Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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James Lillie

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James Lillie (c1788-1862)

c.1788 Born in Coldstream

1814 After serving his apprenticeship as a millwright in Coldstream, moved to Manchester where he worked for 3 years with Adam Parkinson, millwright and machine maker.

1817 James Lillie and his shop-mate (presumably at Parkinsons) William Fairbairn launched a mill-machinery business Fairbairn and Lillie. The firm quickly secured a good reputation, and the improvements in mill-work and water-wheels introduced by Fairbairn caused its fame to extend beyond Manchester to Scotland and even the continent of Europe.

1831 James Lillie of Back Mather Street was one of 80 commissioners elected[1].

1832 The partnership William Fairbairn and James Lillie, civil engineers, was dissolved [2] as Lillie wanted to continue in the existing line but Fairbairn wanted to diversify into new areas which interested him; Fairbairn continued his business as William Fairbairn and Sons; Lillie set up in business for himself as James Lillie and Sons.

1841 Living at Birch Villa, Ardwick, Manchester: James Lillie (age c50), Engineer. With Mary Lillie (age c40), John Lillie (age c20), Engineer, and Joseph Lillie (age c20), Engineer.[3]

1851 Living at Buckingham (?), Rusholme, Lancs.: James Lillie (age 64 born Coldstream), Engineer. With his wife Mary Lillie (age 53 born Liverpool). Two servants.[4]

1862 Died at his residence, Marifield House, Adlington, Cheshire, on the 7th inst., aged 76, James Lillie, Esq. In 1817 he entered into partnership with Mr Fairbairn, of Manchester, under the firm of Fairbairn & Lillie, and with that gentleman was the pioneer of numerous mechanical improvements.[5].

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Manchester Times and Gazette, 29 October 1831
  2. The Morning Chronicle, 3 October 1832
  3. 1841 Census
  4. 1851 Census
  5. Inverness Courier - Thursday 18 September 1862
  • Biography of Sir William Fairbairn, ODNB [1]