Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

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Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 150,697 pages of information and 235,204 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Peel, Williams and Peel

From Graces Guide
c.1838 Peel, Williams and Peel beam engine at Blists Hill Victorian Town, Ironbridge Gorge, ex-Best and Lloyd
JD PWP Ironbr01.jpg
JD PWP Ironbr03.jpg
Detail of connection between flywheel spoke and rim
Detail of connection between flywheel spoke and rim
1846. Peel, Williams and Peel beam engine at Manchester's Museum of Science and Industry (c) MOSI.
1846. Peel, Williams and Peel beam engine at Manchester's Museum of Science and Industry (MoSI)
Detail of 1846 engine at MoSI
1846 Receipt. (c) MOSI.
1846 Receipt. (c) MOSI.
Detail from Bancks's 1831 map. Scale: 1" represents approx 100 yards
The western extremity of Soho Foundry, photographed in 2010
Old survivors in a new world: remains of Soho Foundry in centre, former Vulcan Works of John Hetherington and Sons on right
Gate ends at Narrow Water Castle Co Down, NI.
Gate end detail at Narrow Water Castle Co Down, NI.

See also Peel, Williams and Co.

Peel, Williams and Peel of Soho Foundry, Pollard Street, Manchester, were iron and brass founders, forgemasters, makers of steam engines, boilers, hydraulic presses, mill gearing, etc.

The book 'Science & Technology in the Industrial Revolution' by A. E. Musson and Eric Robinson [1]. devotes a chapter to the company, with the stated aim 'of rescuing from oblivion the history of the firm'. The book is available on-line [2]


c.1825 Joseph Peel and George Peel the sons of George Peel, Senior entered into partnership with William Ward Williams, and the firm of Peel, Williams and Co became Peel, Williams and Peel

1826 The New York Spectator reprinted an article from the Manchester Guardian, reporting that a meeting was called 'of all the workmen (upwards of two hundred) at present employed in the Soho foundry'. They were addressed by George Peel Jr. regarding the plight of their late shop-mates, 'whom the state of the times had obliged his partners and himself to discharge'. He proposed that each workman contribute sixpence weekly to a fund to support the men and their families The firm would also contribute a handsome sum, weekly, to the charity [3]

1827 'Our mechanical friends will, we think, be gratified to learn, that a forge, for the manufacture of scrap iron of every description and size, has at length been established in this town, at the Soho Foundry, Ancoats. The success of such an undertaking will hardly, we think, admit of doubt, and the extensive utility of it in a mechanical town like this where so much machinery requiring the very best quality of iron made, must be sufficiently obvious. All sizes of scrap bar iron, heavy shafts, and that description which, we believe, is technically named, use iron, hitherto so difficult to obtain in this town in any reasonable time, may now be had at very few hours notice. We have seen the operation of making large bars by one of the heavy hammers, a ponderous mass of iron, weighing upwards of five tons, and making about one hundred blows in a minute, and were astonished at the facility with which the heated piles were drawn into bars. To Messrs. Peel, Williams, and Peel, the proprietors, we understand it will a matter of much personal convenience as connected with their extensive steam-engine manufactory, and we are informed it their intention shortly to erect a work for the making of every description of rolled iron, rods, and boiler plates. We heartily wish them success in their spirited undertaking— See advt'. The advert:-

(1827) 'SOHO FORGE, ANCOATS, MANCHESTER. PEEL, WILLIAMS and PEEL, take this opportunity of informing Engineers, Millwrights, Engravers, Coachmakers, Wheelwrights, and Smiths, that having now completed the above Works, they can be supplied with best Faggotted CROSS-BARS, SHAFTS, MAUNDRILLS, COACH-AXLES, FIRE-IRON, CART-ARMS, and USE IRON of every description, made entirely from Scraps, on the shortest possible notice, end of an unexceptionable quality. Merchants arid Dealers in Iron are also informed, that best Hammered SCRAP BARS, of every size, are likewise Manufactured—Orders left at the Phoenix foundry, Shudehill; or at the Forge Soho Foundry, Ancoats, will receive the most prompt attention. N.B. Best Price given for good clean Scraps. Soho and Phoenix Foundries, December 1st, 1827.'[4]

1828 Serious fire totally destroys the (old) Soho Foundry, Pollard Street. The building which is three stories high and twelve yards wide forms nearly a square, we should suppose about sixty yards each way and The large new Soho Foundry, which is altogether separate from the part in which the fire was, has not been at all injured [5]

