Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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John Braithwaite, the elder

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John Braithwaite

1759 Born in London, descendent of engineers who ran a small engineer's shop and smithy at St. Albans from the year 1695

1783 Descended on the wreck of the "Royal George" off Spithead in a diving bell of his own construction; recovered an anchor and many guns. Also recovered many guns from the Spanish flotilla sunk off Gibraltar

1788 Recovered dollars, lead and tin from the "Hartwell" wrecked off the Cape Verde islands

Set up engineering works in New Road, London

1797 Birth of his John at No. 1, Bath Place, in the New Road., London, on the 19th of March.

1798 Birth of his son Frederick

1806-7 John the elder was operating with the diving bell on the "Earl of Abergavenny", an East Indiaman, sunk off Weymouth, from which he recovered £130,000 of specie, as well as the general cargo, and successfully blew up the wreck with gunpowder. He was assisted by his son John, who, young as he was, was entrusted with the signalling from his father, who was at work below, and who was frequently under water for from six to eight hours at a time.

1818 June: John the elder died, leaving the business that later became Braithwaite and Ericsson to his sons Francis and John.

1823 Francis died; John the younger carried on the business alone.

See Also


Sources of Information

  • Dictionary of National Biography