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British Industrial History

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Eustace Wigzell

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Eustace Wigzell (1822-1899) of Timothy Bates and Co and later Pollit and Wigzell

1822 September 22nd. Born in London the son of Eustace Wigzell, a seafaring man, and his wife Elizabeth Hannah.

1846 Birth of son Eustace Ernest Wigzell

Manager at John Penn and Sons

1861 Living at 11 Morden Terrace, Lewisham: Eustace Wigzell (age 34 born London City), Engineer, Manager at J. Penn. With his wife Susannah Wigzell (age 39 born Camberwell) and their two children Susannah H. Wigzell (age 16 born Deptford) and Eustace E. Wigzell (age 14 born Greenwich). One servant.[1]

1865 Joined Timothy Bates and Co

1891/2 The company was renamed as Pollit and Wigzell with Eustace as one of the partners.

1899 October 2nd. Died.

1899 Obituary.[2]

Mr. Eustace Wigzell, was born at Greenwich in 1822. His mother was the third daughter of the late General Rimmgton, and his father a captain the East India Service.

At early age he showed considerable engineering talent, and when only about twelve years old be won the prize (offered by the authorities the Greenwich Observatory) for the best design for the ball for signalling the time, and this design was adopted.

When fifteen years old he was apprenticed to John Penn, of Greenwich, grandfather of the present John Penn. He served live years an apprentice, two years as journeyman, and gradually rose step by step, until he was appointed general manager of the whole works.

In 1849 he was appointed chief engineer of the Russian Government Engineering Works, at Ekaterinburg, and after carrying through various works in connection with marine engineering, mining, &c., came to England in 1854 to secure a plant for the manufacture of railway bar iron. Whilst in England war was declared, and although liberal offers were made the Russian Government he did not return, but at John Penn’s personal request rejoined the firm of John Penn and Sons.

He remained until 1865, and it was during this period that steam power was introduced so largely in war vessels, especially the introduction of the trunk engines and screw propellers, this design making it possible to keep the machinery below the water line This work especially suited his mechanical skill, and he had the superintendence of the construction and final trials of nearly two-thirds of the navies of the world of that period.

In 1865 he joined Mr. Joseph Pollit, of Sowerby Bridge, who was carrying on the business of general engineer under the title of Timothy Bates and Co. at Bank Foundry. With characteristic energy, he soon inducted himself into this new class of work, which, largely owing to his talents and other capabilities, made it continued success, and the work turned out by this firm, especially stationary engines, is known in almost all parts of the world, having a design that make them very easily recognised.

In the year 1892, the firm was converted into limited liability company, and since then up to his death Mr. Wigzell has been managing director, and in spite of advancing years has maintained the keenest interest in the work, following up the modern developments in the engineering industry, thus keeping up with the requirements of the times.

Although he did not take active part in public affairs, he was well known by a very large circle of business men, and he had individuality peculiarly his own, that, with his wide experience, made him much sought after, and rendered his opinions on all mechanical questions very valuable. The only public office he held was that of manager of Ellison Memorial Schools.

1899 Obituary [3]

EUSTACE WIGZELL died on October 2, 1899. He was formerly engineer to the Russian Government Works at Ekaterinburg, in the province of Perm.

He subsequently joined Mr. Joseph Pollit of Sowerby Bridge as a general engineer under the style of Timothy Bates & Co. On the firm being converted into a limited liability company Mr. Wigzell became managing director, which position he held at the time of his death.

He was a member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, and was elected a member of the Iron and Steel Institute in 1881.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. 1861 Census
  2. Halifax Courier - Saturday 07 October 1899
  3. 1899 Iron and Steel Institute: Obituaries