1828 'Large Cylinder. There was lately cast at the Soho Foundry, at Ancoats, Manchester, a metal cylinder, in comparison with which the celebrated "Mons Meg," of Edinburgh Castle, and "Roaring Meg" of Derry, must hide their diminished heads. The diameter inside, when bored, is 6 feet 8 inches; its length is 9 feet 6 inches; and its weight 6 tons, 10 cwt. 2qrs. and 11 lbs. So perfect was the casting, that, notwithstanding its prodigious size, not a single blemish appeared in it when bored. The boring occupied 34 days, during 32 of which the boring mill was worked incessantly night and day. The cylinder is intended to be used for blowing a blast furnace in Scotland.'[6]

1829 Advertisement to sell the Unicorn Corn Mills, David Street, Manchester with all equipment by Mr Williams of Peel, Williams and Peel [7]

1833 Death of William Ward Williams

1838 'Railway Collision — Monday. A new engine, made by Messrs Peel and Williams, was placed for trial on the rails in St. George's Road, on the Leeds Railway. It worked excellently; and, on parts of the line, the speed was tremendous- It is a regulation of the company—and a very useful one—that, whenever an extra engine or train is to pass either way, the regular train preceding it shall exhibit a board with the words "Train." or "Engine coming up." In this case, the rule was, on some account, unfortunately departed from, and the consequences were very serious. Several persons, including the superintendent and the engineer, were on the engine and they worked it at high speed past Rochdale, intending go to Littleborough ; but, when near the Skew bridge, on the Milnrow Road, they came suddenly upon an empty truck, which—the usual notice not having been given—had not been removed. There was no pulling up, and tbe persons on the engine had no chance but jumping for it: they accordingly did so, and fortunately escaped without serious harm. The collision was singularly terrific, the force was so great, that the truck was struck up off the rails, and the engine actually ran under it; by which the chimney was carried away, and other serious injury done — Manchester Guardian.'[8]

1839 Commenced making railway locomotives. Satisfactory trials of the Liverpool and Manchester line [9]. More information below.

1841 Listed as Peel, Williams and Peel, steam engine and scrap iron manufacturers, iron and brass founders, engineers, millwrights, and boiler and gasometer makers, Soho foundry and forge, Pollard street; office Pall Mall [10]

1847 'Mammoth Machinery. — On Saturday we observed some immense parts of machinery which were being conveyed through the town ; on inquiry, we learn that they were destined for the tunnel on the Liverpool and Manchester section of the London and North Western Railway, at Wapping, Liverpool, and were from the works of Messrs. Peel, Soho Iron Works, Ancoats. A very large shaft attracted our attention ; it was thirty-one feet long, fifteen inches in circumference in the centre, and seventeen inches at each end, and was composed of wrought iron, being manufactured at the large forge hammer of the Soho Iron Works. This mass of wrought iron was 10 tons in weight, and we believe it is the longest shaft that has ever been constructed of wrought iron. There was also a large three sheaf pully of sixteen feet diameter, and weighing upwards of ten tons, from the same manufactory.— Manchester Courier.'[11]

1848 Death notice: 'On the 22nd inst., in his 76th year, much respected, Samuel Howard, for upwards of forty years in the employment of Messrs. Peel, Williams, and Peel, Soho Iron Works, in this city.'[12]

1849 Court case brought by Mr Gratrix, bleacher and dyer, against Joseph and George Peel over the supply of a defective double crankshaft[13]

1851 Advertisement 'Established a Forge' [14]

1851 Fire at Soho Foundry but only limited damage to the roof [15]

1851 Death notice: 'On the 7th inst., at his residence, Ancoats, in his 83rd year, Mr. James Rhodes, much respected, for 33 years in the service of Messrs. Peel, Williams, and Peel, Soho Iron Works, in this town.' <ref< Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, 13 December 1851</ref>

1853 Listed as steam engine and scrap iron merchants, and iron and brass founders, engineers and millwrights, and boiler, gasometer and hydraulic press makers [16]

1854 Marriage notice, 28 March: 'At St. John's Church [somewhere in India?], by the Rev. A. Hamilton, H. R. HUDSON, Esq., of the Treasury, to HENRIETTA, the Second daughter of the late F. SAUNDERS, Esq., formerly of Peel, Williams and Peel, Manchester, and lately of Bombay Mint.'[17]

1856 Death notice: 'On the 17th inst., at Birmingham, Mr. Emanuel Wharton, who for upwards of 25 years, was a confidential servant of Peel, Williams, and Peel, the Soho Iron Works, in this city.'[18]

