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British Industrial History

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Sydney Hedley Waterlow

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1934. From British Commerce and Industry

Sir Sydney Hedley Waterlow, first baronet (1822–1906), printer and philanthropist

1822 Born in Finsbury, London, fourth of the five sons of James Waterlow and his wife, Mary (d. 1872).

James Waterlow was a member of the Stationers' Company.

Sydney was brought up by his grandmother at Mile End until the age of 7

1836 Apprenticed through the Stationers' Company to his uncle Thomas Harrison, the government printer, with whom he lived at Pimlico and afterwards at Sloane Square.

In the fourth year of his apprenticeship he was given sole charge of the Foreign Office printing, with full responsibility for its secrecy.

1843 On completion of his apprenticeship he went to Paris, and was employed by the publisher Galignani printing a catalogue of his library.

1844 Waterlow joined his brothers Alfred, Walter and Albert in adding a printing branch to the family stationery business in Birchin Lane. They began by printing the Bankers' Magazine. Gained a large share of the railway printing and stationery.

1845 Married Anna Marie Hickson; they had 8 children

1847 Joined the Stationers' Company

1857 joined the City of London Corporation

He devised a system of telegraphic communication between the City police stations, for which he was publicly thanked

1862 Built at his own expense in Mark Street, Finsbury, a block of working-class dwellings, with accommodation for eighty families; these tenements, although built for comfort and let at moderate rents, produced a good return for the outlay.

1863 Set up the Improved Industrial Dwellings Co Ltd, of which he was chairman until his death, by which time the company possessed 6000 tenements, which housed 30,000 persons.

1865 He put forward the idea of an Act for state loans to the company; he urged compulsory purchase of land for housing development

1866-7 Served as sheriff.

1867 Knighted

1872 Elected Lord Mayor of London

1870s Held various seats in Parliament

1877 After the split of the family business Waterlow became managing director of Waterlow and Sons, a position he retained until he retired in 1895.

1882 Married Margaret Hamilton in Paris

Retired to his villa, Monterey, near Cannes.

1894 he suffered two strokes and was partially disabled.

1895 Retired from the busines

1906 Died at his country residence, Trosley Towers, Trotterscliffe, Wrotham, Kent.

See Also


Sources of Information

  • Biography of Sir Sydney Hedley Waterlow, ODNB