Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 135,412 pages of information and 217,030 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

John Vickary

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John Vickary (c1818-1868) of J. Vickary

Married Caroline Amelia Symons Balkwill

1851 Living at 84 Fore Street, Exeter: John Vickary (age 33 born Exeter), Ironmonger employing 19 men, 4 errand boys, 5 apprentices. With his wife Caroline Vickary (age 26 born Exeter) and their four children; Caroline A. Vickary (age 4 born Exeter); Jane Vickary (age 3 born Exeter); Ada Vickary (age 1 born Exeter); and Charles Vickary (age 8 months born Exeter). One servant.[1]

1861 Living at 84 Fore Street, Exeter: John Vickary (age 42 born Exeter), Employer Engineer and general Metal Works employing 18? men and 9? boys. Ironmonger. With his wife Caroline Vickary (age 37 born Exeter) and their nine children; Amelia Vickary (age 14 born Exeter); Jane Vickary (age 13 born Exeter); Ada Vickary (age 11 born Exeter); Charles Vickary (age 10 born Exeter); Sydney Vickary (age 9 born Exeter); Gertrude Vickary (age 7 born Exeter); Jessie Vickary (age 6 born Exeter); Arthur Vickary (age 4 born Exeter); and Walter Vickary (age 2 born Exeter). Two servants.[2]

1865 July. Royal Agricultural Society Meeting at Plymouth. 'Mr. John Vickary, of Exeter. A complete set of gas apparatus for lighting mills, railway stations, etc. He also shews gas-cooking stoves, gas fittings, &c.'[3]

1868 Died at his home, South Lawn, 25th March. Age 49.[4]

1871 Living at South Lawn, St. Leonards, Exeter: Caroline Vickary (age 50 born Exeter), Widow. With her eight children; Amelia Vickary (age 24 born Exeter); Ada Vickary (age 21 born Exeter); Charles Vickary (age 20 born Exeter), Engineer; Sidney Vickary (age 19 born Exeter), Engineer; Gertrude Vickary (age 17 born Exeter); Harry Vickary (age 6 born Exeter); Lilly Vickary (age 5 born Exeter); and Rosie Vickary (age 3 born Exeter). Also a boarder John Townsend (age 15), Apprentice. Two servants.[5]

1881 Living at 84 Fore Street, Exeter: Caroline Vickary (age 56 born Exeter), Ironmonger Employing 20? men and 4 boys - Widow. With her four children; Walter Vickary (age 22 born Exeter), Ironmonger; Harry Vickary (age 17 born Exeter), Draper; Lillie Vickary (age 15 born Exeter); and Rosie Vickary (age 13 born Exeter). Two servants.[6]


1868 Obituary [7]

'SUDDEN DEATH OF MR. JOHN. Our City sustained a great shock on Wednesday by the sudden death of Mr. John Vickary, the eminent gas engineer. Mr. Vickary was at his factory in the forenoon, when a fire breaking out adjoining, his workmen rushed to the place and assisted in extinguishing the flames. In this work Mr. Vickary himself greatly helped. He was much excited at the time, but appeared to have soon recovered his usual state of mind. He walked about the city, chatted with some of his neighbours, went home to dinner, and shortly afterwards expired without giving the slightest token of illness. He was a stout, corpulent man, about fifty years of age, and it is thought that the excitement of the morning had had some effect on his system, which led to this appalling catastrophe. The deceased leaves a wife and thirteen children, the youngest being only a few weeks old. He was a very able, enterprising man, who by skill, probity, and industry, had raised up one of the largest businesses in Exeter.

His father was a respectable tradesman, a block tin worker in small way of business at the upper part of South-street. Young Vickary left Exeter when he came of age, and for several years worked in Paris in gasometer making.

He returned to his native city, and commenced business about twenty-four or twenty-five years ago in a small shop on Fore-street-hill. Business grew under his clever hands, and he removed higher up the street, and afterwards established an iron foundry in the Bonhay. His establishment here grew apace. He took contracts as a gas engineer in various parts of England and Wales - larger and larger till his concern became the most extensive in Exeter.

He was a member of the Town Council, and as a thriving citizen he was regarded as on the high road to the fullest honours the municipality had to bestow. He was a warm hearted, genial man, and was universally regarded as on the swelling tide of prosperous fortune. On Wednesday morning had any visitor asked who of all our denizens appeared likely to rise highest in the social scale by the prosperity of well directed industry, John Vickary would have been designated the man. This was how the world regarded him at noon on Wednesday. Before sunset John Vickary was a corpse.

His excellent wife was a heart-stricken widow, his thirteen children were left without a guide, and his large business affairs came to the hands of his children before one of them had attained man's estate. His eldest son, not yet of age, made a very favourable impression on the public mind about a year and a half ago by the courageous way in which he risked his life to save another from drowning. He is now the head of John Vickary's house, and we trust that some will be found in the establishment competent to carry out the contracts which, as usual, no doubt, were in course of completion there. In a community so circumscribed as that of Exeter, a catastrophe like this falling like a thunderbolt in the midst of thriving, united, and happy family, striking down a strong man in the midst of his strength and prosperity—a catastrophe like this is a calamity that comes home to all like a family visitation. The feeling of sorrow and sympathy with tho bereaved ones was universal, and lamentations took possession of our streets.
It is said that an inquest will be held to-day by Mr. Coroner Hooper, but wherefore, when the cause of death is manifest ?'


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. 1851 Census
  2. 1861 Census
  3. Exeter and Plymouth Gazette - Friday 21 July 1865
  4. Exeter and Plymouth Gazette, 27 March 1868
  5. 1871 Census
  6. 1881 Census
  7. Western Times, Friday 27 March 1868