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British Industrial History

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James Compton Merryweather

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James Compton Merryweather (1840-1917) of Merryweather and Sons

Son of Moses Merryweather

Apprenticed with McGlashan and Field

1918 Obituary [1]

JAMES COMPTON MERRYWEATHER was born at Clapham, London, on 12th March 1840.

He was educated at Chatham House, Ramsgate, and began his engineering training at the Wolverton Works of the London and North Western Railway.

On leaving Wolverton he spent a short time with the firm of McGlashan and Co., coppersmiths, in which he became a partner, but in 1864, owing to the increase in the work at Long Acre, and the failing health of his elder brother Richard, he joined his father in the fire-engine business.

He at first took over the control of the coppersmiths' department at Lambeth which prospered exceedingly, and at the same time he was interested in and had much to do, in conjunction with his brother Richard, with the introduction of steam fire-engines.

A few years later, owing to the death of his father and the retirement of his brother Richard, he became head of the firm. In collaboration with his brother Henry, he was chiefly responsible for the development of steam tramway-engines, of which a description was given in the discussion on A. Mallet's Paper on "Mechanical Traction upon Tramways"; and under his direction, the firm in recent years acquired world-wide renown as pioneers of the motor fire-engine industry, the first engine of this type being placed on the road in 1899.

He was the author of two standard works, the "Fire-Brigade Handbook" and "Fire Protection of Mansions," and was associated with practically all the improvements in fire-extinguishing methods during the past 50 years.

Some years ago he established the first weaving shop for the manufacture of canvas hose in London.

His death took place at his residence in Whitehall Court, Westminster, on 24th November 1917, at the age of seventy-seven.

He became a Member of this Institution in 1875.

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