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 163,165 pages of information and 245,632 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.

Clarke, Chapman and Co

From Graces Guide
1999. Clarke Chapman Cranes prior to demolition.
Rodley Plant.
Steam Winch in Porto Mare, Madeira.
4 Steam winches in Porto Mare, Madeira.
Steam winch in Porto Mare, Madeira.
1882. Clarke, Chapman and Gurney's steam winch.
1886. Steam windlass.
January 1888. Clarke, Chapman, Parsons and Co.
Early Clarke, Chapman Parsons turbine generator at Nottingham Industrial Museum
Early Clarke, Chapman Parsons turbine generator at Nottingham Industrial Museum. The governor works on air pressure. Note the leather diaphragm on the left. Air pressure is controlled by the speed and by the voltage (via an air jet -see photo below)
Early Clarke, Chapman Parsons turbine generator at Nottingham Industrial Museum








August 1899.
February 1901.
January 1902.


1907. Electric Steering Gear.




1907. Anchor Capstan Winch.


1931. Large Winch Windlass for SS Triona.
1931. Five-Ton Electric Level Luffing Grab Crane.
1932. Coal Handling Plant at Gibraltar.
1933.The Johnson Naval Type Boiler.
1937 Clarke Chapman crane at Royal William Victualling Yard
1937. Water Tube Boilers.
1939. Projector Type Fortress Mk. 8. Exhibit at the Shuttleworth Collection.
Life Boat winch. Exhibit at the Chatham Dockyard.
April 1952.
Exhibit at the Museum of Power.
Exhibit at the Museum of Power. Detail.
Exhibit at Crich Tramway Museum. Detail.
Exhibit in Westonzoyland Museum. Detail.
On board the SS Great Britain. No. 7726.
7.5 ton Electric Pouring Crane.
7.5 ton Electric Pouring Crane.
400 ton Vertical Bar Press.
400 ton Vertical Wheel Press.
250 ton Ingot Stripper.
250 ton Ingot Stripper.
20 ton Magnet Crane.
20 ton Magnet Crane.

of Victoria Works, Gateshead, were marine and electrical engineers and boilermakers.

1864 Company established by William Clarke (formerly with Bedlington Iron Co and W. G. Armstrong and Co of Elswick) and Edward Benning at South Shore, Gateshead. Initially produced winches; first steam cargo winch introduced in 1868.

1870 Further partners joined: Joseph Watson and Joseph Gurney; the firm became Clarke, Watson and Gurney.

1873 Joseph Watson died.

1874 Moved to Victoria Works. Captain Abel H. Chapman joined the company.

1875 Started producing boilers, concentrating on multi-tubular boilers.

1882 Clarke, Chapman and Gurney of Gateshead experimented with employing women as draughtsmen, a special building, so as to give the ladies separate accommodation, was built. [1]

1882 Joseph John Gurney retired from the partnership which was continued by William Clarke and Abel Henry Chapman[2], presumably becoming Clarke, Chapman and Co

1883 Charles Algernon Parsons became a junior partner at Clarke, Chapman and Co, in charge of the new electrical department. Parsons concentrated on efforts to devise a high-speed engine for driving directly the newly introduced electric generators, as well as developing a high speed generator.

1884 Electric winch introduced.

1884 Parsons produced his steam turbine patent. The first Parsons turbo-generator was completed in 1884 and is now preserved in the London Science Museum; by 1888 about 200 were in service, mainly for lighting on ships. The partners also worked with Joseph Swan on filament lamps.

1886 Experimented with searchlights for use on ships, which led to the establishment of the Electrical Installation Department.

1888 Glasgow exhibition. Showed a duplex-pump windlass, steering gear, winch, capstan, and a small electric generator. Named as Clarke, Chapman, Parsons and Co of Gateshead[3]. Made a small steam turbine generator - exhibit at Nottingham Industrial Museum.

