Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,371 pages of information and 233,518 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.
of Dawson's Croft, Salford
1845 'FALL OF BUILDING —ALARMING ACCIDENT.
About three or four months ago, Messrs. Hill & Hulme, machine manufacturers, commenced the erection of a new work-shop, in Dawson's Croft, Greengate, Salford. The building was situate close to the River Irwell, & immediately adjoining the mill of Messrs. Waterhouse & Sutton. It was a three-story building ? feet in length and 36 feet wide inside. The builder was Mr. Statham, of Pendleton, who had proceeded in his work without interruption, and had nearly completed the roofing, when the accident occurred, which we have now to describe. About ten minutes after two o'clock in the morning of Wednesday, a tremendous crash was heard by several of the occupiers of the houses in and near Dawson's Croft, also by the watchmen on duty; and proceeding to ascertain the cause, they found that a very considerable portion of this new building, about two-fifths in length of the whole, had fallen down, and lay a heap of rubbish in the river and on the floor the building; and a very remarkable circumstance was that the part of the building which thus fell was the middle portion, leaving the parts at tbe ends both standing, and apparently little injured. On the side next the river, the fracture, or seperation of the fallen part from that which is left, is perfectly regular and straight, from the top of the wall to the bottom. It is most providential that the occurrence took place in the night, had it happened when the workmen were in the building, the consequences must have been most extensively fatal. As it was, no one suffered, beyond the alarm which was excited in the neighbourhood.
Mr. Hulme, who lives in Market-street, Salford, was alarmed by the watchman, and was speedily on the spot; Mr. Statham was also in attendance. With as little delay as possible, men were set to work to clear away the rubbish, but, owing to the great portion of the building that had fallen, this was a work of much difficulty, and, until it was accomplished, it could not be ascertained whether any further portions of the building were in a dangerous condition. The accident is said to bave been occasioned by the giving way of the foundation wall, which was of stone, on the side next the river. Owing the declivity of the ground towards the river, the base of the building was much lower on that side; a quantity of earth had been put down to make the floor level; and this is supposed to have forced out the wall and caused the accident.
The roof had been completed only tbe day before, and about half the floor-boards were laid. The building was not on the fire-proof principle; but very substantial beams of timber, 18 inches by 14, were employed, with iron rods an inch and a quarter in diameter, fastened with bolts, 2 1/2 inches thick. None of ihe beams, which ran across the building, from the side next the river to the opposite side, were broken; but the joist and planks were shivered at the points where the separation had occurred on each side. The walls were substantial, the thickness being 3 bricks at the bottom, the middle, and the top. The height of the first story was 17 feet, clear of the beams, an of the otherw, 11 feet 6 inches. The boiler and engine-house, which was in course of erection, was to be a detached one; a large boiler lay in the yard, ready to be fixed as soon as the masonry was completed. A good deal of machinery had been got in, about £200 worth ; it was of course considerably injured.
We again visited the spot yesterday afternoon, and found that considerable progress had been made in clearing away the rubbish, though from the extremely bulky nature of the beams and other of the materials, this is necessarily work of much difficulty. It is not easy, yet, for those concerned to form an estimate of the loss that will be incurred, but, we understand, it will probably be between and £200 and £300. No further part of the building has fallen since the occurence of the accident but it feared that it will be necessary to take down some portion of the part left standing at the end next Messrs. Waterhouse's ; with this view men have been already employed in removing the slates from the roof.'
1848 'Notice is hereby given, that the PARTNERSHIP heretofore subsisting between us, the undersigned, THOMAS PRINCE HILL and JOHN HOLMES, machine and tool makers, at Salford, in the county of Lancaster, under the style or firm of "Hill and Holmes," was this day dissolved by mutual consent. All debts received and paid by the said Thomas Prince Hill. As witness our hands, .....'
ENGINEERS, TOOL MAKERS AND OTHERS.- TO BE LET, those recently erected PREMISES, three stories high; each room 33 yds by 13 yds. and respectively 18 feet 6, 13 feet 3, and 9 feet 6 high, with 15-horse Engine, 20-horse Boiler, Walmsley's self-acting feed Apparatus, Gearing, Warming, & Gas Apparatus, Smithies for 5 fires; fan and case hardening furnace; 10-ton Weighing Machine, and Offices.- These premises, in Dawson's Croft, Salford, within five minutes of the Manchester Exchange, are admirably adapted to all engineering purposes, and were lately in the occupation of Messrs. Hill and Holmes, engineers and tool makers. For further particulars apply.... 
The 1872 sale of the effects of Rowland Brotherhood included a planing machine capable of planing 20 ft long, 3ft 6" wide, 3 ft high, and a 'vertical drilling and boring machine, 2½" spindle, will bore holes 20in. Deep and take in 8ft diameter, rising arm, traversing table 7ft by 2ft 6in on cast iron bed, screw motion, massive cast iron standard and bed, overhead motion, strap fork and lever.'
A Thomas Prince Hill emigrated from Manchester to the USA in 1848 and settled in Bristol, Kendall County, Illinois. He was born on 18 December 1821 in Lancashire, and died on 4th November aged 82. Son of William Hill and Anna Maria Smith. His father was the son of William Hill and Hannah Prince. He served as a sergeant in Company E, 36th Illinois Infantry. The same man? Possibly not, as his activities in the USA had no connection with engineering.
The 1850 Slater’s Directory has a John Holmes, Machine Maker, with his works at Dawson’s Croft, Salford, and living at 31 Broughton Road.
Dawson’s Croft was a small area of about 150 x 100 yards bounded by the River Irwell, Greengate, New Bridge Street, and Exchange Railway Station. The 1849 map shows one iron foundry (New Bridge Foundry), a brewery, tannery, dye works, size works, print works, and a cotton mill. The 1850 directory tells us that the foundry belonged to William Routledge. This was not alongside the River Irwell, so could not have been thee location the Hill & Holmes works.