1858 'Frightful and Fatal Accident at a Foundry. —On Thursday afternoon, Mr. E. Herford, city coroner, held an inquest at the royal infirmary, on the body of J. Robinson, who died on Tuesday, in consequence of burns received while at work at the foundry of Messrs. Peel, Williams, and Peel, ironfounders, Pollard-street. It appeared from the evidence of George Ferguson, a moulder, that the deceased was a blast tenter, his duty being to fill the furnaces with iron and coke, and to tap them when ready. On Tuesday afternoon, Ferguson had to make a casting weighing nearly five tons; and about a quarter after two o’clock, the deceased called to him that the metal was ready. The mould was about 25 yards from the furnace. The deceased then tapped the furnace, and allowed about 34 cwt. of molten iron to flow into a ladle, which Ferguson removed, and hoisted about four feet by crane to run it into the mould. In doing this the crane caught another, and Ferguson called to some men to separate the two at the top. In the attempt the ladle was jerked, its bow broke, and in the fall of the metal it came upon the deceased, knocking him into a pit, and of course burning him horribly. Another man, named Stanton, suffered similarly but much less severely. The unfortunate sufferers were at once removed to the royal infirmary; and there Robinson died the same evening. — Mr. G. Peel, jun., stated that the bow of the ladle was calculated to carry eleven tons, but examination since the accident had shown that there was a flaw in its centre. He had never known such an accident occur before; but he thought that in future, purely as matter of prudence, a somewhat different course might be adopted in dealing with the charged ladles. —The jury returned a verdict of "Accidental death.” The deceased resided in Travis-street. He was 45 years old ; and he has left a widow and four children. —Manchester Guardian.'[19]

1860 Death of Amos Pearson, Engineer and late foreman for 36 years at the company. Age 79. [20]

1861 Listed as Peel, Williams and Peel, steam engine makers, iron and brass founders, engineers, millwrights, boiler, gasometer and hydraulic press makers, Soho Iron Works and Forge, Pollard st, Great Ancoats st. [21]

1861 Announcement of the death of Mr James Mellor, 78, 'for 40 years in the service of Peel, Williams & Peel of the Soho Iron Works. In early life he was in the Royal Navy and was present at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 as a first class seaman on board Temeraire' [22]

1861 Death announcement: 'On the 8th inst., in his 63rd year, David Balfour, of this city, for many years chief foreman of fitters to Peel, Williams, and Peel, of the Soho Iron Works.'[23]

1862 Won a medal for their machinery at the 1862 London Exhibition

1862 Produced a heavy forging weighing 13 tons and 30 feet long at 22 inches in diameter [24]. This was described as 'the largest piece of forging ever made in this city'. 'It is a main shaft for a water wheel.... This immense mass of metal has been made entirely of small scrap iron, and now weighs thirteen tons. The men have been working at it night and day, and have managed to turn it out in about nine days, a steam hammer weighing seven or eight tons being employed to beat the metal together. The wheel for which it is intended will weigh eighty tons [25]

1862 Patent applied for by George Peel, Junior, of Peel, Williams and Peel and Joseph Simpson, manager of the same, for improvements in the constuction, arrangement and mode of working of hydraulic presses, and in the arrangement of force pumps[26]

1865 Mammoth cotton press for India [27]

1865 Patent applied for by George Peel, Junior and Isaac Mason of Sale for improvements in hydraulic presses for compressing cotton and other substances[28]

1874 Manchester Exhibition: 'Mr. J. Simpson, engineer to Messrs. Peel, Williams and Peel, Soho Ironworks, Manchester, exhibits a complete set of drawings illustrative of certain improvements in existing low·pressure engines for economising steam. These plans set forth several novel methods of compounding engines. .... The result of several months' trial shows that from a consumption of 92 tons of coal per week the same work is now done by 63 tons of the same coal. .... Drawing No. 3 is a plan for compounding a beam engine by placing a high-pressure cylinder horizontally under the low-pressure one, so that the power from this cylinder will be exerted when the cranks is pressing the dead centres.'[29]

1879 Listed as Peel, Williams and Peel, steam engine makers, iron and brass founders, engineers, millwrights, boiler, gasometer and hydraulic press makers, Soho Iron Works and Forge, Pollard street, Great Ancoats street. [30]

1883 Listed as Peel, Williams and Peel, steam engine makers, iron and brass founders, engineers, millwrights, boiler, gasometer and hydraulic press makers, Soho Foundry and Forge, Pollard Street, Ancoats St [31].

c.1892 Union Engineering Co (another branch of the Peel family) moved to Pollard Street East, Ancoats.

