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British Industrial History

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John Jones and Sons

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1874.
January 1880.
June 1880.
1887. Engines of SS Bencroy.
1887. Engines of SS Bencroy.
Photographed in Punta Arenas, Chile.

John Jones & Sons of St. George's Engine Works, Liverpool

John Jones and Sons of Marine Engine Works, William Street, Liverpool.(1872)

1852 John Jones, formerly a partner in Jones, Turner and Evans of Newton-le-Willows, started a locomotive business [1] after his earlier works, Jones and Potts of Newton, were leased to the LNWR.

1853 Fitted out some of the first stern-wheel steamers built in this country, shipped them in parts to India[2]

1866 Supplied steam-driven hydraulic hoists to the works of the Mersey Steel and Iron Co, for raising railway wagons. They were lifted 30 ft from a tunnel connecting to a siding served by the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway. The main hoist was topped by a 20 ft diameter turntable. This rotated as the hoist rose and fell, being guided by rollers in spiral tracks. Automatic cut-outs acted when the hoist reached the top of its travel. From the turntable, the wagon could be sent to the works’ south yard, or across to a traversing table for transfer to another lift, whence the wagon could be passed to the Bessemer plant. [3]

1866 John Jones died. Presumably the business was carried on by his 3 sons.

1877 Dissolution of the Partnership between John Jones, Charles Jones, and James Jones, as Engineers and Iron-founders, carrying on business at Liverpool, under the firm of John Jones and Sons, so far as regards the said John Jones. Charles Jones and James Jones would continue to carry on the business under the said firm of John Jones and Sons.[4]

1882 Handed over a steamer, the ninth one built for the owner Joseph Hoult.[5]

1884 Built boilers for the SS Abyssinia at the St George's Engine Works

1891 Advert. For description of works see 1891 The Practical Engineer.

1896 Made floating caissons for Liverpool’s new North Docks. These were more or less ship-shaped, and had a boiler supplying steam for centrifugal pumps driven by single cylinder vertical engines [6]

1897 Launched paddle steamers Pearl and Ruby. [7]

John Jones and Sons continued building ship's engines and one steamship 'The Danny' Daniel Adamson in 1903 (which was recently restored to full function; this has one of the John Jones's ships steam engines. The Danny survives on the Mersey river in Liverpool).

John Jones merged with Cammell Lairds not long after that date.[8]


  • The Danny is believed to be the the oldest Mersey built steam ship still in existence.[9]
  • "In 1900 a site was acquired at Tranmere, up-river from the existing yard of Laird Brothers. On it stood a row of large, private houses, the recently built headquarters of the Royal Mersey Yacht Club and a small shipyard owned by John Jones and Sons. Laird Brothers and John Jones - which was soon bought out - formed the Tranmere Bay Development Co Ltd. in March 1902 to undertake work on a 98.5 acre site. The installations included a yard to build ships of up to 1,000ft in length, well in excess of the largest size envisaged. It was provided with six slipways, two graving docks, new engine and boiler shops and a 15 acre fitting out basin, the UK's largest privately owned wet dock. The docks and basin were opened in 1906."[10]

Note: RE: Amedeo plate (pictured): The steamship was bought by José Menéndez of Co of Punta Arenas, Chile. In September 1892 the steamship Amadeo arrived in Punta Arenas on its maiden voyage, carrying bricks to build the family home. It was the first of the ships of their property. The Amadeus has been declared a National Monument by the Chilean Government, and his remains are on the beaches of the bay of San Gregorio (Chile), on the Strait of Magellan.[11] [12]

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. 'British Steam Locomotive Builders' by James W. Lowe. Published in 1975. ISBN 0-905100-816
  2. 1891 visit by I Mech E to the St George's Works
  3. 'Engineering', 23rd November 1866
  4. London Gazette 5 February 1879
  5. Liverpool Mercury - Tuesday 05 September 1882
  6. Engineering, 4th September 1866
  7. The Engineer 1897/05/07
  8. Family records
  9. Family records
  10. Steel, Ships and Men:Cammell Laird, 1824-1993 by Kenneth Warren (p103)
  11. Wikipedia
  12. Dr SJ Andrews