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 163,368 pages of information and 245,906 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.

Heenan and Froude

From Graces Guide
June 1888. Tower spherical engine.


January 1902.
1908 swing bridge in Whitby, Yorkshire
Whitby swing bridge
Whitby Swing Bridge Plaque (Image: Bob Walton).
February 1911.
January 1912.






January 1920. Dynamometer.
1921. Electric Truck.
November 1926.
1930. Testing plant for aero engines.
1931. Aero Engine Testing Plant.
May 1933.
16 June 1933.
August 1933.
1938. Name plate.
November 1943
November 1944.
November 1946.
October 1945/April 1947.
April/November 1947.
December 1947.
January 1948.
February 1948.
April 1948.
May 1948.
1950. LHS.
1950. RHS.
November 1950.
January 1952.
March 1952.
May 1952.
November 1955.
1955. Testing brakes on express locomotive.[1]
November 1954. Hydraulic Dynamometers.
November 1957.
1961. Dynamometer made for Burmeister and Wain.
Aug 1962.
October 1962.
Dec 1962.

Heenan and Froude of Manchester, Birmingham and Worcester.

Originated as Heenan Construction Company of Manchester. Later responsible for the steelwork of Blackpool Tower, the original Austin factory at Longbridge, the Grand Stand at Epsom, Electric Power stations at Melbourne, Australia, and elsewhere, and the wharves and transit sheds at Rangoon, etc[2].

1881 Richard Hammersley Heenan purchased the works of Messrs. Woodhouse and Co. at the Newton Heath Ironworks, Manchester

1883 Dissolution of the partnership between H. R. Woodhouse and R. H. Heenan, of Newton Heath Ironworks, Manchester, in the county of Lancaster, in the trade or business of Engineers and Millwrights, under the firm or style of Heenan and Woodhouse; dated 4th day of February 1883.[3]

Heenan Construction Company Ltd was established as general and structural engineers[4] at Newton Heath Ironworks, Manchester.

On the retirement of Mr. Woodhouse, Heenan took into partnership a former colleague of his in India, R. H. Froude.

1884 Patented the 'Tower' spherical engine[5]

1884 'Messrs. Heenan and Froude, of Manchester, are fitting up for the Great Eastern Railway an entire electric lighting installation for the passenger carriages on the above company's lines. At present there are seven trains fitted up with the electric light; these, I am informed, have been running since the 1st October without any hitch having occurred, and the company are so satisfied with the experience that they have in contemplation the introduction of elecric lighting for both their local and through traffic. The engine for driving the dynamo machine is Messrs. Heenan and Froude's Tower spherical engine, which has been already fully described in THE ENGINEER; and the dynamo machine is made by Mr. E. Crompton. The engine and dynamo machine, which are only 3ft 3in. long over all, 13in. w1de , and 2ft. high and with bed-plate and couplings complete do not weigh more than 3 1/2 cwt., are placed on the boiler of the locomotive in the rear of the dome, where they do not interfere with the side view of the driver· and the steam which is taken from the dome exhausts up the funnel. The wires and lamps are so arranged as not to interfere w1th oil lamps being put in at a moment's notice, as the electric lamp with its reflector can be simply lifted on one side to allow an oil lamp to take its place for lighting the carriage in the ordinary way, when it becomes necessary to divide a train from the main line for a train on which the electric lighting may not be working.'[6]

1886 Branch established at Aston, Birmingham to manufacture miscellaneous machinery[7]

1887 Constructed Folkestone Pier and Pavilion for Folkestone Pier and Lift Co[8].

1887 Constructed a steerable torpedo to the design of Colonel Lay; demonstrated at Brightlingsea before an audience invited by the directors of the Lay Torpedo Co; audience included Lord Charles Beresford[9].

