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British Industrial History

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William Lees (1869-1925)

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William Lees (1869-1925) of William Lees and T. and R. Lees

1925 Obituary [1]

WILLIAM LEES was born at Hollinwood, near Oldham, Lancashire, on 9th November 1869.

He was educated at local schools, supplemented by private tuition at home and on the Continent, and was entered as an apprentice in his father's works at quite an early age. Here he had a thorough grounding in all departments, from the foundry to the drawing office, of which he became the chief when about twenty-five years of age.

In the meantime he had received sound scientific training in the Technical Schools at Oldham and Manchester, and had acquired much useful professional knowledge, especially of steam engineering. Later on, the design and improvement of wood-working machinery and colliery machinery received his special attention, and his inventions included improvements in steam-engine valve-gear, and governors, and various useful devices connected with colliery haulage and wood-working. During the last few years he devoted much of his time to the commercial side of the firm's business, and on the retirement of his uncle, Mr. Ralph Lees, in 1918, he became Chairman and Managing Director of the business, which was then under the style of "T. and R. Lees, Ltd.," and this position he held up to the time of his death on 7th January 1925.

He became a Member of this Institution in 1912.

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