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George Wilson and Co

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G. Wilson & Co of Garden Lane and Rolla Street, Salford

1841 Listed in Pigot’s Directory of Manchester & Salford, 1841 as lathe, tool, spindle and fly makers, engineers, millwrights, iron and brass founders and steam engine boiler manufacturers, 34 Garden Lane, Salford. George Wilson, Engineer, house 2 Paradise Lane, Salford.

1841 'Bankrupts: Town & Country Fiats': George Wilson and Richard Briddon of Salford, machine makers and co-partners, trading at Salford under the firm of George Wilson & Co., and at Stockport under the firm Richard Briddon and Co [1][2]

1841 Advertisement for sale of equipment by order of the assignees of Messrs G Wilson & Co, Garden Lane, Salford. Items included a large planing machine with a bed 24 ft long, 6 ft 2" wide, 6 ft high, self-acting in the horizontal, vertical, and angular cuts, with self-oiling apparatus; 10 HP portable engine, not quite finished; four locomotive cylinders; boiler making and foundry equipment; patterns; spinning machines [3]

A most alarming and destructive conflagration occurred in Garden-lane, Salford, early on Sunday morning. The fire broke out in the premises of Messrs. George Wilson and Co., lathe and tool makers, Garden-lane, and ended in the destruction of a great portion of those premises, also the adjoining premises, in the occupation of Messrs. J. G. Lavino and Co., sizers, stiffeners, and fustian shearers, and the property contained therein.
The building occupied by Messrs. Wilson and Co., who are also the owners of it, was forty-five yards long by seven yards wide, and four stories high, cellars included. These premises are bounded on one side by Garden-lane, and by Starkey-street on the other; and one end separated from the premises of Messrs. Lavino and Co. by a narrow street called Rolla-street; over which, however, there was a wooden gangway communication between both buildings, which were both formerly in the occupation of Mr. Wilson; and the wooden communication had been allowed to remain, and had been used by the former firm up to the present time. The buildings occupied by Messrs. Lavino and Co. extended along Garden-lane the distance of twenty-two yards, and about twice that distance along Rolla-street. The principal building — that in Garden-lane — was eight yards wide, and five stories high ; the rest of the premises include offices, stables, a cottage for the manager, and yard. The buildings were nearly surrounded by house and cottage property.
It appears that a joiner, named Orton, had gone to Messrs. Wilson's manufactory about a quarter before four that morning, for the purpose of doing something which it was necessary should be done before the workmen commenced next morning ; and he states that as he went up stairs he saw flames issuing out of the store-room, in the second story. He immediately gave information to Joseph Porter, who kept the keys, and, after an ineffectual attempt to save the books, alarm was given at the Salford fire-police station. This was about 20 minutes after four; and Mr. Darling, Superintendent of the Salford firemen, proceeded as quickly as possible to the place, with a very powerful new engine, named the Deluge, manufactured, by Messrs Barton and Co., of this town, and a second engine followed shortly afterwards. On the arrival of the first engine, that end of Messrs. Wilson and Co.'s premises nearest Rolla-street was in flames, from the bottom to the top, the flames issuing from the windows on each side; and, as the wind was blowing very strongly in the direction of Messrs. Lavino and Co.'s premises, not many minutes elapsed before the fire was communicated to the wooden gangway, and by this means it rapidly extended across Rolla-street, and reached Messrs. Lavino and Co.'s premises. In the meantime, the two engines were supplied with water from barrels, which were taken for that purpose; the Deluge engine being stationed in Garden-lane, and the other in Rolla-streot; but the supply thus obtained proved totally inadequate to arrest the progress of the destructive element; and, owing to some mismanagement, or defective arrangements, it was nearly three quarters of an hour after the first engine arrived before sufficient water could be obtained from the street mains to the engines to play with their full force. During this period the flames had made much progress, especially burning the premises of Messrs. Lavino and Co.; and some cottage houses in Garden-lane and Starkey-street were also placed in imminent danger; and many families were seen in the utmost alarm removing their children and furniture to places of greater safety. A little before five o'clock, being found impossible to stay the flames without additional engines, a message was sent to the Manchester police-yard, and in ten minutes Mr. Rose was at the scene of the fire, with the engine and a body of firemen, which were followed, shortly afterwards, by the Water Witch and Vesta. By a judicious disposition of the engines, and a good supply of water, which was at length obtained, the fire was got under about o'clock, but for some hours afterwards it was found necessary for the engines to continue playing on the ruins. An engine belonging to Messrs. Wilson, calico-printers, Adelphi, and one belonging to Messrs. Dewhurst and Sagar, Adelphi, were on the spot, and rendered very efficient service in protecting the back part of Messrs. Lavino's premises.
Too much praise cannot be given to Messrs. D. and S.'s foreman, for his great exertions with their engine, by which means Messrs. Bent's premises were saved.
That part of Messrs. Lavino's premises which adjoined Garden-lane is a total ruin, and none of the property was saved. Three horses and a mule, which were in a stable behind, were with difficulty got out unhurt. A van, loaded with warps, was standing in the yard, and both the van and its contents were entirely destroyed. The flames did not reach the manager's cottage, situate in Rolla-street, but every thing was removed; as, one time, there appeared great danger of the whole of the premises being consumed. We understand that in the premises which have been destroyed, occupied by this firm, were five doubling machines, of the value of £100 each; a new drying machine, to replace which would cost about £1,000, two raising machines, for raising fustians; and shearing machines. The steam engine was a little damaged; but two boilers were saved. Messrs. Lavino and Co. are, we understand, insured in the Atlas offices for £3,500, which, it is supposed will cover the loss. The greater part of the buildings, which are the property of Mr. Edward Fowler Satterthwaite, are insured in the Imperial office for £1,800.
The greater part of the building belonging to and occupied by Messrs. Wilson and Co. was destroyed; the end adjoining Rolla-street was completely demolished from top to bottom ; but a portion at the south-westerly end, with the exception of anotheer room, is saved, and also the centre part of the building. The property in the building consisted of patterns, slide lathes, tools, planing machines, drills, screwing engines, spinning throstles, power looms in progress of making, spindles, and screw-bolts. Mr. Wilson estimates the machinery and stock as having been worth about £2,500, and states that it will cost £1,000 to replace the patterns destroyed. The patterns are insured for 500; the machinery and stock for £1,300; the shafting and geering for £100; and the engine and boiler for £100. The building was insured for £1,500. The whole of these insurances, which amount to £3,500, are effected in the Globe office; and this sum, it is said, will cover the loss, when the salvage is taken into account. We understand that new machinery, to the value of about £1,000, was in progress of manufacture on the premises, and would have been sent out in about three or four weeks had not this catastrophe occurred. — Some cottages, in Starkey-street, belonging to Mr. John Barlow, received damage and these are insured on the Norwich Union office for £90. None of the cottage property in Garden-lane was damaged, beyond the partial breaking of the windows' shrivelling of the paint on the doors and shutters, melting of the lead, wherever it was exposed to heat from the burning of the property opposite. No probable cause has been assigned for the the fire. Messrs. Wilson's premises were left, apparently safe, at a quarter-past eight on Saturday night; no lights had been used during the day, nor had anything been going on, so far as is known, at all likely cause fire. — Order was very efficiently preserved during the fire by Mr. Diggles the deputy-constable of Salford, and a number of the police ; and we are glad to be able to state that no personal injury was sustained by any of the parties engaged about the flames.' [4]