1895 The occupant of Soho Works was listed as the Union Alkali Co[32]. This company still occupied part of the works in 1967.

Sale of Contents of Soho Ironworks, 1886/1887

1886 Advertisement: 'Ancoats, Manchester.—Valuable Land, Works, and Machinery. By Messrs. WILLIAM WILSON & SON, at the Legal Exchange, 28, Kennedy-street, Manchester, on Tuesday the 14th of December, 1886, at three for four o'clock in the afternoon, in one or two lots, and subject to particulars and conditions of sale :
TWO PLOTS OF LAND, situate in Ancoats, Manchester, and having extensive frontages to Pollard-street and to the Manchester and Ashton Canal, with valuable wharfage and other rights, containing (including parts of streets and canal) 6,906 square yards and 5,174 square yards respectively, more or less, and the Foundry and other Buildings thereon, known as the SOHO IRONWORKS, and lately in the occupation of Messrs. Peel, Williams, and Peel. The steam engines, boilers, and fixed plant and machinery (a schedule of which can be seen at the office of the vendors' solicitors) are included in the sale, and the purchaser is to have the option of taking over the office furniture and fittings and loose tools and machinery, or any part thereof, at valuation to be made in the manner prescribed by the conditions of sale. The property is freehold, …..'[33]

1887 Advertisement 'Soho Ironworks, Ancoats, in the city of Manchester.— Important to Engineers, Tool and Boiler Makers, Contractors, Brokers, and others.
MESSRS. WILLIAM WILSON & SON respectfully announce that they have received instructions to SELL BY AUCTION on Wednesday, 18th day of May, 1887, and two following days, commencing each day at 11 o'clock, the CONTENTS of the WORKS, lately in the occupation of Messrs. Peel, Williams, and Peel; comprising two donble-flued steam boilers, 24ft. by 6ft. 6in.; single-flued ditto. 17ft. By 4 ft. 6in., all fully mounted ; condensing beam engine, 29¼in. cylinder, 5ft. stroke; ditto ditto 22in. cylinder, 4ft. 4in. stroke; horizontal ditto 11in. cylinder, 20in. stroke; two donkey pumping engines, together with the heavy shafting and gearing, steam and water piping, with valves and taps throughout the premises; 24 iron and wood foundry swing and other cranes, with single and double purchase crabs, blocks, and ropes, with jibs from 8ft. to 28ft. radius; single and double-purchase crabs, two wrought-iron travelling cranes, 4ft. 6in. span, and double-purchase crabs; numerous blocks, chains, and ropes; foundry stoves with carriage and tram rails, air furnaces, furnace for boiler plates, cupolas with tuyere pipes, four crane ladles, from 30cwt. to 7 tons; moulding boxes, core barrels, carriages, and tups; numerous double and single smith's hearths, with blast valves, levers, and pipes; and blacksmith's tools, anvils, swages, and blocks ; three large forge furnaces, heavily metalled furnace for heating boiler plates, two helve hammers, with anvil blocks, stand, and iron foundation; pair of shears, two standards, cam and foundation; cylinder casting pit; cylinder boring machines, with five pair spur-wheels, boring bar 15ft. by 11in. diameter, traverse motion, iron standards and foundation; wheel turning lathe, to take 5ft. diameter, with break to take 12ft. by 12in., 9ft. faceplate; ditto 4ft. 9iu.; ditto 6ft. 3in. by 6in., faceplate 5ft. 3in.: two ditto 4ft. 9in., with 5ft. and 4ft. faceplates; 24 break sliding screw-cutting and hand lathes, from 8in. to 20in.. centres, in capital condition, iron gap beds; five planing machines, will plane from 3ft. 6in. by 10in. by 10in., to 20ft. 6in., 6ft. l0in. by 6ft. 10in. ; single and double-geared screwing machines, three self-acting shaping machines with slide tables, wheel cutting machine with 4ft. faceplate, three self-acting slotting machines to slot wheels from 3ft. to 5ft. diameter, 9½in. rack, geared boring machines, hand lever punching machine, Garforth's patent riveting machine, 8in. cylinder steam hammer, punching and shearing machines, plate-bending machine, hydraulic press with 4in. rams, iron circular saw frames for iron and wood, pumps, 26-ton weighing machine, platform portable ditto from 10 cwt to tons, various sizes of grindstones in iron troughs, iron fitters' vices from 4in. to 7½ in., wall drilling jibs, iron racks, stoves, and piping, wood fitters' and other benches, cupboards and racks, bogies, barrows, engine with 13in. cylinder and two vacuum pumps, horizontal engine, 14-inch cylinder, and double vertical drilling machine (incomplete), hydraulic cotton press, sets of hand pumps, tram wheels, iron plates, quantity of pig, wrought, and cast scrap ; steam boilers, suitable for cisterns; wood cotton box, iron bound, on wheels; valuable collection of wheel and other patterns, together with the whole of the valuable counting-house and office furniture and fittings, safes, and other effects, in and about premises, which will be fully described in catalogues.—For catalogues and further information apply to the Auctioneers, 29. Fountain-street; to Messrs. HAMPSON & CROSSE, solicitors, 7, St. James's-square, Manchester.'[34]

