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Mare and Co

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Mare & Co of Plymouth

Maker of stationary engines. [1]

Plymouth ironfounders – Mare, Plymouth Foundry and Engine Works, Millbay: ‘The various Plymouth foundries – Barbican, Phoenix, Plymouth, Octagon, and Devonport –were possibly all builders of mine engines and machinery, although their staple market was probably marine. Plymouth Foundry, at Millbay, was the most important, owned by John E. Mare & Co, and in business as iron founders by 1832 at least, in which year they built the machinery for the floating steam bridge at Dartmouth. Five years later, John Mare was a long standing but minor creditor of Harvey & Co. for some trade work carried out for him, whilst in 1845 the first engine traced as being built by this foundry was produced, of 30-in cylinder. In 1851 they built a 50-in engine, started in January 1852 at Wheal Tom (Deer Park) and described as “the largest pumping engine ever built in Devon and the first 50-inch cylinder which had come out of their foundry.” This was followed by another 50-in for Bottle Hill Mine (designed by Hocking & Loam) started in May 1852, whilst in 1853 they produced a 70-in engine for Exmouth & Adams United ... Amongst a now quite unknown number of other engines built by Plymouth Foundry were a 30in (9ft stroke) for New East Crowndale (Tavistock), started November 1851, and a 22-in whim for Wheal Edward (Calstock) in 1855. The concern was known as the Plymouth Foundry & Engine Works Co Ltd in 1858, being sold up under this name in February 1871 [Mining Journal] and continued for some years thereafter by Messrs Ellacott & Son.[2]

MARE, c. 1812-1857. In 1812 this company was a growing concern being listed in the directory as ‘Thomas Mare, Plymouth Foundry, 2 George Street, White Smiths, Bell hangers and Iron Founders’; and must have been in existence for a number of years earlier for in 1815 John and William took over the foundry on the death of their father Thomas, having managed it prior to this for three years during his illness. Eleven years later this progressive business in Russell Street built on part of the site of Frankfort Barracks, near Murch’s Globe Inn. In 1836 a licence was obtained to build Hearles Patent Fire Engine, much used by the Admiralty. In 1836, according to D. B. Barton, machinery for the floating bridge at Dartmouth was manufactured and a Cornish beam engine built by the firm in 1845 ended its career at South Candledown Clay Works in the 1930’s (Barton, The Cornish Beam Engine, p. 116). However the firm apparently ran into difficulties for a sale notice of April 1857 noted that the two foundries at Russell Street were capable of executing 30 tons of castings weekly; this was followed by a petition for the adjudication of bankruptcy filed at Exeter against Francis Mare, George Keen and Edmund John Mare, in July 1857. The company was taken over by the Plymouth Foundry and Engine Works, which was later to become Ellacott and Son.[3]

1825 Bankrupts .. From the London Gazette, of Tuesday, July 12th. Thomas Tuckfield Mare, John Edmund Mare, and William Mare, Plymouth, smiths and iron-founders, Aug. 10,11,23, Crown Hotel, Devonport. Sols. Soles, Devonport.[4]

1836 PLYMOUTH FOUNDRY. WANTED at the above Establishment, an active, steady Man, who is a good hand at BELL-HANGING, and to undertake light jobbing the Shop. Also 2 or 3 GOOD SMITHS, none need apply but those who can produce good characters for sobriety and industry. Constant employment will be given. Apply above, if by letter post-paid. Plymouth foundry, March 17, 1836.[5]

1837 STEAM POWER. ANY PERSON desirous of obtaining Steam Power, to drive a Circular Saw, can be accommodated on moderate terms on the premises of the Steam Engine Manufactory of John E. Mare in Russell Street. This will be found an advantageous offer, as the machinery for the purpose is nearly all erected. Plymouth Foundry, Aug. 16, 1837.[6]

1840 '...JOHN MARE, Engineer, Plymouth, WHO is the Sole Manufacturer of HEARLE'S PATENT FIRE ENGINE, begs most respectfully to recommend to the Nobility and the Public In general, this most Invaluable Machine...'[7]

1843 Cornish-type beam engine at Kilnhurst Colliery, Rotherham. Photographed by George Watkins in 1937[8].

1845 Fraud.— A fellow named Elliott, alias Withers, alias Richards, has lately committed series of ingenious frauds in this neighbourhood. The following case is a sample of the whole. Early one morning last week he called on Mr. Mare, at the foundry, Plymouth, representing himself as the chief engineer of a steamer, which had put into Catwater with damaged engines, and requested Mr. Mare, to send some men on board to perform repairs. He then took an opportunity of borrowing 10s., which Mr. Mare afterwards found was the penalty of his credulity, as the fellow was an impostor. He has been apprehended and committed by the Plymouth magistrates to take his trial for swindling.[9]