1845 Mechanics Exhibition. 'In the Model Room is one of Weild's new patent mangles, contributed by Messrs. George Wilson and Co., of Garden Lane, Salford, an invention which excites great attention from its simplicity and portability compared with the old machines, whilst it is much better adapted for domestic purposes than the others on account of the little space which it occupies.'[5]

The 1849 OS map [6] shows a small 'Machine Factory', just 7 yds wide and 45 yds long, fronting onto Garden Lane, running from Rolla Street southwards to Queen Street, with Starkey Street immediately behind. The dimensions confirm that this was the site of Wilson's works as described above. It was probably built as a textile mill. Immediately behind the works, on Starkey Street, was a densely-packed block comprising a Spindle Works and back-to-back houses typical of those owned by slum landlords. Here was a plot of land measuring just 52 by 145 ft, containing 19 houses and a spindle factory, enclosing a tiny courtyard approximately 16 ft square. The theme continued eastwards, with many more houses crowded into the larger plot.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Law Journal 1841: Bankrupt & Dividend List: 1841]
  2. The London Gazette Publication date:2 November 1841 Issue:20033 Page:2709
  3. Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser - Saturday 4th September 1841
  4. Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser - Saturday 20 July 1844 .....
  5. Manchester Times - Saturday 04 January 1845
  6. The Godfrey Edition Old Ordnance Survey Town Plans: Manchester Sheet 23: 'Manchester Victoria 1849'