Some Examples of Products

1825 40 HP engine supplied to a newly-built mill at the bottom end of Union Street, Higher Ardwick.[35]

1827 Advertisement for sale of newly erected corn mill at Bacup, with 20 HP engine by Peel, Williams & Peel [36]

1832 Supplied a steam engine for Langthwaite Cotton Mill, Cumbria, to reduce the dependence on water power [37]

1837 A 40 HP engine by Peel, Williams & Peel was included in the sale of Heap Ridings Mill in Brinksway, Stockport[38]

A c.1838 beam engine is preserved at Blists Hill Victorian Town, but stands neglected in a dark corner. This engine previously worked at the Smethwick Foundry of Best and Lloyd, and was photographed there by George Watkins in 1957 [39] (See photographs).

1839 'Peel, Williams, and Peel, of Soho Works, Ancoats, sent the first locomotive constructed by them to the Liverpool and Manchester Railway. This engine was named "Soho," and took a train of 25 loaded wagons, weighing 133 tons 18. cwt. 2 qrs., from Liverpool to Manchester; whilst for a fortnight before this she was running with the ordinary passenger trains, and "no failure had taken place, and the trains having usually been brought in before their time. The improvement introduced into this engine consisted of a new method of working the valves. The 'Soho' had no eccentrics, but in place of them were two spur wheels, staked on to the crank axle, driving two other wheels of equal diameter placed immediately over them, so as to preserve the distance between the centres constantly the same, and unaffected by the motion of the engine on its springs. The wheels last mentioned were attached to a short axle, carrying at each end a small crank arm, which drove a connecting-rod attached to the valve spindle.' [40]

1839 'NEW LOCOMOTIVE ENGINE. Messrs. Peel, Williams, and Peel, of Soho Iron Works, Ancoats, have recently turned their attention to the manufacture of locomotive engines, for railroads ; and on Wednesday a trial was made of their first engine, on the Liverpool and Manchester line. It is appropriately named the "Soho," and in point of external finish and appearance, greatly excels any we have previously seen. The dimensions of its principal parts are as follows :—diameter of working wheels, 5ft. 6 in.; ditto of cylinders, 11 in. ; length of stroke, 1 ft. 6 in. ; number of tubes 85, and the other parts in proportion. The general form and disposition of the parts of this engine resemble those of the Liverpool and Manchester and Grand Junction lines ; the only difference being in the mode of working the valves. There are no eccentrics, but in place of them two spur wheels of equal diameter placed immediately over them, and running in a frame supported by the crank axle, so as to preserve the distance between the centres constantly the same and unaffected by the motion of the engine on its springs. The wheels last mentioned are attached to a short valve or shaft, carrying at each end a small crank arm, which drives a connecting rod attached to the valve spindle. There is likewise a very important and creditable improvement in the construction of the striking lever for reversing the motion, which we are unable to describe intelligently without the aid of a drawing. The results of the experiments on Wednesday, during a trip from Manchester to Liverpool, with the nine A.M., first class train, consisting of seven carriages, each weighing five tons, are thus reported to Mr. Edward Woods, the superintendent engineer: Weather very wet. A strong headwind from the westward. Water in tender cold. ... [Table ofconsumption, speeds, etc] .... On the same day, the engine also performed another experimental trip from Liverpool to Manchester with twenty-five loaded waggons, weighing in the gross 133 tons 18 cwt. 2 qrs., which was considered by Mr. Woods to be equally satisfactory. Previous to this experiment, the "Soho" had been running a fortnight with passengers on the Liverpool and Manchester line, and during that time Mr. Woods informs us, " no failure has taken place, and the trains have usually been brought in before their time." These results must be as satisfactory as they are creditable to Messrs. Peel, and we are glad to find that their spirit and enterprise have met with such distinguished success.— Manch. Courier.'[41]

1840s - Supplied a 28 HP engine to Bassano and Fisher of Birmingham.

