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British Industrial History

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William James Armitage

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William James Armitage (1819-1895)

1859 of Farnley Iron Works, Leeds.[1] - Farnley Iron Co


1895 Obituary [2]

WILLIAM JAMES ARMITAGE was born at Brighton on 16th July 1819, and was brought up chiefly in France, where he lived for seventeen years and took his degree at the Paris University.

He began by studying medicine and then took to painting, until in 1855 he joined his father Mr. James Armitage and his uncle Mr. William Armitage, who ten years previously had founded the Farnley Iron Works, Leeds. From that time he was closely connected with these works in one capacity or another, and took a leading part in the Best Yorkshire Iron trade.

For the last twenty years he was not actively engaged in the management, although he was chairman of the company and frequently visited the works.

For many years he was a director of the firm of Messrs. Blair and Co., marine-engine builders of Stockton-on-Tees, his father having been one of the founders of that concern.

For a considerable time also he was associated with Messrs. Brown, Bayley and Co., Sheffield. He bought this concern, and carried it on himself for some years, and in 1888 sold it to the present company, of which he became chairman, retaining a large share in the business.

Though never brought up as an engineer, he had acquired a large amount of engineering experience in the management of the works with which he was connected, which dealt almost entirely with raw materials, and had not much to do with turning out the finished products of engineering.

His death took place at Brighton on 12th August 1895 at the age of seventy-six.

He became a Member of this Institution in 1859.


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