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British Industrial History

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Thomas Holcroft

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Thomas Holcroft (1823-1904) of Thomas Holcroft and Sons

1866 Thomas Holcroft, Bilston Foundry, Bilston.[1]

1904 September 25th. Died.[2]


1904 Obituary [3]

THOMAS HOLCROFT was born at Bilston on 30th December 1823, and was the second son of Thomas Holcroft of that town.

Having been educated at a private school in Wolverhampton, he was apprenticed to Messrs. Wright and Arrowsmith, engineers, Great Bridge.

On completion of his indentures he proceeded to the works of Messrs. John Penn, marine engineers, of Greenwich.

Shortly after this he bought the Bilston Foundry and Engineering Works for the manufacture of mill and forge engines and machinery, and the Ladymoor Colliery, of both of which he was the proprietor at the time of his death.

At the former he executed a great number of important contracts, among them being a complete pumping plant for the Birmingham Waterworks, and a large quantity of heavy pumping plant for the Mines Drainage Commission. In addition to making and remodelling numerous ironworks and colliery plants, he was also the inventor of an air-reversing valve for regenerative gas-furnaces.

In 1870, in partnership with his brother James, he took over the Bovereux Furnaces (Tame Iron Co.), where he smelted a brand of South Staffordshire Mine Iron.

In 1878 he started the Ettingshall Foundry for the manufacture of cast-iron hollow-ware, etc., which grew to be one of the largest concerns in the district, and of which at the time of his death he was chairman.

He was also chairman of the Bilston Gas Co. for many years, and latterly assisted his brother Charles in opening up the Littleton Collieries, of which he became a director.

His name will long be associated with the labours connected with the obtaining of water for Bilston from the Wombourn Hills.

His death took place at his residence in Wolverhampton on 25th September 1904, in his eighty-first year.

He became a Member of this Institution in 1866.


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