Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Hudswell, Clarke and Co

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Exhibit at Armley Mill Museum.
1893. Locomotive No 402. Exhibit at the Vintage Carriages Trust
1893. Locomotive No 402. Exhibit at the Vintage Carriages Trust
1899. Heavy Wrought-Iron Pulley.
1899. Light Wrought-Iron Pulley.
January 1906.
December 1907.
July 1908.
February 1911.
September 1913.
May 1929.
1930. Junin. No D557. Exhibit at Armley Mill Museum.
1932. Diesel Tractor. No D571. Exhibit at Armley Mill Museum.
1939. 74 BHP Shunting locomotive.
1958. Steam Locomotive 'Elizabeth'. No 1888. Exhibit at Armley Mill Museum.
1961. Underground Mines Locomotive. Exhibit at the Shildon Locomotion Museum.

of the Railway Foundry, Leeds

of Grosvenor Works, Jack Lane, Leeds (1951)

An engineering and locomotive building company.

1860 William S. Hudswell founded the company having served his apprenticeship with Kitson and Co with John Clarke the work's manager from the same company.

1866 Mr Rodgers joined the company.

1870 The company name was changed to Hudswell, Clarke and Rodgers.

1880 Rodgers left the company and the name changed to Hudswell, Clarke and Company.

1891 Advert. Locomotive engines and 'Rodgers' pulleys. [1]

1894 Etchell's 'Non-Drip' Shaft bearing. [2]

1895 Advert. 'Rodgers' pulleys. Non-drip shaft bearings. [3]

1899 Advert. 'Rodgers' pulleys. Non-drip shaft bearings. [4]

1899 The company was registered on 29 November, to take over the business of locomotive builders and general engineers of the firm of the same name. [5]

1900 Around 575 locomotives had been built since the company started.

1911 Manufacturer of Locomotives for the Railways.[6]

1914 Locomotive engineers. Specialities: locomotive engines for main or branch lines, iron and steel works, collieries' contractors' work etc. Employees 400 to 500. [7]

1917 Advert. 'Rodgers' pulleys. Over 181,000 in use. [8]

1923 Private company.

1927 Around 1,600 locomotives had been completed since the company started.

1927 See Aberconway for information on the company and its history.

1920s The production of diesel locomotives gradually outstripped production of steam locomotives.

During WW2 the company diversified into armaments, as did so many other engineering companies. In the post-war period Hudswell, Clarke and Co Ltd (its full title, and note the comma) was closely involved in many secret programmes, including the British nuclear weapon programme.

The airframe for the first British nuclear bomb, Blue Danube was manufactured by Hudswell Clarke at its Roundhay Road, Leeds. The airframe for Red Beard, the second generation tactical nuclear bomb, followed with that for Violet Club, the Interim Megaton Weapon; and there were many other projects.

1960 Advert for underground diesel engines. 'Designers and builders of steam, diesel mechanical, diesel electric, electric and battery locomotives for all purposes'. [9]

1961 Steam, Diesel and diesel electric locomotive engineers, and packaging and mechanical handling engineers. 800 employees. [10]

1961 The last steam engine was built; they had made 1,807 of these in the 101 years of the company's existence.

The locomotive part of the business is now part of the Hunslet Engine Co. Locomotive-building was always only one part of a diverse product inventory that included underground diesel-powered mining locomotives, hydraulic pit-props and related mining equipment.

All the bombs detonated at the Christmas Island H-bomb tests were contained in airframes designed and built by Hudswell Clarke. The company were also major contributors to other military projects, e.g. the Centurion main battle tank conversion into an armoured bridge-layer that served with the British Army for many years.

The contraction of defence manufacturing in the mid-1960s contributed to the sale and demise of the company.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. 1891 Post Office London Trades Directory
  2. The Engineer of 8th June 1894 p499
  3. Mechanical World Year Book 1895. Published by Emmott and Co of Manchester. Advert p152
  4. Mechanical World Year Book 1899. Published by Emmott and Co of Manchester. Advert p224
  5. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  6. Bradshaw’s Railway Manual 1911
  7. 1914 Whitakers Red Book
  8. 1917 Worrall's Yorkshire Textile Directory Advert p158
  9. Mining Year Book 1960. Published by Walter E. Skinner. Advert p25
  10. 1961 Dun and Bradstreet KBE