Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Thomas Tannett

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Thomas Tannett (c1811-1877) of Smith, Beacock and Tannett‎

c1811 Born at Malton, Yorkshire

1851 Living at Green Terrace, Hunslet, Leeds: Thomas Tannett (age 40 born Malton), Master Machine maker employing 262 hands. With wife Mary (age 42 born Leeds) and children Robert Tannett (age 21 born Leeds), a Machine Maker; Ann (age 16), Louisa (age 14), John Tannett (age 11);, William Tannett (age 8);, Emily (age 5) and a visitor Elizabeth Tannett (age 35 born Malton) [1]

1861 Living at Cross Flatts, Beeston: Thomas Tannett (age 51 born Malton), Master Machinist and Widower. With his son Robert Tannett (age 31 born Leeds), Master Machinist; his daughter Louisa Pflaum (age 24 born Leeds); his son John T. Tannett (age 21 born Leeds), Machine Draughtsman; his son-in-law John F. A. Pflaum (age 28 born Dusseldorf); and his sister Elizabeth Tannett (age 44 born Malton). One servant.[2]

1871 Living at Roundhay Lodge, Roundhay, Yks: Thomas Tannett (age 61 born Malton) Machinist employing 290 men 90 boys. With his wife Charlotte Tannett (age 49 born London) and his son William H. Tannett (age 28 born Leeds), Engineer. Two servants.[3]

1877 April 12th. Died.


1878 Obituary [4]

THOMAS TANNETT, senior partner in the firm of Messrs. Smith Beacock and Tannett, Leeds, was born in 1810 at Mallon in Yorkshire, and received his education in the grammar school at Wakefield.

At the age of fourteen he was apprenticed with Messrs. Taylor Wordsworth and Co., machine makers of Leeds (at which town the mechanical engineering trade was then just beginning to develop itself), and soon after attaining the age of twenty-one was made a foreman.

In 1837 he commenced business on his own account with several partners, in the firm of Smith Beacock and Tannett, which soon rose to eminence in the manufacture of machine tools. They employed latterly about eight hundred men, and were known all over the world for their high class of workmanship and substantial build of tools, executing orders for most of the European governments, and for China, Australia, and India.

It was due to his clear good judgment and probity, no less than to his skill as an engineer, that he was able to achieve fame and success for his firm, and also to work in harmony with his partners for a period of forty years, at the end of which time only two remained in the firm to survive him.

He took a prominent part in founding the Bank of Leeds, of which he was a director to the time of his death, but refused to accept any public office.

For the last twenty years he suffered much from ill-health; but with care he succeeded in attending to business until within about a month of his decease, which occurred at his residence, Roundhay Lodge, near Leeds, on 12th April 1877, at the age of sixty-seven.

He became a Member of the Institution in 1859.


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