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British Industrial History

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Busy Cottage

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in Jesmond Dene, Newcastle.

Later referred to as Busy Cottage Iron Works

1763 Advertisement: 'WANTED, Young, Sober, Honest, Married Men, to be articled for seven Years, to learn a trade to support their Families comfortably through that Time; they will weekly receive 6s. have Money lent them to furnish their Houses, and have 5s. per Quarter to pay their Rent, and four Fother of Coals led to their Door per Year. Large BOYS, 3s. 6d. per-Week. GIRLS, 2s. 6d. for the first three Years, and 3s. the last four Years.— For further Particulars, enquire at George Laidler’s Busy Cottage, neat Newcastle; where FILES of all SORTS, RASPS, and RUBBERS, are made as well, and sold as cheap as at Sheffield.'[1]

1764 Advertisement: 'To be SOLD, to the highest Bidder,
On the 26th Day of October next, at Katy’s Coffee house, in Newcastle upon Tyne, by the Assignees. under Commission of Bankrupt against George Laidler the Younger, the Sale to begin at Three o’clock in the Afternoon,
LOT 1. BUSY COTTAGE, within a Mile and Half of Newcastle aforesaid, consisting of a good Dwelling house, three Houses for Servants and Workmen, Stable and two Parcels of Ground adjoining, and an over-shut current-going Forge and Bellows Wheel, and Conveniencies for making German Steel.
A Finery, a Chafery, and a Balling Furnace for balling Iron.
A Tilt, with over-shut Wheel, compleat.
A grinding Mill, with an over-shut Wheel, which can carry seven Stones.
An Engine, moved by Water, for cutting Dyers and Pressers Screws, Slitting Mill Pillars, and for turning either large or small Work.
Smiths Shops, for 14 Workmen, with three Hearths, one for large Work, with a Crane and Benches.
Steel furnace, of a new Construction, makes about four Tons of Steel in nine Days.
Small foundery for casting Iron for the Use of the Works, 13 Smithies, large Shop containing four double and two single Hearths, Hardening Shop consisting three double Hearths, two other Shops, and several Warehouses.
N.B. There is Warren Head [ dialect term in N.E. England for a dam], well supplied with Water, to the Works and a Moiety of the Premises the said Bankrupt holds by Lease for 18 years to come, at May day last, under the annual Rent of 10l. and pays 10l. a Year for the other Moiety.
LOT 2. All the WORK TOOLS and IMPLEMENTS of or belonging to the Forge and Foundery of Iron, and Business of File-cutting, and of a Smith, in carrying on such Business at the Works.
Lot3. All that DWELLING-HOUSE, with near six Acres of Ground, situate at Eltringham, on the South Side of the River Tyne, about ten Miles West of Newcastle, with Liberty of building a Forge or other Buildings upon, and to cut a Mill Race or Dam through the said Ground held by Lease for 40 Years, whereof 39 are unexpired, at 20l. 10s. Rent a Year, with a Covenant from the Lessor to renew for 21 Years more on Payment of 100l. The Mill Race it already cut, and Flood-gates fixed, a Drum fixed.
N.B. Good Coals are within less than a Mile, and to be purchased at One Shilling for 60 Pecks, Corn Measure.
Lot 4. A HAMMER BEAM, a large WHEEL, with Axle-tree Gudgeons, another Wheel for the Hammer Beam near finished, nine Frames for Flood-gates, and Cluers and other Oak Timber for Forge.
An Inventory of all the Utensils and Implements to seen at Busy Cottage aforesaid.
For farther Particulars, apply tom Mr. Fenwick Lyddal, Attorney, in Threadneedle-street, London ; or Mr. Thomas Davidson, Attorney, at the Oat Market, Newcastle aforesaid.'[2]

An important item in the above sale is the Engine, moved by Water, for cutting Dyers and Pressers Screws, Slitting Mill Pillars, and for turning either large or small Work. Was this a very early power-driven industrial-scale screwcutting lathe? We can assume that the screws referred to are large and made of iron, being used for some process in the dyeing industry, for presses, and for rolling mills. This machine may have been the subject of the patent of George Pickering for his new method of making IRON SCREWS, for raising and lifting up of Timber and loading and stowing of Goods, in and on Board ships.

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Sources of Information

  1. Newcastle Courant - Saturday 9 July 1763
  2. Newcastle Courant - Saturday 29 September 1764