Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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George England (1811-1878)

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1811 born in Newcastle upon Tyne, son of George and Mary England

Trained at John Penn's Deptford boilerworks and shipyards.

Patented the traversing screw jack which enabled a derailed locomotive not only to be lifted but also to be moved laterally so that it could be lowered back onto the rails.

c.1839 Established Hatcham Ironworks in Pomeroy Street, New Cross, London. Here he manufactured patent jacks and other tools

Late 1840s: started to build locomotives, specializing in light locomotives of the type originated by W. Bridges Adams.

1851 Engineer, employing 43 men, living in Deptford with Sarah England 39, Mary England 9, Eliza Ann England 7, George England 6[1]

1853 of Hatcham Iron Works - George England and Co - joined I Mech E

Was then kept busy constructing locomotives for railways in Britain — for collieries and contractors — and for export to India and Australia.

1857 became a director of the Crystal Palace Company

1861 Engineer - proprietor of a factory - living in Deptford with Sarah England 49, Mary England 19, Eliza Ann England 17, George England 16[2]

1862 he indicted Robert Fairlie, who had eloped with his daughter Eliza Ann, for perjury, on the grounds that Fairlie had not, as claimed, received her father's consent to their marriage but the case collapsed.

1863 Best-known for having built the first 2 steam locomotives for the Ffestiniog Railway, replacing horses, followed by 4 more

1865 a disastrous strike at the works in response to England's increasingly tyrannical attitude. Much business was lost.

1868 Started construction for the Ffestiniog of a double-bogie, double-boiler locomotive of the type patented by Robert Fairlie. This locomotive, "Little Wonder", was the first wholly successful "double Fairlie": warranted by England to be as powerful as two of the small locomotives, it proved almost as powerful as three. Demonstrations of it as it hauled immensely long trains up grade through sinuous curves were a vital influence in worldwide adoption of economical narrow gauges.

1869 England retired because of ill health. The works was taken on lease by Fairlie, George England junior, and J. S. Fraser, under whom Little Wonder was completed. George junior died a few months later and locomotive building ceased.

1871 Living in Deptford, a retired engineer master[3]

1878 George England died at Cannes, France, on 2 March 1878[4]

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. 1851 census
  2. 181 census
  3. 1871 census
  4. National Probate calendar