a hydraulic centre crane for steel plant patented by T. Wrightson which incorporating an automatic fluid balancing system[9].

1889 Rolling Mill Engines for the Bowesfield Iron Co

1890 Public company. The company was registered on 21 June, to take over the business of engineers and general contractors of the firm of the same name. [10]. Mr. C. A. Head was chairman and Mr. William Anderson was managing director.

1890 The works was three times as big as in 1860, and covered Thornaby Carrs.

1892: The firm employed 1,200 people.

1897 Acquired Stockton Forge[11].

1900 Issue of preference shares for machinery for Teesdale Iron Works, Stockton Foundry and Egglescliffe Foundry (purchased in 1900)[12].

1915 Built 6 of the 'X' lighters for naval use, 4 were powered and 2 were dumb craft. They were an early form of landing craft.

1922 Head, Wrightson and Co acquired the interest in Whitwell and Co previously held by Amalgamated Industrials[13].

1939 See Aircraft Industry Suppliers

1955 Four industrial groups formed to exploit the information being made available by UKAEA on design of nuclear power "furnaces" - Industrial Atomic Energy Group involving AEI and John Thompson with electrical generating expertise from Metropolitan-Vickers and BTH; English Electric Co and Babcock and Wilcox; C. A. Parsons and Co and Head, Wrightson and Co; GEC and Simon-CarvesLtd[14].

1960 Advert for ore mining and treatment plant. Head, Wrightson Stockton Forge Limited of Stockton Forge Works, Stockton-on-Tees

1961 General engineers, designing and manufacturing equipment for winning and processing coal, oil and iron ore; reactors and other atomic plant; builders of bridges and other steel structures. 636 employees. [15]

1968 The firm employed nearly 6,000 people and mostly made boilers and other heavy engineering. Its factory covered 68 acres.

1983 Owned by Davy Corporation. Under the Lazard scheme to reduce capacity in castings, the Thornaby and Billingham foundries were closed[16]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Bradford Observer, 12 April 1860
  2. National Archives [1]
  3. London Gazette, 27 July 1860
  4. The Leeds Mercury, 31 August 1866
  5. NE England's history[2]
  6. National Archives [3]
  7. National Archives [4]
  8. London Gazette, 20 December 1867
  9. Glasgow Herald, 23 August 1888
  10. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  11. National Archives [5]
  12. The North-Eastern Daily Gazette, 29 June 1900
  13. The Times, 26 June 1922
  14. The Times, 17 March 1955
  15. 1961 Dun and Bradstreet KBE
  16. Competition Commission report on William Cook, 1990
  • British Steam Locomotive Builders by James W. Lowe. Published in 1975. ISBN 0-905100-816
  • [6] Wikipedia
  • The Engineer of 15th Feb 1889 p144
  • Mining Year Book 1960. Published by Walter E. Skinner. Advert p425
  • Obituary of Thomas Howard Head, 1880, Institution of Civil Engineers Minutes of the Proceedings.