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British Industrial History

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William Augustus Gorman

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William Augustus Gorman (1835-1904).

1835 Born in Limerick, Ireland

Son-in-law of Augustus Siebe

c.1859 Gorman started working with ice-making machines[1]

1861 Living at 5 Denmark Street, St. Giles, Mddx: Augustus Siebe (age 70 born Prussia), an Engineer employing 18 men and 4 boys. With his sister-in-law Sarah Gliddon (age 66 born Barnstaple), unmarried; and his son-in-law William Gorman (age 25 born Ireland), Engineer; and daughter Mary Gorman (age 25 born St. Giles, Mddx); and his grand-daughter Marien Gorman (age 3 born St. Giles, Mddx). Two servants.[2]

1868 William Augustus Gorman and Henry Herepath Siebe ran the business of Siebe and Gorman after Augustus Siebe's retirement.

1871 Patent to Henry Herapath Siebe and William Gorman, both of Denmark-street, Soho, Submarine Engineers, and Thomas Christy, Junior, of Fenchurch-street, Contractor, for the invention of "improvements in the construction of vessels for raising sunken ships or other bodies."[3]

1881 Living at Garryowen, Putney Hill, Putney: William A. Gorman (age 43 born Limerick), Submarine Engineer. With his wife Jane Gorman (age 46 born Bloomsbury) and their daughters Augusta E. Gorman (age 19 born Bloomsbury) and Matilda J. S. Gorman (age 17 born Bloomsbury). Two servants. [4]

1885 of Siebe and Gorman, 187 Westminster Bridge Road, London, S.E.

1891 Living at Portiuscale Road, Wandsworth: William A. Gorman (age 53 born Limerick, Ireland), Submarine Engineer, Employer and widower. With his daughters Marian I. Gorman (age 32 born Bloomsbury); Augusta E. Gorman (age 29 born Bloomsbury), a widow; and Matilda J. Gorman (age 26 born Bloomsbury). Three servants.[5]

1904 Died


1904 Obituary [6]

WILLIAM AUGUSTUS GORMAN was born at Limerick on 6th October 1835, being a son of the late Captain Gorman, of Limerick.

He received his engineering training in the works of his uncle, Mr. Siebe, at Westminster Bridge Road, London, and also in Mr. Scott Russell's Works at Millwall.

His career has been identified with that of the well-known firm of Messrs. Siebe, Gorman and Co. — established by the late Mr. Augustus Siebe in 1820 — in which he became a partner in 1870. In addition to the diving and submarine engineering work, his firm started in 1855 the construction of ice-making and refrigerating machinery, which was then considered a great novelty, and fitted up the steamers "Fifeshire," "Morayshire," and "Nairnshire," for the New Zealand meat trade. This particular branch of the business was however given up some years ago.

He devised many improvements in diving apparatus as well as in ice-making machinery, and his firm have been awarded numerous medals, including a gold medal at the International Fisheries Exhibition in 1883, and two gold medals at the International Health Exhibition in 1884.

In addition to the invention of a diver's speaking apparatus, Mr. Gorman successfully introduced the telephone attached to the diver's helmet, the conducting wire being inlaid in the signal line.

Besides submarine electric lamps, rock-boring apparatus, etc., his firm also construct air-locks for cylinder sinking, and air-lock bells for use in making and levelling foundations and for the removal of rock.

In 1882 he read a Paper before this Institution on "Improved Appliances for Working under Water or in Irrespirable Gases " (Proceedings, page 179); and took part in discussions both on that subject and on "Refrigerating Machinery."

His death took place at his residence in South Kensington, London, on 4th February 1904, at the age of sixty-eight.

He became a Member of this Institution in 1879.


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. The Engineer 1881/02/04
  2. 1861 Census
  3. The London Gazette, 29 December 1871
  4. 1881 Census
  5. 1891 Census
  6. 1904 Institution of Mechanical Engineers: Obituaries