1889 Supplied 1600 ft girder bridge to Chilean Railways[10].

1890 Constructed experimental, steerable torpedo to an Australian design, the "Victoria", at the Aston works[11].

1892 Heenan and Froude had the contract for the steelwork for Blackpool Tower[12] as well as the electric lighting for the fish tanks in the Aquarium[13].

1894 At work on the steel of the tower for Wembley Park[14]

1900 Details of their Refuse Destructor. [15]

1902 Incorporated as a Limited Company under the name of Heenan and Froude Ltd[16].

1903 Aston business transferred to Worcester[17].

1908 Built swing bridge for the main road across the River Esk in Whitby, designed by Mr J Mitchell Moncrieff, of Newcastle-upon-Tyne (see photo)

1914 Specialities: Bridges, Roofs, Structural Iron and Steel Work, Refuse Destructors, Colliery and Mining Plant, Railway Wagons, Welded Boilers, Fans and Cast Iron Work. [18]

1918 A. Darracq (1905) Ltd acquired a substantial interest in Heenan and Froude construction engineers of Worcester and Manchester[19]. Name of the parent company later changed to S. T. D. Motors Ltd.

1925 After considerable development work, received largest ever order for "destructor plant" in the U.K. from Glasgow Corporation with hopes for further order[20].

1933 There are over 300 Heenan Refuse Disposal Plants in successful operation in all parts of the world. [21]

1935 Receivers appointed to S. T. D. Motors Ltd. As a result, the interest in Heenan and Froude was sold[22].

1935 Heenan Construction Company Ltd, a private company, was formed to acquire the Newton Heath branch of the business[23] (In January 1937, a new company Heenan, Beddow and Sturmey Ltd, was established to acquire Heenan Construction Co Ltd as well as 2 old established businesses: Beddow and Sturmey Ltd of Willenhall (designer and manufacturer of locks), and C. H. Pinson of Willenhall (manufacturer and retailer of locks). Mr Harry Lane would be appointed managing director. Prospectus published to raise capital for the new business[24]).

1935 See Heenan and Froude:1935 Review

1937 The Worcester business continued to use the name Heenan and Froude and was converted into a public company with the shares listed on the London Stock Exchange[25]. Products included dynamometers;, wind-tunnels for testing aircraft engines and plants for testing other engines including cars, submarines; water, air and oil coolers; multiple wire and strip forming machines. It was also the world's largest builder of municipal and industrial refuse disposal plants.

1937 Mechanical and constructional engineers. "Froude" Engine Testing Equipment. [26]

1937 The chairman, Alan Good, and managing director, W. M. Ratcliffe, joined the board of Caprotti Valve Gears[27].

1937 Successful first year as a public company. Noted that Court Works Ltd was a wholly-owned subsidiary[28]. Identified another speciality product that would balance the production of refuse disposal plant, much of which does not involve work by the company and so does not contribute to overheads. Expanded site at Worcester. Rights issue successful[29].

1938 Turnover increased by 50%; works fully occupied; the new speciality was locomotive gears, through an association with Caprotti Valve Gears Ltd in which the company had taken a substantial share interest; the Caprotti valve business is almost entirely for export[30].

1939 Chairman A.P Good told the annual meeting that the company had acquired the assets of Fielding and Platt. Investment in the Jones Gas Process Co Ltd was written off as, in view of the outbreak of war, it was unlikely to be generate the new speciality business that had been hoped[31].

1939 See Aircraft Industry Suppliers

1942 The company's refuse plants mostly operated on the salvage principle which fitted well with government policy; the company was investigating the possibility of converting the residue after salvage into manure for farming uses[32].

1943 Success of rights issue, mainly to pay for the Fielding and Platt acquisition; the company was mainly working on similar activities to peace-time which should make easy the transition after the war[33].

1945 Acquired the holding in Associated Locomotive Equipment Ltd ,a subsidiary of Caprotti Valve Gears Ltd. This subsidiary now controlled all of the trading and patent rights in valve gears[34].

