Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

Registered UK Charity (No. 115342)

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 163,160 pages of information and 245,627 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Benjamin Goodfellow

From Graces Guide


June 1888. Rope and wheel gearing.
December 1889.
Benjamin Goodfellow LP and IP cylinders of the restored engine at Crossness

of Hyde, near Manchester

c.1838/1840 Benjamin Goodfellow (1811-1863) established works of his own, for the manufacture of the steam-engine piston known by his name, and for general engineering work

Stationary engines. (B. Goodfellow and Co).

1857 Patent to Benjamin Goodfellow, of Hyde, in the county of Chester, Engineer, in respect of the invention of "certain improvements in the construction of steam boilers, and in the mode of supporting steam boilers on their seatings."[1]

1860 Made engines and boilers for the cotton spinning mill of Peter Arkwright at Mellor (erected 69 years earlier by Samuel Oldknow).[2]

1867 The 'executors of the late Mr. Benjamin Goodfellow' supplied a pair of engines to the Quarry Street Mills of Robert Platt.[3]

1879 Frome, Somerset: 'THE WATER WORKS.- At an adjourned meeting of the Local Board, held on Friday, the Water Supply Committee recommended the board to adopt the tender of Mr. Benjamin Goodfellow, of Hyde, Manchester, for the manufacture and erection of two high pressure condensing steam engines, with boilers, pumps, and appurtenances, at £1800: Fourteen tenders had been received.'[4]

1879 'OPENING OF THE EMPRESS SPINNING AND WEAVING MILL. Another mill has been aided the Wooing sod Canary of Bombay. The Empires. Mill a Chinchpoohly was formally opened on Saturday .... In the erection of this mill it has been the aim and desire of the managers that the engine's machinery should be of the best and with the latest improvements, and with this view contracts were entered into with Mr. Benjamin Goodfellow of Hyde near Manchester for one pair of compound Tandem horizontal engines, each five feet bore, to run 50 revolutions per minute, with two high-pressure cylinders, 20 inches diameter, and two low pressure cylinders, each 30 inches diameter, with corless [Corliss] valves. With these engines, we have introduced for the first time in Bombay the principle of rope-driving, with which we have every reason to be satisfied. [5]

1880 Robert Matthews joined the firm as a manager.

1881 Employing 250 men and boys.[6].

1883 "... Liquidation by Arrangement of the affairs of George Ben Goodfellow, residing at Lunn Banks, in the county of Chester, and Frederick Frank Goodfellow, residing at the Rowans, Stockport-road, Hyde aforesaid, and carrying on business in copartnership together at Mottram-road, in Hyde aforesaid, under the style or firm of Benjamin Goodfellow, as Iron and Brass Founders, Millwrights and Engineers."[7]

1883 Robert Matthews made arrangements to take over the business and then traded as partners (presumably with George Ben Goodfellow) under the style of Goodfellow and Matthews[8]

1888 Robert Matthews leaves the partnership.

1890s Sometime after Robert Matthews left, the company also traded under the name of Goodfellow Engineering Co.[9]

1893 Supplied a mill engine to the Park Road Spinning Co.[10]

1899 June 30th. Became a limited company. Directors were Simon Chatwood, Worsley, (Safe Manufacturer); George Ben Goodfellow; Robert Barningham, Manchester (Iron Merchant); John Hall, Hale, (Iron Merchant); William Raby, (Iron Merchant); John Carter, Stalybridge, (Engineer); Herbert Geraves, Manchester, (Merchant).

1899 Supplied duplex tandem refrigerating machinery for the 'Star of Australia' built by Workman, Clark and Co, 'the largest cold air machine yet fitted on board of any vessel'.[11]

Between 1901 and 1903 Benjamin Goodfellow carried out major work on the four James Watt and Co Beam Engines at Crossness Pumping Station. Originally 125-hp single cylinder beam engines, these engines were tripled by replacing the original 48" diameter cylinder with a new 44" which became the Low Pressure, together with a new 33" IP cylinder alongside it (as in a Woolf compound), with the new 19" High pressure cylinder in tandem with it below floor level. All cylinders were fitted with Corliss valves.

1902 Benjamin Goodfellow Ltd of Hyde issued a catalogue describing a new compound high-speed valveless engine, designed by Mr. Goodfellow. The engine is of the vertical enclosed type, without eccentric and rods or other gear required to work valves.[12]

1905 Goodfellow Engineering Company: "NOTICE is hereby given, that a General Meeting of the Members of the above named Company will be held at No. 12, Exchange-street, Manchester, on Monday, the thirteenth day of November next, at 4 o'clock in the afternoon precisely, to receive the Liquidators' report, showing how the winding up of the Company has been conducted and its property disposed of, to hear any explanation that may be given by the Liquidator, and to pass an Extraordinary Resolution as to the disposal of the books, accounts, and other documents of the company"[13]

1906 March: the Goodfellow Engineering Company was put into voluntary liquidation; Arthur B. Chatwood was chairman of the meeting[14]

1906 April: "... Joseph Stubbs, Machine Makers and Iron Founders, creditors of the Goodfellow Engineering Company Limited, applied for an Order winding up the company[15]

  • See 'The Flywheel' (Northern Mill Society) of April 2019 and earlier issues for comprehensive history of the company by John Glithero

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. London Gazette 13 January 1857
  2. Glossop Record, 15 September 1860
  3. The Ashton Weekly Reporter, and Stalybridge and Dukinfield Chronicle - Saturday 26 January 1867
  4. Wells Journal - Thursday 27 March 1879
  5. Times of India, 8 April 1879
  6. 1881 Census
  7. London Gazette 14 August 1883
  8. Matthews proposal to I Mech E in 1886
  9. G B Goodfellow still recorded his address as Goodfellow and Matthews in 1896, according to I Mech E records
  11. Northern Whig, 8 September 1899
  12. The Engineer 1902/10/31
  13. London Gazette 10 October 1905
  14. London gazette 20 Mar 1906
  15. London Gazette 6 April 1906
  • Stationary Steam Engines of Great Britain by George Watkins. Vol 10