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British Industrial History

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Robert Heath (Manchester)

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Robert Heath of Hope Foundry, Hilton Street, Manchester

Iron and brass founder.

1817 Partnership between Robert Heath, John Davis and Robert Atkinson, of Manchester, iron founders, carrying on trade under the several names of Heath and Davis, Heath Davis and Co. dissolved by mutual consent[1]

1818 Heath, Davies and Co, iron and brass founders, Hope Foundery, Hilton Street (Note: incorrect spelling of Davis, and optional contemporary spelling of foundry) [2]

1821 Heath and Davis, brass and iron founders, Hilton Street, Manchester. Robert Heath, iron founder; house: 11 Port Street [3]

1821 Partnership between Robert Heath and John Davis, of Manchester, iron and brass founders, carrying on trade as Heath and Davis, dissolved by mutual consent[4]

1825 Listed as Robert Heath, iron and brass founder, Hope Foundry, 28 Hilton Street, Manchester. House: 11 Port Street [5]

1838 Robert Heath was advertising the Hope Foundry as available to let, the business being carried on until disposed of[6]

1841 Not listed in Pigot & Slater's Directory of Manchester & Salford, 1841

1842 It appears that the occupier of Hope Foundry was now J.H. Barber[7]

The foundry is referred to by James Nasmyth in his autobiography, being the supplier of his iron and brass castings to his works in Port Street (1834-6). In Chapter 10 he says: 'There was a small iron foundry belonging to a Mr. Heath, about three minutes' walk from my workshop, where I had all my castings of iron and brass done with promptness, and of excellent quality. Mr. Heath very much wanted a more powerful steam-engine to drive his cupola blowing fan. I had made a steam-engine in Edinburgh and brought it with me. There it lay in my workshop, where it remained unused, for I was sufficiently supplied with power from the rotating shaft. Mr. Heath offered to buy it. The engine was accordingly removed to his iron foundry, and I received my full quota of value in castings.'

The 1849 O.S. map[8] clearly shows Hope Foundry at the junction of Hilton Street and Stanley Street, at the south eastern corner of a small block of buildings. The site appears to have an area of about 60 ft by 150 ft, with a small courtyard and a larger yard, the latter having a crane close to the building. Behind the foundry was a narrow alley and then a row of shops or houses which faced Port Street. Nearby, on the opposite side of Port Street, was the mill which housed Nasmyth's works, the walking distance between the two firms' entrances being about 100 yards. Note: Nasmyth occupied one floor (a 'flat') in the building, which is identified on Adshead's 1851 Maps of Manchester as Wren and Bennett's Machine Works.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The London Gazette, p.1039
  2. Pigot’s Commercial Directory for 1818-19-20
  3. Pigot & Dean's New Directory of Manchester and Salford, 1821-22
  4. The London Gazette, p.1379
  5. [1] History, Directory, and Gazetteer, of the County Palatine of Lancaster, Vol 2, 1825
  6. Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser - Saturday 17 March 1838
  7. Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser - Saturday 28 May 1842
  8. 'The Godfrey Edition Old Ordnance Survey Maps: Manchester (Piccadilly) 1849: Manchester Sheet 29' [2]