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British Industrial History

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Nicholls, Williams and Co

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Nicholls, Williams and Co of Bedford Iron Foundry, Tavistock

1844 Business founded by Thomas Nicholls and John Williams. Later joined by Joseph Mathews

1845 'A daughter of Mr. Nicholls, of the Bedford Foundry, Tavistock, aged rather more than eight years, on Thursday we man who was striking; and, while he was swinging the sledge, he struck her on the head. She lingered until Sunday morning, when she expired.'[1]

c1850 Supplied one / two locomotives to Devon Consols of Tavistock [2]

1853 'The large boiler, from the Foundry of Nicholls, Williams, and Co., Tavistock, for the engine at the Wheal Arundel Mines, arrived here on Tuesday last. It weighed about eleven tons, and it took nineteen horses to convey it to the mine from Ashburton. It is 30 feet in length.'[3]

1859 'Annual Festival. —The men of the Bedford Iron Works, Messrs. Nicholls, Williams and Mathews, in this town, met on Friday the 24th inst., to enjoy their annual dinner at the works. Between 70 and 80 partook of the substantial Christmas fare.'[4]

1868 Bought the remainder of the lease of the Tavistock Iron Works

1868 Advertisement: 'TAVISTOCK IRON WORKS. HAVING purchased these well-known and extensive Premises, we take this opportunity of thanking our numerous friends and customers for the very liberal support with which we have been favoured during the past quarter of a century, at the Bedford Iron Works.
We now beg to inform you that our Hammer and Plating Mills are in full operation, and that we are in position to execute any orders for Steel and Iron Shovels of every description, Waggon and Cart Axles, Shear Moulds, and Heavy Shafts of all kinds, &c, at a short notice; these articles are being manufactured by the same workmen employed by the late firm of Messrs. Gill and Co. .whose high reputation for the quality of their shovels in particular, secured them a-world-wide notoriety. We purpose giving especial attention to this branch of the business, and by selecting Iron from best Scrap and superior Steel, as well as workmanship, shall endeavour to maintain that fame for the durability and superiority of these Shovels already so well known. Fire Shovels for Gas Works and Engine Stokers, &c.
We would also direct your notice to the list of our Cast Steel Mining Tools, which are coming into general use, and are giving great satisfaction both at home and abroad. We also beg to announce to Gold Mining Companies, that we have given great attention to this branch of Machinery, supplied Foreign Mines largely, and are prepared to supply estimates for the same application, and Engineers can be sent for erecting, if required, to all parts of tbe world.
Your kind favours will at all times receive our best attention ; and, with our increased facilities, we are now in a position to execute all orders entrusted to our care, with promptness and dispatch.
We are, yours obediently, NICHOLLS, MATHEWS, & Co. Tavistock, September, 1868.'[5]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Yorkshire Gazette, 18 October 1845
  2. British Steam Locomotive Builders by James W. Lowe. Published in 1975. ISBN 0-905100-816
  3. Western Times, Saturday 22nd October 1853
  4. Exeter and Plymouth Gazette, 8 January 1859
  5. Exeter and Plymouth Gazette, 23 October 1868