Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Henry Negretti

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Maker of scientific instruments

1818 Born Enrico Angelo Ludovico Negretti in Como, Italy.

He and his brothers sought employment abroad.

1830 Negretti moved to England and seems to have learned his instrument skills under two established makers: Caesar Tagliabue, a barometer and thermometer maker from Como, long resident at 23 Hatton Garden, London, and Francis Augustus Pizzala, at 4 Dorrington Street.

1840 Negretti traded under his own name as a glass-blower at 2 Dorrington Street and 20 Greville Street

1841 Moved into Angelo Tagliabue's former workshop at 19 Leather Lane, recently acquired by Jane Pizzi, whose late husband Valentine had been a barometer maker in Cross Street.

1844 The partnership of Pizzi and Negretti was dissolved; Negretti continued trading from the same address, moving briefly to 9 Hatton Garden

1845 Married Mary Peet. For the next nine years they mainly lived above the shop

1846 Dissolution of the partnership between Francis Ciceri and Henry Negretti, as Barometer and Thermometer Manufacturers, at 31, Brook-street, Holborn, and 19, Leather-lane, Holborn; afterwards Francis Ciceri carried on business at 31, Brook-street and Henry Negretti carried on business at 19, Leather-lane[1]

1850 Formed partnership with Joseph Warren Zambra (1822–1897) at 11 Hatton Garden. They were were part of the burgeoning Anglo-Italian community around Leather Lane and Hatton Garden known as Little Italy.

Negretti and Zambra were the only English instrument makers to receive a prize medal for meteorological instruments at the 1851 Great Exhibition. They were appointed instrument makers to the Queen, Greenwich observatory, and the British Meteorological Society

1851 Birth of son Henry Paul Joseph Negretti

1854 Moved to Holloway, where they were host to Garibaldi during his visit to London that year.

1855 elected a fellow of the British Meteorological Society.

1856 Patented their self-registering maximum thermometer, which was praised by the Astronomer Royal.

1861 Henry Negretti, 42, optical and meteorological instrument maker employing 13 men and 3 boys, living in Islington with Mary Negretti 33, Mary L Negretti 13, Henry P Negretti 9, Caroline Negretti 6[2]

1862 Naturalized as a British subject.

1874 the family moved to Cricklewood. Negretti spent more time in Italy in his later yearsl he had a residence at Como.

1878 he travelled to Argentina but his health suffered.

1879 Died in Hendon[3]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. London Gazette 31 July 1846
  2. 1861 census
  3. BMD
  • Biography of Henry Negretti, ODNB