Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Canal Iron Works

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of Millwall, Poplar

The building of the City Canal left a large area of surplus land between the west entrance lock and the marsh wall on the Isle of Dogs. The City was quick to exploit this valuable though as yet unembanked property by putting it up for rent.

1807 Jukes Coulson and Paul Malin, iron manufacturers of Upper Thames Street, took a plot of land left surplus by the building of the canal.

By 1809 Coulson and Co had built an iron foundry, reputedly London's largest, called the Canal Iron Works.

1824 John Seaward took over the Canal Iron Works, Millwall to build marine engines, and was joined soon after by his brother, Samuel Seaward.

1834–5 Seaward and Capel built a shed along the north side of the wharf for covered sawpits and a warehouse for castings. This building later became an erecting-shop. The wharf to the south was let as a stone wharf until 1838, when Seaward and Capel incorporated it into the Canal Iron Works, building a smithy along its south side. The main works buildings were extended southwards, remaining in use as a foundry and mill with associated shops, and served by sheer-legs and cranes of up to 20 tons capacity on the wharf.

1849 'Brunet's refrigerating brasses' designed by J. J. Brunet of the Canal Iron Works, Limehouse. These bearings incorporated internal cavities through which water could be passed for cooling purposes.[1]

1860 After the death of John Seaward the Upper and Lower Canal Iron Works and the equipment were advertised for sale[2]

1860 Canal Works were taken over by William Jackson and Richard Watkins; the partnership later became Richard Watkins and Edward Rutter.

1861 Henry Temple Humphreys joined the works as Chief Draughtsman

1882 Marine engines continued to be made at the works until 1882, when the site was sold to J. T. Morton (see C. and E. Morton), the preserved-provisions manufacturer, for redevelopment as part of his Sufferance Wharf.


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. The Practical Mechanic's Journal, 1849, p.110
  2. The Times, Saturday, May 26, 1860
  • From: 'Northern Millwall: Limehouse Entrance to Sufferance Wharf', Survey of London: volumes 43 and 44: Poplar, Blackwall and Isle of Dogs (1994), pp. 409-411. URL: [1].