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British Industrial History

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Alfred Christian Downey

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Alfred Christian Downey (1831-1903)

1866 Alfred C. Downey, Engineer, Ormesby Iron Works, Middlesbrough.[1] - presumably Cochrane and Co

1903 April 19th. Died.[2]


1903 Obituary [3]

ALFRED CHRISTIAN DOWNEY was born in Liverpool on 25th September 1831.

He was educated at the Royal Institution in that city, and served his apprenticeship at the engineering works of Messrs. Fawcett and Preston.

In 1852 he accepted an appointment with Messrs. Cochrane and Co., of the Woodside Iron Works, Dudley, in whose service he undertook his first responsible work of superintending the erection of the roof of the London and North Western Railway station in Birmingham, a work which to this day is admired for its gigantic and fine proportions.

From Woodside his services were transferred in 1856 to the new Ormesby Iron Works of Messrs. Cochrane and Co. at Middlesbrough, where for several years he occupied the position as head of the drawing office and entire engineering department.

In 1872 he entered into partnership with Mr. C. F. H. Bolckow with the style of Downey and Co., and erected the Coatham Blast Furnaces.

He also reconstructed the Lackenby Iron Works, which were subsequently acquired by the firm, and opened the Stanghow mines for the supply of iron ore.

For the last few years he was manager of Messrs. John Turner and Co.'s Works at Middlesbrough, and he also acted as consulting engineer.

His death took place at his residence in Middlesbrough, on 19th April 1903, in his seventy-second year.

He became a Member of this Institution in 1866, and was a member of the Ironmasters' Association, and a quondam president. He was among the founders of the Iron and Steel Institute, and was also a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers, and other technical societies.


1903 Obituary [4][5]

...Mr. Alfred C. Downey, on Sunday last, removed one who has been intimately connected with the Cleveland pig iron trade for nearly half a century. He was born at Liverpool in 1830, and served his apprenticeship with Messrs. Bury, Curtis and Kennedy, who were well-known locomotive engineers there. The Bury type of locomotive with outside cylinders was largely in use when the late Mr. Downey was with the firm. The firm supplied some of the locomotives for the Manchester and Liverpool Railway. From their works Mr. Downey went to the drawing office of Messrs. Cochrane and Co., Woodside....


1903 Obituary [6]

ALFRED CHRISTIAN DOWNEY, who died at Middlesbrough on the 19th April, 1903, served his engineering apprenticeship with Fawcett, Preston and Co, of Liverpool.

He went from their works, in 1852, to Cochrane and Co’s Ironworks at Dudley, where he remained four years. At their request, in 1856 he transferred his services to Cochrane, Grove and Co, of the Ormesby Ironworks, Middlesbrough, as Engineer.

Mr. Downey remained at the Ormesby Ironworks until 1872, when he joined Carl Bolckow and erected the Coatham Ironworks near Redcar, which were carried on under the style of Downey and Co, Mr. Downey being the managing partner. The firm afterwards took over the Lackenby Ironworks near Middlesbrough, which were reconstructed and managed by Mr. Downey for several years. In connection with the latter works the firm bought the Stanghow Ironstone Mines at Boosbeck from the Trustees of the late George Wythes. These mines were opened and remodelled under Mr. Downey’s management - the ironstone produced being smelted at the Lackenby Furnaces.

From 1892 to the date of his death Mr. Downey was engaged in managing the Engineering Works of John Turner and Co at Middlesbrough, and also as Consulting Engineer in connection with blast furnace operations in the Middlesbrough district. Mr. Downey was always a friend of his workmen, and a persistent advocate of conciliation, not only in his own business, but as a member of the Ironmasters’ Association. He was one of the early members of the Iron and Steel Institute.


1903 Obituary [7]

ALFRED CHRISTIAN DOWNEY died at Middlesbrough on April 19, 1903.

Born at Liverpool in 1830, he served his apprenticeship with Bury, Curtis, & Kennedy, who were then well-known locomotive engineers. He left their works to enter the service of Cochrane & Company, Woodside Ironworks, Dudley, and in 1856 became engineer of Messrs. Cochrane's Ormesby Ironworks, Middlesbrough, where he continued latterly as manager as well as engineer until 1872. In that year he established, in conjunction with Mr. C. F. H. Bolckow, the firm of Downey & Company, and erected the Coatham Ironworks, subsequently acquiring the Lackenby Ironworks and the Stanghow Ironstone Mines.

For the last few years lie was manager of Messrs. John Turner & Company's Engineering Works at Middlesbrough, and was a recognised authority on blast-furnace practice.

He was an original member of the Iron and Steel Institute.


1903 Obituary [8]



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