Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

Registered UK Charity (No. 115342)

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 150,722 pages of information and 235,205 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

H. and C. Grayson

From Graces Guide
Grayson's former North Works, Bootle, viewed from Brunswick Place, February 2022. See text.
Detail of the former North Works

of 21 Water Street, Liverpool and Birkenhead.

Ship builders and repairers, marine engineers, makers of petrol and paraffin engines

See Henry Holdrege Grayson

1873 Partnership change. '... the Partnership heretofore subsisting between us the undersigned, at Liverpool, in the county of Lancaster, as Shipbuilders, Boiler Makers, &c., under the style or firm of C. and H. Grayson and Co., was this day dissolved by mutual consent, the undersigned Charles Grayson the elder retiring from the said business, which will in future be carried on by the undersigned, Henry Holdrege Grayson and Charles Grayson the younger, under the style or firm of H. and C. Grayson...'[1]

1889 Contractors for breaking up the SS Great Eastern

Managed Canada Engine Works and Garston Graving Dock and Shipbuilding Co.

1904 Graving Dock Works, Birkenhead opened, managed by H. and C. Grayson.

1911 Built the salvage tug 'Poderoso' at the Garston Yard for the Pacific Steam Navigation Co., Liverpool. Engine by Crabtree & Co. In 1995 it was acquired by the Museum Poderoso, Talcahuano, Chile. It was damaged, probably terminally, by the Chilean tsunami of 2010.[2]

1912 The company occupied the following sites:-

  • Head Office: Royal Liver Building
  • North End Works, Bootle, opposite Canada Dock, Liverpool
  • South End Works, Queen's Dock
  • Birkenhead Graving Dock & Works (slipways on West Float, Graving Dock Works nearby)
  • Grayson's Slipways, Poulton Bridge
  • Garston Graving Dock Works (building slips and graving dock)


The above sites were illustrated and described in a 1912 article in the Liverpool Journal of Commerce[3].

See also Grayson, Rollo and Clover Docks

North Works, Bootle

Snippets from the 1912 article in the Liverpool Journal of Commerce[4].

'... A great feature in the arrangement of the machines on this ground floor is the amount of space available in the vicinity of the boring, slotting, and such like machines, whereby the large pieces of marine machinery and ship construction which prevail in the present-day vessels can be easily handled. .... The building, being of modern construction, the window area is of such an extent as to afford ample daylight to all parts of the shop, whilst at night the whole of the avenues are well lit by adjustable electric lamps. The floors are well laid with wood and sets, which ensures the absence of dust, the element heretofore so common and detrimental to shops of this kind. ..... The lathes are all triple or quadruple geared, and vary in sizes from 60ft. long by 6ft 6in. centres, with a diameter in way of gap of 17ft., down to smaller lathes 12ft. by 12in. centres. ....'

The works also included a pattern shop, and at the eastern end was a boiler shop served by a 40-ton and smaller cranes, large plate-bending rolls, punching and shearing machines, plate edge planing and scarfing machines. In the northern block was the forge and smithy, with Pilkington power hammers and a chain testing machine, coppersmiths and sheet metal department, pipework, and tinsmiths. 'This department has of late been working at very high pressure in the making of lifeboat and raft tanks, the demand for which has been so great.' The article was published in November 1912, seven months after the loss of RMS Titanic.

North Works was located on Regent Road in Bootle, across the road from the docks, and bounded on the south side by Brunswick Place. The building has been extensively altered, and is largely derelict. At some point the building facing Brunswick Place was evidently converted to a warehouse. The photos above show that the large windows have been bricked up, and openings introduced for hoisting goods in and out. The cast iron cills bear the name of the Sandon Motor and Engineering Co.

The 1890/1893 25" O.S. map shows an Engine Works occupying a site 110 ft wide (Regent Road frontage) by 340 ft along Brunswick Place, bounded by the Regent Saw Mill to the north and Dunnett Street on the east.[5]

The premises were used for about 30 years, until 1984, by Merseyside Food Products Ltd, whose name still appears (2022) on the Regent Road frontage. Near the southern corner of this frontage is a bricked-up arched doorway, above which the ghostly words 'Engine Works' can just be seen.

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. The London Gazette Publication date:3 January 1873 Issue:23934 Page:20
  2. [1] Shipping and Shipbuilding website
  3. Liverpool Journal of Commerce - Thursday 14 November 1912
  4. Liverpool Journal of Commerce - Thursday 14 November 1912
  5. [2] National Library of Scotland: Old Maps: Lancashire CVI.2. Surveyed: 1890, Published: 1893. Engine Works at bottom LH corner of map