1842 Advertisement for sale of a grinding mill called Grimesthorpe Grinding Wheel included a 26 HP engine by Peel, Williams & Peel[42]

c.1845 Supplied steam engines for the Kingston Cotton Mills (Hull). According to a newspaper report, there were four 100 HP engines, four storeys high, with two flywheels 40 ft diameter [43]. However, a later report put the flywheel diameter at a more realistic 24 ft.[44] Quoting from that report: '....But the size of their limbs produced less impression upon our mind than the beautiful ease of their motion, - and the almost total absence of that shaking and trembling which are common in an engine-house. This was probably owing in some degree, to the strength of the building - one thousand tons of stone in massive blocks cemented together, having been used in the foundations upon which the engines rest; but it was also we believe, in great part attributable to the perfect trueness of all the parts of the machinery. This conjecture of ours was strengthened by a remark which incidentally fell from the engineer, namely that the fly-wheel which revolves between these engines and to which they each are coupled, whose diameter is 24 feet, and whose weight is 30 tons, and which has not been engine turned, but merely cast in sections and united together, was found upon being erected not to be the 32nd part of an inch out of truth, on either side of any part of its circumference of 72 feet. This fly-wheel is cogged, and turns an horizontal shaft,....'. See Kingston Cotton Mills for the full text of this newspaper report.

An 1846 Peel, Williams & Peel beam engine is on display at Manchester's Museum of Science and Industry. Drawing PDF and Description PDF

c.1852? Reference to Galloways boilers installed nearly 4 years at the London Zinc Mills driving two 40 horse engines of the ordinary Boulton & Watt’s construction, made by Peel, Williams & Peel of Manchester; 34 inch cylinders, 6 feet stroke, and 20 turns a minute, working together a little over 200 indicated horse power [45]

1852 Advertisement for the sale of Hibernia Mills, Kilmainham, Dublin, which included a Peel, Williams & Peel 15 HP condensing steam engine, 24" bore, 4 ft stroke [46]

To be Sold by Auction, at the Old Distillery Premises in the Town of Lurgan, on Monday, 5th. Dec., 1853, at Eleven o'clock.
AN EXCELLENT CONDENSING STEAM-ENGINE (made by Peel, Williams, & Peel, of Manchester), 30-inch Cylinder, 7-feet Stroke, reckoned at 26 horse-power, but capable of working higher, with Cut Stone Bed, Stairs, and other appurtenances, in complete working order.

1853 'To be Sold by Auction, for ready money, on the premises, situate at the HIBERNIAN MILLS, near the Railway Station. Dublin, on TUESDAY, the 8th day of March, 1853, an excellent, Condensing Steam Engine, 15 horse power, 24 inch cylinder, 4 feet stroke, with governors, excentric fly wheel 17 feet diameter, main shaft 19 feet long to line shaft from water wheel, 40 feet of steam pipe across yard from boiler to cylinder;by Peel, Williams and Peel, Manchester. Also waggon-shaped Boiler, 18 feet 6 inches. by 6 feet .....'[48]

1855 Advertisement for sale of 20 HP condensing marine engine by Peel, Williams & Peel at Stansfield Print Works, near Littleborough. Cylinder 27" bore, 3 ft stroke[49]

