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British Industrial History

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Frederick William Kitson

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Frederick William Kitson (1829-1877) of Kitson and Co

Civil engineer and Ironmaster of Burley Hill, Leeds.

1829 Born at Leeds the son of James Kitson

1854 His father bought Frederick and his younger brother, James Kitson, Junior a recently established ironworks at Monk Bridge, Leeds.

1859 Frederick William Kitson, Monkbridge Iron Works, Leeds.[1]

Retired from the business some years before his death in 1877.


1878 Obituary [2]

Frederick William Kitson was born at Leeds on the 29th of June, 1829. He was the eldest son of James Kitson, J.P., of Elmete Hall, Leeds, the founder of the firm of Kitson and Company, of the Airedale Foundry, where the subject of this memoir first qualified himself as an engineer, and where he became the head of the drawing office and principal designer of locomotive engines.

In the year 1854 he joined his father and brother, James Kitson, Junior, in the establishment of the Monk Bridge Iron and Steel Works, which concern in busy times employs upwards of seven hundred hands. These works, which are devoted chiefly to the manufacture of railway material, such as boiler-plates, tires, and axles, are fitted up with all the most approved modern appliances, and in their construction the particular talent of Mr. F. W. Kitson found ample room for its exercise.

He was a patentee of several inventions which have had successful practical application. The solid weldless iron tires, a hydraulic friction clutch for rolling mills, and an improvement in the manufacture of tires for railway wheels, are amongst these.

Mr. F. W. Kitson was elected a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers on the 12th of January, 1869. He was a Vice-President of the Iron and Steel Institute, an association in the promotion of which he took an active part, and always manifested a warm interest in its subsequent success. When the Institute visited Leeds in 1876, he was chairman of the reception committee. He was also a Member of the Council of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

The infirm state of his health latterly prevented his taking any active part in public affairs, but in business circles he was esteemed for eminent ability as a practical engineer, while, in social life, he was most genial, open-hearted, and generous. He died on the 25th of November, 1877.


1878 Obituary [3]

FREDERICK WILLIAM KITSON was born at Leeds on 29th June 1829, and was the eldest son of Mr. James Kitson, J.P., of Elmete Hall, Leeds, the founder of the firm of Kitson and Co.

At their works, the Airedale Foundry, Leeds, Mr. Kitson first qualified himself as an engineer, and became head of the drawing office and principal designer of locomotive engines.

About 1854 he joined his father, and his brother, Mr. James Kitson, Jun., in the establishment of the Monk Bridge Iron and Steel Works, which have since become very extensive, employing in busy times upwards of 700 hands, and are devoted chiefly to the manufacture of railway material, such as boiler plates, tyres, and axles. In the fitting up of these works with all the most approved appliances the particular talent of Mr. Kitson found ample room for its exercise.

He was the originator of several inventions which have had successful practical application, amongst which may be mentioned the solid weldless iron tyres, a hydraulic friction clutch for rolling mills, and an improvement in the manufacture of railway wheels.

Mr. Kitson was a Vice-President of the Iron and Steel Institute, in the promotion of which he took an active part; and was also a Member of the Institution of civil Engineers. The infirm state of his health for some years before his death prevented his taking any active part in public affairs.; but he still continued to exercise his eminent abilities as a practical engineer.

He died at Leeds on 25th November 1877, at the age of forty-eight.

He became a Member of the Institution in 1859, and was a member of the Council from 1870.

In 1873 he read a paper before the Institution on the Allen governor (see Proceedings Inst. M. E. 1873 page 47).


1877 Obituary [4]

The Council of the Iron and Steel Institute regret to announce the recent death of one of their colleagues, Mr. Fred. W. Kitson, of Monkbridge Iron Works, Leeds.

Deceased was the eldest son of Mr. James Kitson, J.P., of Elmete Hall, Roundhay. He was a Vice-President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers, and was considered amongst his extensive professional acquaintances to possess considerable ability as a practical and scientific engineer.

He was trained at the Airedale Foundry of Kitson and Co., in Leeds, where he was for some time the head of the drawing office, and a chief designer of engines, &c.

He left in 1854 to join his father and his brother, Mr. James Kitson, jun., in establishing the Monkbridge Iron Works, which have since became very extensive, employing in prosperous times about seven hundred hands.


1878 Obituary [5]



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