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 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 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.

John Benn

From Graces Guide

John Williams Benn, the son of Julius Benn and Ann Taylor, was born in Hyde near Manchester in 1850.

John received little formal education and was mainly taught at home by his parents. As the eldest child, John was expected to contribute to the family income. He started a part-time stamp-business and by the time he was fourteen he had made a profit of £80.

In 1867 John was employed by T. Lawes & Co, a wholesale furniture company. He initially worked as a office clerk but later began designing furniture for the company. By 1873 he had married Lily Pickstone, a distant relative of Josiah Wedgwood, and was earning £300 a year as designer and manager of what was now known as Lawes Randall & Co. Over the next few years the couple had six children, including two who were later to become national figures, Ernest Benn and William Wedgwood Benn.


1922 Obituary

Although be will be chiefly remembered for his strenuous work in connection with the formation and early years of the life of the London County Council, the late Sir John Benn exercised considerable influence on engineering and allied industries by way of the various technical journals for the establishment and conduct of which he was responsible. The best known journal published by his firm - Benn Brothers (Publishers), Limited - is perhaps the Electrician. Included in the list, however, are such periodicals as the Gas World, the Hardware Trade Journal, the Cabinet Maker, Aeronautics, the Chemical Age, and some journals devoted to farming, gardening, and commercial intelligence. Sir John was keenly interested in public life, and, indeed, made that rather than his publishing business his prime concern. He was twice a member of Parliament, and was a member of the London County Council from its formation in 1889 to the date of his death on the 10th inst. As chairman of the latter body's Highways Committee he played a leading part in the lengthy discussions which centered round the question of municipalising the tramways in London. In the end his proposal that the Council should exercise its option to purchase the undertakings was carried by a majority of one.



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