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British Industrial History

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Alexander Brodie Cochrane

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Alexander Brodie Cochrane (1813-1863)

1813 Born in Dudley, son of Alexander Brodie Cochrane (1786-1853)

1851 A B Cochrane 38, iron master, lived in Kingswinford, with Esther Cochrane 40, Mary Cochrane 12, George Cochrane 6, Ellen Cochrane 3, Donald Alice Cochrane 2, Alfred Cochrane 7 Months[1]

1863 Died at the Heath, Stourbridge; his executors were his sons Charles Cochrane, of, of Stourbridge, ironmaster, William Cochrane of Newcastle upon Tyne, ironmaster, and Joseph Bramah Cochrane of the Heath, ironmaster[2]

1864 Obituary [3]

Alexander Brodie Cochrane was born at Dudley, in the year 1813.

After receiving a plain substantial education, he was placed at the ironworks of Messrs. Grazebrook, where he obtained a thorough knowledge not only of the business of a founder, but also of the manufacture of iron from the ore, as well as of the principles of mining, under his father, who had the entire management of Grazebrook’s colliery and furnaces.

Afterwards, at a very early age, he became a partner of the late John Joseph Bramah, and commenced business as an Ironfounder at Bilston. Subsequently they, in conjunction with Mr. Cochrane's father, founded the Woodside Ironworks and Foundry, which were carried on with much success until the decease of Mr. Bramah.

Mr. Cochrane was then joined by the late Charles Geach (Assoc. Inst. C.E.) and the late A. Slate (Assoc. Inst. C.E.), the firm being carried on under the name of Cochrane and Co, by whom also the works belonging to the firm at Middlesborough, and known as the Ormesby Ironworks, were established.

After the death of Mr. Geach, Mr. Slate left the firm, which had at that time attained a wide reputation, and was particularly known as having supplied most of the ironwork required for the Great Exhibition building of 1851.

He was afterwards joined by his brother, John Cochrane (Assoc.Inst.C.E.), who devoted his attention more especially to the engineering branch of the establishment; since which time the firm has executed many large contracts, particularly some of the iron bridges over the Thames, recently completed. By his assiduity and skill he obtained for his firm a great reputation for the manufacture of cast-iron pipes, and they supplied nearly all the principal water and gas companies of the country, as well as many on the continent, and in the colonies. He was a magistrate of the counties of Worcester and Stafford, and obtained considerable influence in those counties.

Mr. A. B. Cochrane joined the Institution of Civil Engineers as an Associate in the year 1850, and remained connected with it until his death, which occurred on the 23rd of June, 1863, at the early age of 50 years.

1864 Obituary [4]

Alexander Brodie Cochrane was born at Dudley on 10th February 1813, and at the age of seventeen was engaged at Messrs. Grazebrook's collieries and ironworks near Dudley, which were then under the management of his father.

In 1838 he started a small iron foundry at Bilston in conjunction with Mr. John Joseph Bramah; and in 1840, in conjunction with his father and Mr. Bramah, commenced the Woodside Iron Works near Dudley.

Upon the death of Mr. Bramah the late Mr. Charles Geach became his partner, and afterwards also the late Mr. Archibald Slate; and he subsequently carried on these works in conjunction with his brother and son. Amongst the public works there executed were the castings for the Exhibition building of 1851, the Copenhagen gas and water works, the pipes for the Melbourne water works, the large caisson and dock gates for the Victoria docks, London, and several large iron bridges, including Westminster Bridge, the Charing Cross Railway bridges, and the Rochester road bridge and swing bridge.

In 1853 Mr. Cochrane also entered upon large undertakings in the North of England, including collieries in Northumberland and Durham, and the Ormesby Iron Works at Middlesborough. He continued in the active management of these numerous concerns until prevented by serious ill health some years before his death.

At the Woodside works he carried out successfully the application of coking in ovens to the Staffordshire slack, and read a paper before the Institution in May 1861 upon the nature of the process and the results obtained. He became a member of the Institution in 1847, the year of its commencement, and was for some years before his death a Vice-President of the Institution.

His death took place on 23rd June 1863, after a long and severe illness, at his residence, Stourbridge, in the fifty-first year of his age.

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