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British Industrial History

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King and Queen Ironworks

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of Rotherhithe, London. Also known as Rotherhithe Ironworks.

c1800 Members of the Howard family became connected with the King and Queen Iron Works, Rotherhithe[1]

1840 Thomas Howard joined the King and Queen Iron Works. The work was a scrap-iron rolling mill, and had a considerable reputation for the iron produced. A forge was now added, allowing the heaviest of iron work to be made for marine and other engines.

1845 After a number of experiments, Howard succeeded in rolling at one heating the links with enlarged ends for the suspension bridge at Pesth.

Many chain links for bridges were produced using the patented rolling process of one of the partners, Thomas Howard. These were rolled from a single billet, rather than having the lug forge-welded to the shanks as had been done previously. Contracts included 1,630 suspension links for Brunel's Royal Albert Bridge[2]. They also supplied the chains used in conjunction with hydraulic rams to raise the tubes of the Britannia Bridge:-

'The chains by which the power exerted by the presses in their lofty position is communicated to the tube lying at the base of the tower, resemble the chains of an ordinary suspension bridge, and are similar to those of the bridge at Hungerford. They were manufactured by the patent process of Messrs. Howard and Ravenhill. of London, and consist of flat links, 7 inches broad, 1 inch thick, and 6 feet length with an eye at each end, and are bolted together in sets of eight and nine links alternately. The weight of these chains employed lifting the 2,000 tons is about 100 tons, far exceeding that of the well-known equestrian statue of the Duke of Wellington at Hyde-park, which has hitherto been regarded as one of the greatest "lifts" of the age.'[3]

1853 Herbert Howard Keeling went to Russia to test some suspension-bridge bars on behalf of his uncle, Mr. Thomas Howard, of the King and Queen Iron Works, Rotherhithe.

On the expiration of his apprenticeship Keeling went to assist Howard at those works, in which he became a partner in 1861. Presumably around this time the business became Howard, Ravenhill and Co

Keeling invented an efficient mode of consuming the smoke from the furnaces.


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. Obituary of Thomas Howard
  2. 'Brunel's Royal Albert Bridge' by John Binding, Twelveheads Press, 1997
  3. Morning Advertiser - Wednesday 1 August 1849