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British Industrial History

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Hawks, Crawshay and Sons

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High Level Bridge, Newcastle, connecting Newcastle upon Tyne and Gateshead
1879.
1881.

Engineers of Gateshead Ironworks, Gateshead, suppliers of iron work for bridges and other purposes.

See also Hawks and Co

1748 The Hawks business was founded by William Hawks, Senior, who had been a foreman for Ambrose Crowley at Swallwell.

1837 The partnership as iron and steel manufacturers carried on under the firm of William Hawks (senior) and Co, of Gateshead Iron Works, and as Hawks, Stanley and Co in the City of London was dissolved as regards Sir Robert Shafto Hawks[1]

1838 Hawks, Stanley and Co took over the running of the Gateshead Iron Works; Hawks, Crawshay and Stanley took over the running of Paul's Wharf, Upper Thames St, London[2]

1838 Description of Hawks's works[3]

1840 George Crawshay acquired two third of the shares; George Hawks owned the other third[4].

1841 Joseph Hawks retired from the partnerships under Hawks, Stanley and Co of Gateshead and Hawks, Crawshay and Stanley of London[5]

1840s George and Edmund Crawshay were the grandsons of William Crawshay, and in the 1840s took over the running of the Gateshead works of Hawks, Stanley and Co. [6]

1849 Hawks, Crawshay and Co were contractors for the ironwork for the High Level Bridge; Mr Hawks, mayor of Gateshead, drove the final key[7]

1851 Great Exhibition, Hawks, Crawshay and Co

1857 'John Nesbitt, aged 11, accidentally slipped into a quantity of molten iron, on the 19th ult., at Gateshead Ironworks, and was dreadfully burnt. He was admitted to the infirmary, where he bore his sufferings with great magnanimity. He repeatedly stated that no one was to blame but himself — that his calamity arose from his own want of care ; and expressed a hope that he should get better ; "for" said he, "my poor mother has nobody else to support her." The poor lad, as may be supposed, died.'[8]

1862 Made a Cornish pumping engine for Stoneferry Waterworks, Hull. 220 HP, 85" bore cylinder, 10 ft 6" stroke. Beam supported by four cast iron columns, 'painted in imitation of red granite' [9]

1862 Hawks, Crawshay and Sons delivered an anchor to John Trotman's design for HMS Warrior[10].

c.1863 George Crawshay addressed a Christmas party of about 1,300 of his employees at the iron works of Messrs. Hawks, Crawshay, and Co. at Newcastle-upon-Tyne. "These works were founded in 1754 by William Hawks, a blacksmith, whose principal trade consisted in making claw-hammers for joiners. He became a thriving man, and eventually a large manufacturer of bar-iron. Partners joined him, and in the course of the changes wrought by time, one of the Crawshays, in 1842, became a principal partner in the firm"[11].

1866 Chain cables and anchors' proving establishment[12]

1868 George Crawshay senior withdrew from the partnership[13]

1869 Patent to George Crawshay of Hawks, Crawshay and Sons and John Thomas of Newcastle upon Tyne for method of extracting iron from various slags and improving the quality of wrought and pig iron[14].

1871 Stephen Wright Hawks died in January[15].

1870s/80s the site was overcrowded and handled a great number of processes and product lines which made it uncompetitive with the more streamlined and specialized yards on the Tyne such as Sir William Armstrong's[16].

1889 The company and ironworks closed; George Crawshay suffered a large loss; he died in 1896[17]

An account of the company's history was presented in a Newcomen Society Paper[18]


  • Musical connection (1): A traditional folk song includes the line 'We talked about the weather and she mentioned that her father was a puddler down at Hawks', oh me bonny Gateshead lass'.[19]. ‘Puddler’ is an iron puddler, producing wrought iron.
  • Musical connection (2): The writer of the song ‘Blaydon Races’, George Ridley, once worked for Hawks, Crawshay as a wagon rider, a hazardous job, involving braking coal wagons on an incline from the Oakwellgate Colliery to the River Tyne. One day, his train ran away and he was severely injured. After becoming disabled, he became an entertainer and song writer.[20]

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. London Gazette, 6 July 1838
  2. London Gazette, 6 July 1838
  3. Clare Journal, and Ennis Advertiser - Thursday 18 October 1838
  4. Biography of the Hawks family, ODNB
  5. London Gazette 5 November 1841
  6. [1]Online summary of the life of George Crawshay, 1821 - 1896
  7. The Times 12 June 1849
  8. Bicester Advertiser - Saturday 10 January 1857
  9. Hull Packet, 4 April 1862
  10. The Times 1 March 1862
  11. Henry Cort by Samuel Smiles
  12. The Engineer of 11th May 1866 p346
  13. Gazette Issue 23343 17 January 1868
  14. London Gazette Issue 23557 19 November 1869
  15. London Gazette Issue 23733, 2 May 1871
  16. Biography of the Hawks family, ODNB
  17. The Times 23 March 1896
  18. 'The Ironworks of Hawks Crawshay & Sons, Gateshead: 1748–1889' by Robert W. Rennison & Austin W. Scott, Transactions of the Newcomen Society, 78:1, 127-157
  19. [2]Lyrics of traditional song
  20. [3] 10-page PDF document: 'The Blaydon Races Heritage Trail'