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British Industrial History

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Murch and Spence

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Murch & Spence of Bridgwater Iron Foundry, Eastover, Bridgwater

1864 Partnership of Murch and Spence, between William Edward Murch and Robert Spence, iron founders and engineers of Eastover, Bridgwater, dissolved by mutual consent. Business to be carried on by Robert Spence [1]

1866 Advertising as Murch & Spence, Horticultural Engineers, &c.[2]

1867 Bath & West of England Show: 'Messrs. Murch and Spence, of Bridgwater, exhibit a Fourneyron Turbine, an Appold or centrifugal pump, apple mill, double-action brick and drain-pipe machine, small hand power ditto, contractor's pump, double Roman tile mould, &c.'[3]

c.1867 Supplied a two cylinder steam pumping engine to Saltmoor Pumping Station, near Bridgwater. This was photographed by George Watkins in 1934. [4] He postulated a date of 1867 - 70. Note: the text ascribes the engine to R. Spencer rather than R. Spence ('R. Spence' is visible on the nameplate).

1872 Patent No. 853 for improvements in machinery for the manufacture of bricks from plastic clay, issued to Robert Spence and Edmund John Spence, trading as Murch and Spence [5]

1873 'On Friday a man named Kitch, in the employ of Messrs. Murch and Spence, whilst superintending an engine at Durston, got his left hand entangled in a portion of the machinery. Some of the fingers were crushed, and the hand otherwise lacerated.'[6]

1873 Advert: 'MURCH AND SPENCE, ENGINEERS, BRIDGWATER. PRIZE CIDER PRESS AND APPLE MILLS. These were exhibited at the Havre Exhibition, where they obtained a BRONZE MEDAL, and are the only PRIZE PRESSES Manufactured. Purchasers are requested to inspect them at the Works, Bridgwater, where both PRESSES and APPLE MILLS may be seen. Iron covered-in Horse Works, Wood Frame ditto, and Bentall's Chaff-Cutters. Also general Agents for Implements.'[7]

1873 Advertising as sole manufacturers and licensees for Yorath's Patent Fork Elevator (for Wilts, Dorset, Somerset, Devon and Cornwall)[8]

A later business at the foundry was Murch and Culverwell

Engine production was continued by J. Culverwell, whose surviving engine shares some of the characteristic features (and possibly foundry patterns) with the Saltmoor engine

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. [1] The London Gazette, June 21, 1864
  2. Western Gazette, 7 September 1866
  3. Salisbury and Winchester Journal, 15 June 1867
  4. Plate 99, 'Stationary Steam Engines of Great Britain', Volume 7 by George Watkins, Landmark Publishing Ltd
  5. [2] The London Gazette, July 30, 1872
  6. Western Gazette, 18 July 1873
  7. Bridgwater Mercury - Wednesday 23 April 1873
  8. Western Gazette, 22 August 1873