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British Industrial History

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Thomas Avery (1813-1894)

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Thomas Avery (1813–1894), scale manufacturer and local politician

1813 Born in Birmingham; baptised in St. Philips, Birmingham, second son of William Avery (1789-1843), draper, and his wife Elizabeth, nee Balden[1]

1814 His father inherited the scale-beam making business from Joseph Balden

1842 Thomas married Mary Anne Beilby (1812–1893)

By the time that his father died in 1843, both Thomas and his brother William were working in the business

1851 Weighing machine manufacturing firm of 2 (ie partners) - employing 150 men (presumably William and Thomas Avery), living in Aston with Mary Avery[2].

1861 Thomas Avery 47, scale beam and weighing machine manufacturer, living in Aston with Mary Avery 49[3]

1865 The partnership with his brother William Henry Avery was dissolved; Thomas left the business.

Avery's main interests turned to the betterment of his increasingly populous home town, his own aims being supported by Joseph Chamberlain, leader of the council's Liberal faction.

1868 he became mayor of Birmingham, being elected alderman in 1868

After a serious early misjudgement, when he fought to keep the ancient cattle market in the centre of Birmingham, Avery was largely responsible for two significant public benefactions: the acquisition in 1874 of a private waterworks, the development of which under town ownership brought potable water to the townsfolk, and the greater achievement of the provision of a sewage works. In 1877, after a battle against the landowners concerned, a drainage board incorporating Birmingham and surrounding authorities was able to build a sewage farm which discharged purified water into the previously polluted River Tame.

1881 Was again elected mayor.

1881 Scale manufacturer, living Edgbaston with Mary A. Avery[4]

1892 Resigned from the council due to ill health

1894 Died at home in Edgbaston

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. BMD
  2. 1851 census
  3. 1861 census
  4. 1881 census
  • Biography of Thomas Avery, ODNB