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British Industrial History

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John Kirkaldy (1853-1920)

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John Kirkaldy (1853-1920) of John Kirkaldy and Sons and John Kirkaldy Ltd

1853 Born in Wapping, son of John Given Kirkaldy and his wife Isabella

1861 John Kirkaldy 73, plumber, painter and master, employing 6 men and 4 boys, lived in Wapping with John Givens Kirkaldy 45, plumber, painter, etc, with Isabella Kirkaldy 30, Thomas Kirkaldy 4, Margaret Kirkaldy 3, James Kirkaldy 10 months[1]

1864-9 Trained as assistant to Thomas Kirkaldy, at 166 Wapping

1871 John G Kirkaldy 56, plumber, lived in Stoke Newington with Isabella Kirkaldy 39, John Kirkaldy 17, ship's engineer, Margaret Kirkaldy 12, James Kirkaldy 10, Robert Kirkaldy 5, Adam W Kirkaldy 3, Patrick Kirkaldy 2 Weeks[2]

1871-3 Foreman to his father - John Kirkaldy, 40 West India Dock Road. Particular interest in distillation plant.

1873 Entrusted with the design and installation of distillery plant

1874-86 Manager to his father

1874 Fitted out various transports for the Ashanti expedition

1880 Became a partner in his father's firm John Kirkaldy and Sons

1884 Distillation equipment for the government for use on transports in Egypt

1886 Dissolution of the partnership between John Kirkaldy, Thomas Kirkaldy, and James Kirkaldy, at West India Dock-road, Limehouse, and the Engine Works, Royal Albert Dock, and elsewhere, as Marine Engineers, Manufacturers of Fresh Water Distilling Plant, Feed Water Heaters, and Condensers, also as Boilermakers, Iron and Brass Founders, Ship Repairers, Coppersmiths, Tin and Iron Plate Workers, Blacksmiths, and Wholesale and Export Ironmongers, under the style of John Kirkaldy.[3]

1887 Death of his father, John Givens Kirkaldy, at Sturry in Kent[4]

1888 Became Associate member of Inst of Civil Engineers

1891 John Kirkaldy 38, marine and civil engineer, employer, lived in Limehouse with Harriet Kirkaldy 28, Anthony H Kirkaldy 4[5]

1901 John Kirkaldy 47, Government contractor, C.E., associate member of Civil Engineers, employer, lived in Harlow with Harriette Kirkaldy 38, John G Kirkaldy 18, marine engineer, employer, Vera F Kirkaldy 2, Eugenie E Kirkaldy 7 months[6]

1905 Transferred to Member of Inst of Civil Engineers

1911 John Kirkaldy 58, civil engineer, employer, lived in Harlow with Harriette Kirkaldy 48, John Givens Kirkaldy 29, marine engineer, on own account, Irene Harriette Kirkaldy 27, Jeannette Isabel Kirkaldy 29, Anthony Hector Kirkaldy 25, motor engineer, on own account, Eugenie Eileen Kirkaldy 10, and daughter in law Ethel Kirkaldy, 28, marine woman[7]

1912 Bankrupt[8]



1920 Obituary [9]

JOHN KIRKALDY was born in London in 1853, and was educated at Mill Hill School.

He served an apprenticeship at his father's works in the West India Dock Road, London, and quite early took over the management of the business, becoming a partner in 1880. Under his direction the firm played a prominent part in introducing fresh-water distilling plant for use on board ship. The firm also designed and made plant in connexion with the Ashanti Campaign, and similar apparatus was supplied by them in 1883 and 1885 for the Egyptian Campaign.

He introduced a system of using live steam for feed-heating on shipboard.

His death took place at Hendon on 7th August 1920, at the age of sixty-seven.

He became a Member of this Institution in 1884; he was also a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers.


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. 1861 census
  2. 1871 census
  3. London Gazette 23 Oct 1888
  4. national probate calendar
  5. 1891 census
  6. 1901 census
  7. 1911 census
  8. The Edinburgh Gazette m26 July 1912
  9. 1920 Institution of Mechanical Engineers: Obituaries
  • Civil engineer records