1889 Parsons left the partnership and founded C. A. Parsons and Co at Heaton.

1893 Public company.

1894 June. Took part in the Royal Agricultural Society’s Competitive Trial of Oil Engines. 6 bhp Butter's patent fixed engine and a portable engine. Article in ‘The Engineer’. [4]

1894 Building oil engines form 2 to 100 hp. [5]

1895 Clarke Chapman extended range of boilers to water tube boilers.

1902 First electric windlass.

1907 Two crane railway tank engines built for the Consett Iron Co.

1914 Specialities: All classes of Steam and Electrically Driven Ships' Auxiliary Machinery, Colliery Power Plant, Vertical, Horizontal and Water Tube Boilers. Employees 2500 to 3000. [6]

1937 Engineers, electricians, boiler makers and founders. [7]

1937 Clyde Crane and Booth formed, to buy out Clyde Crane and Engineering Co from Clarke, Chapman and Co.

1939 See Aircraft Industry Suppliers

1961 Manufacturers of winches, windlasses, capstan gears, pumps, cranes, ships' generators and switchboards, searchlight and floodlight projectors, reflectors, steam generating plant for power station and industrial undertakings, pulverising equipment, conveyors and mechanical handling equipment. Member of the Nuclear Power Group[8].

1962 Clarke, Chapman and Co and W. H. Allen, Sons and Co jointly purchased Nelson Engineering Company, makers of smaller electric motors (up to 50 h.p.) which would be supplied to the 3 companies[9].

1968 Details of their power plant division at Gateshead. [10].

1968 Acquisition of Clyde Crane and Booth to form the nucleus of a new Crane and Bridge Division[11]

1968 With the support of the Industrial Reorganisation Corporation, Clarke, Chapman and Co and John Thompson tried to take over International Combustion to form a major force in boiler-making but after several months Clarke, Chapman and Co withdrew and the bid failed. Rumours were that IRC was encouraging Clarke, Chapman and Co to take over other stationary crane businesses[12].

1969 Take-over of bridge builder and heavy crane maker Sir William Arrol and Co and the 3 heavy-crane making companies in the Wellman Engineering Corporation with backing from the Industrial Reorganisation Corporation[13] including Clyde Crane and Booth, together with Wellman Cranes.

1970 Clarke, Chapman and Co took over the Thompson Group with the support of the Industrial Reorganisation Corporation; new company called Clarke Chapman-John Thompson. [14]. This new group included a Crane & Bridge Division which contained the companies that had been brought together the previous year,

1972 December: Rockwell Standard purchased the Motor Pressings Division of Clarke Chapman-John Thompson[15].

1974 Clarke Chapman-John Thompson took over the U.K. interests of International Combustion (Holdings) Ltd in return for a 31% holding in the enlarged group; as a consequence, Combustion Engineering would hold about 13% of Clarke Chapman-John Thompson [16]. International Combustion (Holdings)'s activities in South Africa, Australia and India were not included in the deal.

1977 Clarke, Chapman and Co merged with Reyrolle Parsons of Newcastle to form a new company, Northern Engineering Industries, which at one stage employed in the region of 35,000.

1977 NEI took over International Combustion (Holdings) Ltd, namely the non-UK boiler-making operations that it did not already own. Combustion Engineering, which owned 45%, accepted the deal straight away but the management pushed for a higher price and succeeded [17].

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Engineer 1883/02/16
  2. London Gazette 19 December 1882
  3. The Engineer of 11th May 1888 p377
  4. The Engineer of 22nd June 1894 p540
  5. A-Z of British Stationary Engines by Patrick Knight. Published 1996. ISBN 1 873098 37 5
  6. 1914 Whitakers Red Book
  7. 1937 The Aeroplane Directory of the Aviation and Allied Industries
  8. 1961 Dun and Bradstreet KBE
  9. The Times, 19 June 1962
  10. The Engineer of 10th May 1968 p740
  11. The Times, 1 March 1969
  12. The Times, 17 February 1969
  13. The Times, 4 March 1969
  14. The Times, 17 June 1970
  15. The Times, 19 December 1972
  16. The Times, 5 February 1974
  17. The Times, 21 October 1977
  • British Steam Locomotive Builders by James W. Lowe. Published in 1975. ISBN 0-905100-816
  • The Engineer of 6th July 1894 p9
  • Stationary Steam Engines of Great Britain by George Watkins. Vol 10
  • History of Clarke Chapman: [1]
  • Many thanks to Philip Hardaker for his image of the works in 1999 and other material.