1861 Advertisement for letting of newly-built mill at Ingleton with steam engine by Peel, Williams & Peel[50]

1862 Side lever marine engine advertised for sale at Reservoir Mill

1863 'Hydraulic Presses for Cotton Packing.— Among various descriptions of hydraulic presses now being sent abroad for packing cotton, Messrs. Peel, Williams, and Co., of Manchester, have manufactured a considerable number very much lighter in their several parts than usual for this class of work, it having been discovered that the compressing cotton into a reasonably sized bale is a less difficulty than has been generally imagined. One of these presses we have recently had an opportunity of inspecting, and its capacity is for making a bale 2ft. by 3ft. 6in. by 1ft. 6in., and weighing 336 lb. The heaviest piece of metal about it weighs 28cwt. This press is worked by two pumps only, driven by pair of small steam engines very conveniently attached to the same cistern and framing; these pumps are capable of pumping up a bale in this size of press in three minutes, and giving the men twelve minutes for tying up and lashing. This machinery is capable of turning 40 bales per diem of 10 hours. We notice in this arrangement a most convenient plan of fixing the box for holding the cotton upon wheels running upon a tramway, and being furnished with a door opening from top to bottom. The box may be opened and removed as soon as the cotton is sufficiently compressed to hold together, and a duplicate loose bottom is introduced, when the workman appointed refill the box in readiness for the press the moment the former bale is completed. By this arrangement time is made the most of. Messrs. Peel, Williams, and Co. are also busily employed working out their patent recently granted to G. Peel., Jun., and J. Simpson, for sundry improvements in the above line. It consists of a peculiar arrangement of hydraulic pumps, to be worked by hand labour, and which have any number of pumps (but in the present case six) placed upon the cover of a circular cistern, and worked by one crank in the centre common to all, and which works every pump in succession ; this crank terminates in a capstan, having six arms at which labourers are employed. They walk round precisely as on shipboard. This movement is very efficient, as it secures the entire stroke of the pump being made, however slowly — a point never achieved in the ordinary lever hand pump. These circular pumps are found to give perfect satiafaction. It was asserted that the labourers employed for these purposes could never be persuaded to walk in a circle. This is proved to be unfounded as they do it without any hesitation. We also observed a very small cotton press in progress. This, it appears, is a very desirable machine, to be used inland by the producer, who will be able to put a hundred weight of cotton in a small bale. Two such bales suspended across a mule are easily conveyed across country, and these small bales are in such proportions and sizes that three of them fit nicely into the box of a full sized press at the sea port, and are then compressed into one bale of the ordinary size sent to this country.'Thanet Advertiser - Saturday 15 August 1863 </ref>

1866 Large cotton press for the Mofussil Cotton Pressing Co in India, to Mason's Patent, described in 'The Engineer'. Said to have been one of many made for India in the preceding year and a half. It worked on the toggle press principle, with a very large left hand/right hand screw driven by a two cylinder horizontal steam engine [51]

1869 Advertisement for sale of 6 HP high pressure engine, wrought iron boiler, and four-cylinder plunger pump, all by Peel, Williams & Peel, being sold on behalf of Pinto Leinte & Son, 28 Victoria Street[52]

1873 80 HP beam engine included in the prospectus of the Shepley Mill Cotton Spinning Co., Glossop. [53]

1873 A beam condensing engine by PW&P, with cylinder 27!n diameter, 5ft stroke, with wrought shaft, cast second motion shaft, flywheel 15ft diameter all complete by Peel Williams, was advertised for sale 'at the Mill, situate No.8 Mill-street, Ancoats'[54]

1898 '....Wincarnis Works.... The first department into which we peep is that allocated to bottle-washing. This necessary operation is performed by machinery, and employs quite a small community. We cross the yard to the engine-room, taking note of the innumerable pipes and casks, lying aoout at ease, or standing on end, as the case may be, and ascend a spiral staircase to the engine-house. This house was built to the engine, and is consequently a model of convenience. The engine, built by Messrs Peel, Williams, & Peel, a 40 hp motor, its great wheel haviug a circumference of 54 ft. Round and round it glides, smoothly, almost noiselessly, supplying power for the extensive machinery, including a dynamo, which develops the electric light...'[55]

Soho Foundry

1831 Bancks and Co's Plan of Manchester, 1831 shows 'Soho Foundry' and 'Soho New Foundry', divided by a branch of the Ashton Canal (see illustration)

Adshead's 1851 Maps of Manchester shows few changes from 1831

The large scale 1849 O.S. map [56] shows that the two halves of the works, separated by a branch canal, were connected by two wooden footbridges, one of which was a swing bridge ('turn bridge'), while the other was at a higher level. Transferring heavy items between the two sections would necessitate using the entrance gates on Pollard Street. A weighing machine is shown at the entrance to the southern section.

Goad's Insurance Plans Nos 215 and 222, dated 1928, but with alterations made in 1943, show that half of the site, north east of the canal arm, had been occupied by Edwin Butterworth, while the south western area was used by the Union Alkali Co., and by Hamilton and Sons (Printers' Engineers).

