Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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William Hawks

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William Hawks (1730-1810) was the eldest son of William Hawks, Senior and his wife Jane

1730 Baptised in Gateshead

1755 On the death of his father (intestate), William inherited the works at Gateshead.

1759 Married Elizabeth Dixon (1735/6–1808). He and his first wife are credited with the great expansion of the Hawks industrial empire.

During the 1760s and 1770s William took part in several partnerships with local ironmongers and edge tool makers.

1770s William Hawks went into partnership with his brother-in-law, Thomas Longridge. They acquired various mills, forges and shops. The Gateshead works were also expanded substantially

Hawks's London partners were the Gordon and Stanley families, who handled the sale of the firm's products. Some of his successors married members of the Stanley family.

1809 William married for a second time in 1809. His new wife, Elizabeth (d. 1831), was the widow of Joseph Atkinson. It is presumed that both the Hawks and the Stanley families could supply the merchant capital which William lacked; both families had links to the old ordnance industry of the Weald and the naval yards of the Thames and Medway.

1810 On William's death, the works passed to his surviving sons: George Hawks (1766–1820), the firm's London agent, Sir Robert Shafto Hawks (1768–1840), and John Hawks (1770–1830).

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