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British Industrial History

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Thomas Lake Aveling

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Thomas Lake Aveling (1856-1931)

Born on 25 August 1856 at Ruckinge, Kent, son of Thomas Aveling

1861 Living at Skilton Chapel, Thanington, Kent (age 4 and born at Ruckridge) in the house of his grand-parents Thomas and Mercy Lake, Landowners of 1,000 acres and employing 47 men and 15 boys; and with their children and his siser Alice (age 8). [1]

1871 A Scholar Boarder at Bridge Buildings, Stone Street, Cranbrook. [2]

From the time he left school he was immersed in the work of his father's engineering firm.

1881 Control of Aveling and Porter was handed over to him; under his direction the firm expanded until the 1920s.

1881 Living at Boley Hill House, Rochester (age 24 and born at Ruckinge), Mechanical Engineer. With parents Thomas Aveling and Sarah and others [3]

1882 He took over Aveling and Porter on the death of his father

1890 Married Rosita Marion Porter (d. 1904), and they had two sons.

1919 Thomas Lake Aveling J.P. (Kent) M.Inst.C.E. M.I.Mech.E. of Boley Hill House, Rochester. Chairman of Aveling and Porter. Director of Agricultural and General Engineers. [4]

He was a member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, as well as of the Institution of Civil Engineers. A member of the council of the Smithfield Club, he acted as its president in 1929. He also served on the council of the Royal Agricultural Society of England and was president of the Agricultural Engineers Association.

He was a director of Jesse Ellis and Co, Maidstone

Died 5 October 1931 at his home, Pettings Court, Ash, near Wrotham, Kent.


1931 Obituary.[5]

MR. THOMAS LAKE AVELING, of Pettings Court, Wrotham, Kent, after speaking at a meeting of the local Nursing Association on October 5th, collapsed and died immediately.

He was born at Ruckinge, Kent, seventy-five years ago, and after leaving school spent a number of years in the works of Aveling and Porter, at Rochester, gaining a full knowledge of the business.

In 1881, when still in his early thirties, he succeeded his father as head of the firm, and on the formation of the company in 1905 became managing director, continuing in that capacity until his retirement from business in 1928.

He was one of the original directors of Agricultural and General Engineers, Ltd., a company with which Aveling and Porter is associated.

For many years he was on the Council of the Smithfield Club, of which he became President in 1929, and was also for many years on the Council of the Royal Agricultural Society of England.

Locally he took a prominent part in public affairs, and for many years was Chairman of the Medway Conservancy Board and a Warden of Rochester Bridge.

He was a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers and of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.


1931 Obituary[6]

"THE LATE MR. T. L. AVELING. Mr. Thomas Lake Avbling, J.P., of Pettings Court, Wrotham, Kent, who, we regret to state, died suddenly on October 5, after speaking at a meeting of the local nursing association, was for upwards of 20 years managing director of Messrs. Aveling and Porter, Limited, the well-known road-roller manufacturers, of Rochester. The son of the late Mr. Thomas Aveling, he was born at Ruokinge, Ashford, Kent, on August 25, 1856, and received his general education at Canterbury. In 1873, he entered upon a pupilage of four years, under his father, at the works of Messrs. Aveling and Porter at Rochester, and afterwards spent the years from 1877 to 1879 in engineering study at Cirencester College. Returning to the Rochester works as assistant manager to his father, he designed and supervised the construction of a variety of steam and other machinery, including traction engines, agricultural locomotives, ploughing engines, steam rollers, machinery for cement works, dredging and pumping machinery, and boilers. Upon the death of his father, in 1881, he became managing partner of the works, which then employed from 1,200 to 1,600 men. Subsequently, he designed and carried out an extensive scheme for the remodelling and extension of the Rochester works. This included reclamation of land from the river, piling, and the foundation works of heavy machine shops, the erection of travelling cranes and the installation of electric lighting and power transmission for the shafting and machinery.

When Messrs. Aveling and Porter became a limited liability company in 1905, Mr. Aveling was made managing director, which position he continued to hold until his retirement in 1928. Moreover, on the death of Mr. Porter, in 1912, he became chairman of the company. Mr. Aveling was also one of the original directors of Messrs. Agricultural and General Engineers, Limited, a company with which, as is well known, Messrs. Aveling and Porter are associated. He became a member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1882, and an associate member of the Institution of Civil Engineers on May 23 of the same year; on April 27, 1916, he was elected to full membership of the latter body, but retired in 1929.

Mr. Aveling was for many years on the Council of the Smithfield Club, and became President in 1929; he was also, for a long time, on the Council of the Royal Agricultural Society of England. He always took a prominent part in local public affairs; and for a long period was chairman of the Medway Conservancy Board, and a Warden of Rochester Bridge. Since relinquishing his business activities, he had lived in quiet retirement at his residence at Wrotham."


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. 1861 Census
  2. 1871 Census
  3. 1881 Census
  4. The Times, Tuesday, Nov 04, 1919
  5. The Engineer 1931/10/09
  6. Engineering 1931/10/16