A 1967 photograph shows part of the Pollard Street frontage, with the 80 ft chimney prominent, adjacent to the bridge which took the canal branch under Pollard Street [57] [58]

Part of the works, facing Pollard Street, was photographed by George Watkins when it was owned by United Alkali [59]. Unfortunately it was decided to demolish all the buildings of this historically important company. Several photographs have been published showing aspects of the works shortly before demolition [60]

Despite the demolition, a visit in 2010 showed that part of the walls of the old factory had escaped demolition (see photograph). Reference to the 1831 and 1851 maps shows that this had been the western corner of the works. The 1928 Goad's Plan shows this wall, but not as part of a covered building, presumably being retained as a boundary wall.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. 'Science & Technology in the Industrial Revolution' by A. E. Musson and Eric Robinson, p.459ff
  2. [1]Online copy of 'Science & Technology in the Industrial Revolution' by A. E. Musson and Eric Robinson
  3. [2] New York Spectator, online page from 1826, precise date not identified
  4. Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, 15th December 1827
  5. The Morning Chronicle, Tuesday, May 20, 1828
  6. Lancaster Gazette, 27th December 1828
  7. Liverpool Mercury etc, Friday, June 8, 1832
  8. Taunton Courier, and Western Advertiser - 18 December 1839
  9. The Sheffield & Rotherham Independent, Saturday, October 12, 1839
  10. 1841 Pigot and Slater's Directory of Manchester and Salford
  11. Bradford Observer, 11th November 1847
  12. Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, 26 July 1848
  13. Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser - Wednesday 21 March 1849
  14. Manchester Times, Saturday, January 11, 1851
  15. Manchester Times, Saturday, July 26, 1851
  16. 1853 Directory of Manchester and Salford
  17. Friend of India and Statesman - Thursday 6 April 1854
  18. Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser - Saturday 23 February 1856
  19. Sheffield Daily Telegraph - Saturday 3 April 1858
  20. The Sheffield & Rotherham Independent, Saturday, February 25, 1860
  21. 1861 Slater's Directory of Manchester and Salford
  22. The Newcastle Journal, 23rd February 1861
  23. Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, 20 July 1861
  24. The Sheffield & Rotherham Independent. Supplement, Monday, November 03, 1862
  25. Quoted from the Manchester Examiner in the Herts Guardian, Agricultural Journal, and General Advertiser, 1st November 1862
  26. London Gaztte 20 June 1862
  27. The Lancaster Gazette, and General Advertiser for Lancashire, Westmorland, Yorkshire, &c., Saturday, January 14, 1865
  28. London Gazette 15 August 1865
  29. The Engineer, 13 March 1874
  30. 1879 Slater's Directory of Manchester and Salford
  31. Slater's Directory of Manchester & Salford, 1883
  32. Slater's Manchester & Salford Directory, 1895 (Part 2)
  33. Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, 11th December 1886
  34. Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, 30th April 1887
  35. Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, 9 February 1828 (Notice of sale of mill)
  36. 'Manchester Courier & Lancashire General Advertiser' 28th April 1827
  37. [3] Industrial History of Cumbria webpage on Langthwaite Cotton Mill, from the article 'by D.J.W.Mawson in The Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society for 1976
  38. Macclesfield Courier and Herald - Saturday 25 March 1837
  39. 'Stationary Steam Engines of Great Britain' Vol 5, by George Watkins
  40. [4]'The Evolution of the Steam Locomotive (1803 to 1898)' p.85, by George A. Sekon, 1899
  41. Liverpool Standard and General Commercial Advertiser, 8 October 1839
  42. Sheffield Iris - Tuesday 12 April 1842
  43. [5]'An Icon in Auditing History: the Company, the Characters and the Case of the Kingston Cotton Mill' by Roy A Chandler 2 June 2010, which quotes a report from the 'Hull Packet and East Riding Times', 21 November 1845
  44. Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, 23 February 1848
  45. [6]The Modern Practice of Boiler Engineering, by Robert Armstrong, revised by John Bourne, Spon, 1856
  46. Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser - Saturday 25 September 1852
  47. Northern Whig, 19 November 1853
  48. Saunders's News-Letter - Wednesday 2 March 1853
  49. 'Manchester Courier & Lancashire General Advertiser' 29th September 1855
  50. Westmoreland Gazette, 7th December 1861
  51. The Engineer 1866/04/13 p267-8
  52. 'Manchester Courier & Lancashire General Advertiser' 7th September 1869
  53. Hyde & Glossop Weekly News, and North Cheshire Herald - Saturday 19 April 1873
  54. Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser - Saturday 25 October 1873
  55. Southern Reporter - Thursday 2 June 1898
  56. 'The Godfrey Edition Old Ordnance Survey Maps' Manchester Sheet 30, Ancoats 1849, originally drawn at 36" to 1 mile [7]
  57. [8] Manchester City Council Images Collection photograph m10467 taken from Pollard Street in 1967, showing the
  58. [9] Manchester City Council Images Collection 'Search' page
  59. [10] English Heritage Viewfinder: G Watkins photo
  60. [11] 'Manchester Regional Industrial Archaeological Society' article by Chris Makepeace