1945 Annual meeting told of progress - the refuse disposal business had not recovered from the hiatus during the war but there were many enquiries; acquired one of their competitors New Destructor Co Ltd; able to offer equipment for conversion of waste into manure; acquired Industrial Waste Eliminators Ltd, a company which converted residue from abattoirs; the engine testing side of the business had supplied thousands of plants during the war; taken licence from Dynamatic Corp. for the eddy current brake, which was replacing the Heenan type of hydraulic brake; considerable amount of general engineering work; expansion of site at Worcester; Court Works foundry at Madeley was considerably expanded; Fielding and Platt concentrated on light alloy extrusion press for the Ministry of Air Production and so had not been able to develop its expertise in rubber die pressing; Caprotti Valve Gears Ltd was merged into Associated Locomotive Equipment Ltd which now concentrated on diesel electric traction[35].

1948 Acquired W. G. Bagnall Ltd[36].

1949 Acquired Morton Machine Co Ltd, makers of equipment for bread and confectionary industries[37] from Brush.

1953 Dynamometer. Exhibit at Nottingham Industrial Museum. Heenan and Froude of Worcester.

1955 Name of parent company changed to Heenan Group Ltd[38]. The Heenan and Froude name would be used for the subsidiary making and selling dynamometers and test equipment.

1959 Sold W. G. Bagnall to W. H. Dorman and Co, a neighbouring Stafford diesel engine maker, in exchange for Dorman 'A' shares[39].

1967 by this time the Heenan Group also owned Armstrong, Stevens and Son, Freeman, Taylor Machines Ltd, and the City Sheet Metal Works Ltd[40].

1968 merger of Redman Tools and Heenan Group by one-for-one share offer for Heenan by Redman[41] forming Redman Heenan International.

1972 Newman Industries purchased Court Works from Redman Heenan International and subsequently transferred it to H. W. Lindop[42].

1987 FKI purchased Froude Consine, makers of dynamometers and vehicle testing equipment[43].

Now Froude Hofmann, with HQ at Worcester - website.

See Also


Sources of Information

  • AA. [2] Image courtesy of Aviation Ancestry
  1. Oxford Junior Encyclopaedia. Volume VIII. Engineering. Oxford University Press, 1955.
  2. The Times, 12 December 1936
  3. London Gazette 26 May 1885.
  4. The Times, 21 January 1937
  5. Birmingham Daily Post, October 16, 1891
  6. The Engineer 1884/12/05
  7. The Times, 21 January 1937
  8. The Standard, 5 March 1887
  9. The Essex Standard, 12 March 1887
  10. Manchester Times, 14 December 1889
  11. Hampshire Telegraph, 14 June 1890
  12. Liverpool Mercury, 8 February 1892
  13. Lancaster Gazette, 21 May 1892
  14. The Graphic, 14 April 1894
  15. The Engineer of 30th November 1900 p539
  16. The Times, 21 January 1937
  17. The Times, 21 January 1937
  18. 1914 Whitakers Red Book
  19. The Times, 23 December 1918
  20. The Times, 18 February 1925
  21. See 1933 Advert.
  22. The Times, 22 April 1936
  23. The Times, 21 January 1937
  24. The Times, 21 January 1937
  25. The Times, 4 January 1937
  26. 1937 The Aeroplane Directory of the Aviation and Allied Industries
  27. The Times, 26 October, 1937
  28. The Times, 13 November 1937
  29. The Times, 25 November 1937
  30. The Times, 17 November 1938
  31. The Times, 23 November 1939
  32. The Times, 2 December 1942
  33. The Times, 20 December 1943
  34. The Times, 2 January 1945
  35. The Times, 24 December 1945
  36. The Times, 27 November 1948
  37. The Times, 2 April 1949
  38. The Times, 20 December 1955
  39. The Times, 28 January 1959
  40. The Times, 19 December 1967
  41. The Times, 30 July 1968
  42. The Times, 14 April 1973
  43. Funding Universe [1]