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British Industrial History

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P. and H. P. Gibbons

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of Vale of White Horse Iron Works, Wantage, maker of agricultural machinery

formerly Hart, Gibbons and Gibbons

1857 The business was being carried on by Charles Hart; Henry Philip Gibbons and J. V. Gibbons entered the firm which, at that time, was known as Hart, Gibbons and Gibbons.

1858 J. V. Gibbons left the business; P. Gibbons entered the firm, and the title was changed to P. and H. P. Gibbons.

1860 Became to make portable engines

1861 Exhibited at the Royal Agricultural Society of England meeting in Leeds - exhibits included 7hp portable steam engine and threshing machines[1]

1881 Henry Philip Gibbons died.

1881 Arthur S. P. Robinson purchased an interest in the business which became Gibbons and Robinson.

1891 The remaining Gibbons brother retired

Presumably then became Robinson and Auden


(Philip Gibbons) Coming to Wantage in the year 1856 the works were then very low condition and only fulfilling local orders, but during Gibbons 35 years partnership they were considerably developed and acquired world-wide fame, and are now the chief industry the town, employing a large number of hands. It may be interesting to our readers to give a brief survey of the rise of these works during Mr Gibbons’ career.

His brother, Mr H. P. Gibbons, with brother named Mr J. V. Gibbons, jointly acquired the Vale of White Horse Iron Works in 1857, then being carried on by Charles Hart, and the firm at that time was known as Hart, Gibbons and Gibbons. This title was however only retained for twelve months, when Job Gibbons having retired, P. Gibbons entered the firm, the title of which then changed to P. and H. P. Gibbons. The two brothers worked hand in hand successfully till 1881, when P. F. Gibbons died.

Then it was that the firm once more changed its name to Gibbons and Robinson, Arthur S. P. Robinson, the present proprietor, purchasing an interest in it. That partnership continued till 1891, when declining health compelled Mr Gibbons to retire into well deserved rest. A few words in respect to this enterprising firm may not be out of place.

The brothers Gibbons, upon the retirement of Charles Hart, who was one of the earliest pioneers of the steam thrashing machine, determined to still devote their attention to that department, and as a result they, while giving every attention to the growing requirement of extensive local trade in agricultural implements, made thrashing machines a speciality, and exhibited them at the principal shows in England. Continued experiments and improvement resulted in their obtaining in 1860 the first prize for a thrashing machine at the Royal Agricultural Society Show at Canterbury.

At that date they began the manufacture of portable engines, and the business thereupon increased that it soon became necessary to build new shops and to make extensive additions to their plant. They then entered foreign trade, competing at the various European shows. They enjoyed a great demand both in England and abroad, and secured many prizes and medals in Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, and other countries, together with the gold medal and first order of merit the Melbourne Exhibition in 1881. Thus it will be seen the firm has during Gibbons’ partnership wonderfully grown and held its own in the foreign field.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Farmer's Magazine, 1861
  2. Faringdon Advertiser and Vale of the White Horse Gazette - Saturday 18 January 1896