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British Industrial History

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Losh, Wilson and Bell

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of 37 Quay Side, Newcastle on Tyne, chemical manufacturers and iron makers

Losh and Co were merchants

1797 the Losh family inherited a share in a coalmine on the Tyne at Walker in which a brine spring had been discovered. This provided a private source of salt for making soda. They avoided the duty on salt by evaporating the brine together with sulphuric acid, thus forming sulphate of soda[1]

Early 19th century: brothers John and William Losh led the firm which went onto manufacture both alkali and iron.

John Losh established Walker Alkali Works which he left in the charge of his brother William.

1803 Thomas Wilson started work for Losh, Lubbren and Co

1803 Losh, Lubbren and Co (the firm of George Losh, William Losh and John Diederich Lubbren), merchants was bankrupt[2]

1807 Thomas Bell (1774-1845) started work for Losh and Co

1807 Thomas Wilson became a partner in the company, Losh and Wilson

1809 William Losh, recognising the growing importance of the iron trade, established the Walker Ironworks; Thomas Bell became the junior partner[3]

1814 John Losh's estate passed to his daughter Sara, including the Walker Alkali Works managed by her uncle William Losh[4]

By 1816 Thomas Bell was involved in the company Losh, Wilson and Bell

1827 General coal fitters, commission merchants and proprietors of the Walker Iron foundry[5]

1827 A powerful rolling mill was erected at the mill, capable of turning out 100 tons per week of bar iron

1833 Puddling process installed

1835 Isaac Lowthian Bell started work at the works.

1838 A second mill was installed for rolling rails. John Vaughan, the superintendent of this mill, by virtue of his character and practical knowledge about iron, exercised a powerful influence on the young Lowthian Bell.

1842 Owing to a shortage of pig iron, the firm decided to put down a blast furnace plant; Bell supervised the erection. The first furnace was designed for smelting mill cinder.

1842 George Dove was made chief engineer of the Walker Ironworks of Losh, Wilson and Bell.

1843 Losh, Wilson and Bell began to use ore from Grosmont.

1844 Second furnace added; experimented with use of Cleveland ironstone from Grosmont. These experiments prepared the way for the opening-up of the Cleveland iron industry c.1850.

1845 On the death of their father, Isaac Lowthian Bell and his brothers took over the direction of the Walker works.

c.1846 Ferdinand Bolckow and John Vaughan, who had taken ironstone mines near Skinningrove, transferred them to Losh, Wilson and Bell.

1851 Partnership change. '...the Partnership heretofore subsisting between us the undersigned, William Losh, Thomas Wilson, Catherine Bell, Isaac Lowthian Bell, Thomas Bell, and John Bell, carrying on business at Walker, in the county of Northumberland, and at the borough of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, as Iron Manufacturers, and Ship and Insurance Brokers, under the style or firm of Losh, Wilson, and Bell, has been dissolved, so far as the said Isaac Lowthian Bell is concerned....'[6]

1855 'Terrific Boiler Explosion at Walker-on-Tyne.—
A terrific boiler explosion occurred upon the works of Messrs. Losh, Wilson, and Bell, at this place on Monday. The boiler, after exploding, was thrown a distance of 100 yards, and in its progress destroyed a large amount of property. Six men have been dug out dead, and many are seriously injured. One lad was blown into the Tyne, and a man had his head taken off. It is not possible to give particulars till to-morrow. The surgeon informed us at ten o'clock that the wounded have a fair prospect of recovery. It is thought that no more are buried under the shed which fell and caused the loss of life.—Times.'[7]

1870 A terrible accident, involving a boiler explosion, occurred on 14th September at the works of Bells, Goodman and Co, "better and more widely known as Losh, Wilson and Bell" [8]

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. The Engineer 1863/09/25
  2. The London Gazette 20 October 1804
  3. The Worthies of Cumberland by Henry Lonsdale 1873
  4. Biography of Sara Losh, ODNB [1]
  5. History, Directory & Gazetteer of Durham & Northumberland, 1827
  6. [2] The London Gazette Publication date:7 March 1851 Issue:21189 Page:676
  7. Sheffield Daily Telegraph - Wednesday 10 October 1855
  8. [3] 'Local records; or, Historical register of remarkable events which have occurred in Northumberland and Durham, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and Berwick-upon-Tweed,' etc (1876)