1852 Mare, John Edmund, ironfounder, Frankfort-square, Russell-street, and Great Western Docks, Millbay.[10]

1859 Waterwheel cast for Wheal Sidney, near Plympton. 45ft by 4ft 6in with wrought iron axle, cast iron centres and rings, with wooden buckets and sole. Worked with bridle and two lines of flat rods, one 260 fathoms long to the old engine shaft and the other 270 fathoms to the new engine shaft. In summer this wheel worked the pumps at 3 strokes per minute, increased to 5rpm in winter. Slow speeds but all the pitwork would stand ..[11]

1862 Plymouth Foundry & Engine Works Co, (Limited), Russell Street.[12]

1870 Plymouth Foundry and Engine Works Company, Limited, in Liquidation. To be SOLD by PRIVATE CONTRACT, the Plymouth Foundry Company’s Works, situate at Millbay, Plymouth, Devonshire, comprising the LAND and BUILDINGS thereon, PLANT, MACHINERY, TOOLS, FIXTURES, IMPLEMENTS, and UTENSILS. The land on which these works are erected is held on lease of lives from the Right Honorable, the Earl of Mount Edgcumbe, with right of perpetual renewal, subject to the payment of a small fine. The buildings stand on about acre of ground, and comprise erecting, fitting, and turning shops, pattern shop, and stores, smithery, boiler making and moulding departments, flask yard, loam mill, and every other requisite necessary for carrying on an extensive business. [4 travelling cranes, pair of steam engines, lathes, drilling and planning machines, slotting machine, circular saw bench, large stock of patterns, four cupolas, brass furnaces – contiguous to the Great Western Docks and the Plymouth Station of the South Devon Railway. Recently erected at a cost of nearly £19,000]. Within a short distance may be obtained, at low rental, shipwright's yard, where iron shipbuilding may be carried on with great advantage.[13]

1871 THE PLYMOUTH FOUNDRY AND ENGINE WORKS COMPANY, LIMITED, PLYMOUTH. - LIQUIDATION. SKARDON and SONS will SELL by Auction, .. the STOCK of this Company, comprising one 25-horse power horizontal steam with governors and fly-wheel, complete ; one cylinder, fitted with piston and other parts, for a 25-horse power engine ; two punching machines, single barrel winches, double purchase crab, about 45 tons of bar, plate, and sheet iron; spring, cast, and blister steel; five tons bolts, nuts, rivets, and nails; 134 gross of screws, of various sizes - 20 plumbago crucibles, boiler felt, steam pipes and fitments, copper tubing and sheet copper, several stoves and a quantity of stove metal, four Hearles Patent pumps, boiler mountings, steam cocks and brass fittings of various descriptions, 2,000 files, sheet india rubber, india-rubber washers, packing rings and Tuck's Patent packing, rain water pipes, cistern heads, swan necks &c.; nozzles and angles, hot water pipes, syphons, bends, and a saddle boiler; imperial furnaces, stable fittings, sash weights, and numerous other effects. May be viewed on the premises two days preceding the sale, where catalogues may be obtained at 6d each, to be returned to purchasers. The Land and Buildings, Plant and Machinery, will shortly be Sold by Public Auction, unless disposed of by Private Contract.[14]

The foundry at Russell Street – extra

1863 Messrs Gorfett, Parsons, and Brealey beg to inform the Public that they have commenced business as Iron and Brass Founders, Engineers, and Smiths in General, in the Old Plymouth Foundry, Russell-street, and hope, by strict attention to business, and moderate charges, to share a portion of the Public Patronage.[15]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Stationary Steam Engines of Great Britain by George Watkins. Vol 10
  2. D. B. Barton, The Cornish Beam Engine, Cornwall Books, 1989, 166-7
  3. R. R. Law, The Ironfounders of Plymouth, in Cynthia Gaskell Brown, ed, A Guide to the Industrial Archaeology of Plymouth and Millbrook, Plymouth City Museum 1980, 45
  4. Aris’s Birmingham Gazette 18 July 1825 p 4
  5. Western Times 19 March 1836 p 2 last col
  6. Western Courier 30 August 1837 p 1
  7. Western Courier 6 May 1840 p 2
  8. 'Stationary Steam Engines of Great Britain: Volume 1: Yorkshire'. Landmark Publishing Ltd., 2000
  9. Western Courier 27 August 1845 p 3 col 1
  10. Brendon’s Plymouth Directory, 1852, 117
  11. D. B. Barton, Essays in Cornish Mining History, 185-186
  12. Elvins’ Directory of Plymouth, 1862, 110
  13. Western Morning News, 5 September 1870 p 2
  14. Western Times 20 February 1871 p 1 col 1
  15. Western Daily Mercury 6 June 1863 p 1