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British Industrial History

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Frank Dudley Docker

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1937. Bio Note.

(Frank) Dudley Docker (1862-1944) C.B., J.P.

1862 Born Smethwick, youngest son of Ralph Docker, a solicitor, and Sarah Maria (nee Sankey)[1]

1877 The Varnish manufacturing business was established which became Docker Brothers

1881 (sic)[2] Joined in Docker Brothers, dealers of varnish for blacking stoves; later started making their own varnishes.

1881 Ralph Docker 66, solicitor, lived in Kings Norton with Sarah Docker 50, Edwin Docker 25, solicitor, Jane Docker 30, Florence Docker 16, Ralph Jr. Docker 26, solicitor, Sarah Jr. Docker 29, Mary A. Docker 28, Ludford Docker 20, solicitor's clerk, Dudley Docker 18, Manufacturer[3]

1891 Varnish manufacturer, living with his mother in Edgbaston[4]

1895 Married Lucy Constance Hebbert

1896 Birth of their only child Bernard (1896-1978).

1902 Masterminded the amalgamation of several railway carriage makers, to form Metropolitan Amalgamated Railway Carriage and Wagon Co, of which he became chairman.

1906 Director of Birmingham Small Arms (BSA)

1910 Masterminded the purchase by BSA of Daimler Motors

1912 Continued as chairman of Metropolitan's successor company Metropolitan Carriage, Wagon and Finance Co, a reflection of his particular skills in finance and the value of these to the company.

1912 Director of Midland Bank

1913 Founder of Midlands Employers Federation

1915 Director Metropolitan Railway

1916 Founder president of the Federation of British Industries

1917/8 His interest grew in establishing larger electrical engineering companies and he was instrumental in arranging the purchase by Metropolitan Carriage, Wagon and Finance Co and Vickers of British Westinghouse.

1919 Persuaded Vickers to buy Metropolitan Carriage, Wagon and Finance Co at an "inflated price"[5] to form Metropolitan-Vickers Electrical Company.

1919 Docker became a director of Vickers until 1920

1922 Director of Southern Railway

1922 Director of London Joint, City & Midland Bank, British Trade Corpn., Metropolitan Rly., L.B.&S.C. Rly..

1928 His role in the purchase by the International General Electric Company of a major interest in Metropolitan-Vickers Electrical Company attracted much criticism from some of his colleagues.

1929 Offer of a Barony by the government was withdrawn after protests by City interests.

1944 Died Amersham

1937 Bio Note [6]

DOCKER, Frank Dudley, C.B., 1911; J.P., County of Warwick; b. 1862 at Smethwick; s. of Ralph Docker, solicitor; m. Lucy Constance, d. of J. B. Hebbert, solicitor, of Edgbaston; one s. Educ.: King Edward's School, Birmingham; established the business of Docker Brothers; subsequently amalgamated a number of businesses under the title of the Metropolitan Carriage, Wagon, and Finance Co.; a director of the Midland Bank, Ltd.; the Southern Railway; the Electric and Railway Finance Corporation, Ltd. Recreation: Golf, formerly cricket. Clubs: Carlton, Conservative (Birmingham). Address: Coleshill House, Amersham.

1944 Obituary [7]

1946 Obituary [8]

FRANK DUDLEY DOCKER. C.B., was well known as a prominent industrialist and commercial engineer, who in the course of his long professional career was responsible for the amalgamation of numerous firms engaged in the construction of railway carriages and wagons.

He was educated at King Edward's School, Birmingham, on leaving which, he studied for the law, but in 1884, at the age of 22, he joined his brothers in establishing a paint and varnish business in Birmingham. Subsequently he personally organized the first large amalgamation of rolling stock companies under the title of the Metropolitan Amalgamated Railway Carriage and Wagon Company, Ltd. At a later period the activities of the company were extended and under the chairmanship of Mr. Docker it was responsible for the whole output of tanks as well as much other material during the war of 1914-18.

Another amalgamation was effected, with Messrs. Vickers, Ltd., in 1919. The many positions he held included those of chairman of the Electric and Railway Finance Corporation, Ltd., and vice-president of the Federation of British Industries, of which he was a founder member and the first President. He was also a director of the Midland Bank, and of the Birmingham Small Arms Company, Ltd. In 1921 he became a director of the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway, and continued as a director of the Southern Railway Company until 1938.

Mr. Docker, whose death occurred at Amersham on 8th July 1944, at the age of 82, was elected an Associate of the Institution in 1895 and was transferred to Membership in 1911. In the same year he was made a C.B.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Biography of Dudley Docker by R. Davenport-Hines, ODNB, [1]
  2. Biography of Dudley Docker by R. Davenport-Hines, ODNB
  3. 1881 census
  4. 1891 census
  5. Biography of Dudley Docker by R. Davenport-Hines, ODNB
  6. 1937-8 Birmingham Year Book
  7. The Engineer 1944 Jul-Dec: Index
  8. 1946 Institution of Mechanical Engineers: Obituaries