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British Industrial History

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Bramah and Robinson

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of Exeter Lane, Pimlico

Engineers and founders; also manufactured hydraulic presses (as reflected in a later property sale)[1].

1837 Charles Robinson joined Bramah and Co as partner; name changed to Bramah and Robinson.

1837 Account by Bramah and Robinson (late J. Bramah and Sons), Pimlico, sent to Pearce and Thynne for repairing the Water Wheel Engine at Malpas Waterworks[2].

1837 Account by Bramah and Robinson of Pimlico for ironwork at Ashburnham Place[3].

1837 Contract to Bramah and Robinson of Pimlico, engineers and founders for heating of new wings and octagon towers of Hanwell Asylum[4].

1841 Directory entry for Charles Robinson late Bramah and Robinson, engineer, millwright, founder, etc, Pimlico Road[5].

1842 Charles Robinson (late Bramah and Robinson), Pimlico, London, supplied warm water apparatus installation for Shire Hall, Bury St Edmunds[6].

1843 Subsequently Robinson's company became Robinson and Co[7].

1843 Fire at Robinson and Co premises destroyed much of the building; suggestion that was arson[8].

1846 'Messrs. Bramah and Robinson, engineers, have made a series of hollow iron tubes, which are to be sunk in the Goodwin Sands, and erected into a pillar, firmly fastened together with transverse iron ties. A light will be placed at the summit, and life-buoys will float around.'[9]

1852 Francis Robinson, formerly of Bramah and Robinson, went into business with Edward Cottam as Robinson and Cottam

Morant Point Lighthouse

'IRON LIGHTHOUSE. - An enormous tower, which for the last month has daily been seen rising from the ground within the walls of the manufactory of Messrs. Bramah and Robinson, of Belgrave-place, Pimlico, and during that time created much admiration and inquiry in the neighbourhood, has at length completed its growth, and attained its maturity. It is a light-house, which is intended to be placed on the Morant Point on the western coast of the island of Jamaica.
This lofty building is composed entirely of iron, and is the first of the kind that has been attempted. In architectural appearance it very much resembles the Celtic towers which are to be seen in Ireland, the origin and uses of which have been matter of dispute among antiquaries.
The height of this edifice from the foundation to the roof is 105 feet, fifteen of which will be sunk into the solid rock, and loaded in and out with rabble and concrete, which will give an entire security to it. The whole tower is formed of iron plates, one inch in thickness, and of these plates there are nine tiers, eleven plates at the bottom, and nine at the top ; the whole are strongly bolted together with iron flanges, and when permanently fixed will also be cemented with iron cement, and thus, in effect, become one entire whole.
To reduce the heat in the interior, which the strength of a tropical sun acting on a building of metal only one inch in thickness would render unbearable, the whole will have an interior lining of slate, with an interval of one inch and a half between it and the iron, by which contrivance a current of air will constantly be in circulation over the whole.
In the sides of the tower there are 24 windows ; they are 14 inches by 10, and are glazed with thick ground glass. When the tower is erected on its final destination it will have a height of 90 feet to the gallery, on the platform of which will be the lanterns. This is the workmanship of Mr. Deville, and is very ingeniously contrived ; it is ten feet in height, and has eight revolving lights, five of which are open, and the rest of cast iron.
The diameter of the tower is 18 feet six inches at the base, and decreases at the top to l1 feet six inches. The entire weight of the whole fabric is exactly 100 tons. It has been doubted whether it was necessary that it should be secured from the effects of lightning by the conducting rod, as the tower itself, from its altitude, its form, the material of its fabrication and insulated position, would, in effect, be a conductor ; but a rod will be carried into the earth to convey the electric fluid, should it be struck by it.
It is a curious fact that this lofty fabric was erected entirely without the aid of scaffolding, the expense of which both here and on its final location in Jamaica would have been very considerable. At present it stands upon the ground, and merely rests on a plane of temporary timber, &c. The manner in which this was effected is ingeniously simple ; the lower plates were secured together, a cross beam passed over them, from which a derrick and cradle (or windlass) were fixed , by this the second tier of plates were elevated, and thus continued till the whole were placed in a very short time, and very few hands were necessary to effect it.
The entrance is elevated from the ground ten feet, and has a solid door of oak ; it is reached by steps of iron.
The expedition with which this tower has been completed has been like railroad speed— it is little more than two months since the order was given for it.
The whole expense, including the plan, the building, the passage over the Atlantic, and the erecting it over the promontory of Morant, will not exceed, we understand, 7,000l. At the top, the platform is a square of sixteen feet, which consequently projects over the sides ; this is surrounded by a rail three feet in height. Over the entrance is a large tablet of iron, supported by two small ones, and on them, in has relief, are the following inscriptions: —
" Erected A.D. 1842,"
"Under the Act 3 Victoria, cap. 66"
"COMMISSIONERS."
Vice-Admiral Sir Charles Adam, K.C.B.; E. Jordan, Esq.; P. Lawrence, Esq.; Commodore Douglas, R.N.; Hon. T. M'Cormack; Hon. S. J. Dallas; Hon. E. Panton, Speaker; W. Hyslop, Esq.; A. Barclay, Esq.; J. Taylor, Esq.; H. Leslie, Esq.; Hon. H. Mitchell; G. Wright, Esq.;"
"On the designs and specification of Alexander Gordon, Civil Engineer, London."
And on the side supporters : — " Captain St. John, R.A.Island Engineer, C. Robinson, Engineer, London, fecit." — Courier.'[10]

Note: The lighthouse was erected by George Grove.

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. Leicestershire Mercury 22 June 1878
  2. National Archives
  3. National Archives
  4. National Archives
  5. Post Office London Directory, 1841
  6. National Archives
  7. Caledonian Mercury 25 November 1843
  8. Caledonian Mercury 25 November 1843
  9. Cardiff and Merthyr Guardian, Glamorgan, Monmouth, and Brecon Gazette, 1 August 1846
  10. Morning Post, 22 September 1841