Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 148,114 pages of information and 233,645 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Atlas Works

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Former Tootal Broadhurst Lee Co building on the site of Atlas Works, Manchester.

Atlas Works, Great Bridgewater Street, Manchester,

and later at Glasgow.

*NB This is a sub-section of Sharp, Roberts and Co, Sharp Brothers and Co and Sharp, Stewart and Co. There were many other Atlas Works in different parts of Britain.

1828 Thomas Sharp and Richard Roberts opened the Atlas Works in 1828 to manufacture textile machinery and machine tools.

Atlas Works was among the largest and most productive mechanical engineering factories in the kingdom.

1841 At Atlas Works: Sharp, Roberts and Co locomotive engine makers; also at 79 Faulkner Street[1].

1842 Thomas Sharp died.

1843 The partnership of Sharp, Roberts and Co was dissolved. The Sharp brothers, John Sharp and Thomas Beatt Sharp, carried on their part of the business at Atlas Works as Sharp Brothers.

1852, the senior partner, John Sharp, retired and was replaced by Charles Patrick Stewart, the name of the company changed to Sharp, Stewart and Co.

1853 Description of the works[2].

1853 Thomas Beatt Sharp and William Sharp were listed as being at Atlas Works, Oxford St.[3].

1868. Approximately 1600 men employed. [4]

1888 Production transferred to Glasgow when Sharp, Stewart and Co moved there. 'The Engineer' reported on the sale of unwanted equipment[5]. This included rope-driven travelling cranes made by Sampson Moore - one rated at 30 tons with 21 ft 1-in span, one 35-ton, 41 ft 2" span, and one 30-ton 21 ft 6" span yard crane. Most of the named machine tools in the sale were made by Sharp, Stewart (the best ones presumably having gone to Glasgow). The only other named machine tool makers were W Collier (planer), Robinson of Preston (bending rolls), and a pillar drill by James Little & Co of Manchester.

No trace of the Atlas Works in Manchester remains. The eastern end of the site is now occupied by a large terracotta-faced building, constructed in 1896-98 for Tootal Broadhurst Lee Co. By coincidence - or perhaps not - Atlas-like figures are incorporated (see photo).

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Pigot and Slater's Directory of Manchester and Salford, 1841
  2. Directory of Manchester and Salford, 1853. p33-37
  3. Directory of Manchester and Salford, 1853
  4. The Engineer 1868/11/13
  5. 'The Engineer' 19th October 1888