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John Price

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Alderman John Price (1833-1903)

General Manager for Palmers Shipbuilding and Iron Co.[1]


1903 Obituary [2]

JOHN PRICE, born on the 16th August, 1833, served his apprenticeship as an Engineer, first with the late James Keen, and subsequently with George Clark, both Mechanical Engineers, of Sunderland.

In August, 1855, he was appointed Second Engineer to H.M. Floating Factory 'Chasseur' under the late Mr. R. S. Fraser, and, in the following month, the duties of Secretary to the Floating Factory were also entrusted to him. He held those posts until September, 1856, when the vessel finished its work at Balaclava and was put out of commission.

Mr. Price joined the firm of Pile, Spence and Co, steamship builders, of West Hartlepool, in the year 1858, and remained in their employment until August, 1863, during which time, in addition to being Engineer to that firm, he held the post of Superintending Engineer to the West Hartlepool Steam Navigation Co.

In September, 1863, he was appointed Chief Surveyor to the Underwriters’ Registry for iron vessels, which post he held until March, 1876. During that period he contributed materially to the settlement of a basis on which the scantlings of iron ships were fixed, and he presented two Papers on that subject to the Scottish Shipbuilders’ Association.

In March, 1876, Mr. Price was appointed General Manager to the Palmers Shipbuilding and Iron Co, of Jarrow-on-Tyne, a post which he held until 1894. During that period great changes were made in the works of the Company under his supervision. The blast furnace department was largely extended, a complete steel-melting plant on the Siemens-Martin principle and an extensive bar mill were laid down, and the plate mills were also completely re-arranged and extended. The shipbuilding and engineering departments were also brought up to date and fitted with modern appliances, and such vessels as the 'Orlando' and 'Undaunted,' the 'Pique,' 'Rainbow' and 'Retribution,' and the 'Resolution' and 'Revenge,' all built for H.M. Navy, were constructed under his management. During his career at Jarrow the tonnage of the vessel launched amounted to about 650,000 tons, and in the year 1889 the tonnage launched amounted to 64,669 tons.

In 1895 the firm of C. S. Swan and Hunter, of Wallsend-on-Tyne, was converted into a private Limited Liability Company, and Mr. Price joined the Board of Directors and maintained an active connection with the Company to the time of his death, which took place at his residence in Newcastle-on-Tyne on the 27th January, 1903.

Mr. Price took an active part in the municipal life of Jarrow during the period of his connection with the Palmer Shipbuilding Company, and was also associated for many years with the 1st Durham Engineer Volunteers, of which corps he was Colonel.

He was twice Mayor of Jarrow, a Magistrate for the borough, and a Member of the River Tyne Commission.

Mr. Price was elected a Member of the Institution on the 5th December, 1882.


1903 Obituary [3]

JOHN PRICE died at Osborne Villas, Jesmond, Newcastle-on-Tyne, on January 27, 1903. Mr. Price, who was for about forty years closely associated with the shipbuilding industry of the Tyne, was born in 1836, of Scotch parentage, and was trained as a marine engineer, adding to his shop experiences the advantages of service as a chief engineer at sea. He subsequently became a surveyor for Lloyd's, and in 1876 he went from Liverpool to Jarrow to succeed the late Mr. John M'Intyre as manager of the Palmer Shipbuilding and Iron Company's Works. He filled that position with conspicuous ability for over fifteen years, during which period extensive developments were carried out in the works, and in the designs of the vessels built. The business expanded, new plant was introduced, and the company attained the leading place on the list of shipbuilders of the country which it has ever since maintained.

In 1893 he severed his connection with the firm, and joined the board of directors of C. S. Swan & Hunter, Limited, of Wallsend, becoming identified with the latter company when the works were being carried out. His great experience and skill were much appreciated by his co-managers, and his association with them continued until his final illness.

He was a member of the Institutions of Civil Engineers, of Mechanical Engineers, and of Naval Architects, but he did not take any great part in the public proceedings. Since his retirement from public work at Jarrow he lived in comparative privacy in Newcastle, where he continued to give attention to several commercial undertakings, one of the chief of these being the Cairns Line of steamers, he having been chairman of that company.

He was elected a member of the Iron and Steel Institute in 1878.


1903 Obituary [4]



1903 Obituary.[5]

...late manager of Palmer's Shipbuilding Co...


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. The Engineer 1881/08/19
  2. 1903 Institution of Civil Engineers: Obituaries
  3. 1903 Iron and Steel Institute: Obituaries
  4. Engineering 1903 Jan-Jun: Index: General Index
  5. The Engineer 1903 Jan-Jun: Index: Miscellaneous