Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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John D. Napier

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John D. Napier
John D. Napier

John David(?) Napier (1818-1880)

One of the sons of David Napier who assisted his father in the ship and engineering works at Lancefield.

In 1837 they moved with him to Millwall, London.

1851 Living at Napier House, Poplar: Marion Napier (age 57 born Scotland), Engineer's Wife. With her children; Anne Napier (age 35 born Scotland); John Napier (age 33 born Scotland), Engineer; Francis Napier (age 31 born Scotland), Engineer; Robert Napier (age 28 born Scotland), Engineer; Jane Napier (age 24 born Scotland); Elizabeth Napier (age 21 born Scotland); Charlotte Napier (age 17 born Scotland); Davida Napier (age 2? born Scotland)); Alexander Napier (age 12 born Scotland). Three servants.[1]

1852 The 3 brothers left Millwall and moved to Australia. They first tried gold-mining but after failing to succeed at that, they then followed diverging paths.

1855 Returned to Britain. Became assistant manager in his uncle's shipyard, R. Napier and Sons of Govan. Napier worked on the armour-clad vessel Erebus and delivered her to Portsmouth. Shortly after he delivered another vessel to Canada after which he and his wife toured the country and North America.

1857 January 15th. Married at Stepney to Sophia Dixon. Ceremony at St Anne Limehouse by licence in the presence of Benjamin J. Dixon and Adelaide Dixon. He was an engineer, of St Mary Abbot, Kensington, father David Napier, gentleman. She was of the parish, daughter of Benjamin Dixon, gentleman.

Appointed principal manager of the Govan yard, a position he held for over six years.

1861 Living at Albert Cottage, Govan: John D. Napier (age 43 born Glasgow), Manager Of Ship Building Yard. With his wife Sophia Napier (age 38 born England) and their children David D. Napier (age 2 born Govan and William D. Napier (age 1 born Govan). Three servants.[2]

c.1865 Asked by the Millwall Iron Works and Shipbuilding Co to manage their "Scotch" yard, this being, practically, the same yard where he and his brother had formerly carried on their business but that works eventually closed.

c.1864 Became manager of the Canada Works in Birkenhead

1867 Returned to Glasgow where, with brother Robert, he established the firm of Napier Brothers, a business established to apply brakes to ships' windlasses and other machines[3]

1872 Mr J. D. Napier read a paper on "Napier's differential gear for reversing rolling mills" at the Iron and Steel Institute.[4].


1880 Obituary [5]



See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. 1851 Census
  2. 1861 Census for Scotland
  3. Glasgow Herald, 9 May 1885
  4. Glasgow Herald 8 August 1872
  5. Engineering 1880 Jan-Jun: Index: General Index