James Charnock (1851-1899)
1899 Obituary 
James Charnock was born on 18th March 1851 at Dukinfield, near Manchester. He received his education from 1857 to 1868 at St. John's Schools, Dukinfield, and in the science and art classes of the Stalybridge Mechanics' Institute while learning his trade at Messrs. Sidebottoms, cotton spinners, of Stalybridge, who occasionally made their own machinery.
In 1868, at the early age of sixteen and on the recommendation of Messrs. Platt Brothers of Oldham, he went to Russia, being engaged by Messrs. De Jersey and Co. of Manchester to superintend the erection and working of special machinery in cotton mills, when the industry was in its infancy in that country. With this firm he made successive contracts up to 1879, all at the Kranholm mills of Messrs. L. Knoop, at Narva, Esthonia, then as now the largest cotton spinning and manufacturing mills in the world. In 1879 he became manager of the Ismailove mills near Moscow. In 1881 he was engaged to build and manage new mills at Nicholski near Moscow for Messrs. Vicoul, Morosoff and Sons, then a small weaving and dyeing firm. Under his management, embracing as it did the construction of the mills, the housing and provisioning of the work people, and the supervision of forests and turf fields, the concern developed rapidly, until at the present time it is one of the most successful in Russia and one of the largest in the world, employing nearly 12,000 hands in cotton spinning, weaving, dyeing, and finishing, and in forestry. From 1883 he was a partner in the firm, who now house some 22,000 persons — men, women, and children — besides providing for the lodging of another 9,000 round the district.
He was also one of the original founders and a director of the Savina Vigogne cotton spinning and weaving mills of Messrs. Vacuole, Morosoff, Ivan Poliakoff and Co., employing about 3,000 workpeople. For the recovery of his health, which had suffered from overwork, he had made a journey to the Mediterranean, but without deriving much benefit therefrom; and was on his way to London, when he succumbed to acute peritonitis in Moscow, where he died on 16-28th May 1899 at the age of forty-eight. He had served his firm for some eighteen years, and was recognised as one of the principal authorities on the cotton trade in Russia.
He became a Member of this Institution in 1895.
Sources of Information
- 1899 Institution of Mechanical Engineers: Obituaries Minutes of the Proceedings