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British Industrial History

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John Craven

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John Craven (c1836-1900), Deputy Chairman of Craven Brothers, Manchester.

c1836 Born the son of Thomas Craven

1841 Living at Stretford Street, Hulme: Thomas Craven (age c35), Mechanic. With his wife Mary Craven (age c35) and their children Greenwood Craven (age c15), Ap Mechanic; John Craven (age c5); and Susannah Craven (age c5).[1]

1851 Living at North Street, Hulme: Thomas Craven (age 50 born Hunslet), Engineer. With his wife Mary Craven (age 48 born Bradford) and their children Greenwood Craven (age 25 born Bradford); William Craven (age 22 born Bradford); Sarah Ann Craven (age 19 born Bradford); John Craven (age 18 born Bradford); and Mary Craven (age 17 born Bradford).[2]

1861 Living at 424 Collyhurst Road, Manchester: Mary Craven (age 57 born Bradford), Widow. With her son John Craven (age 25 born Shipley), Machine Maker (Master); and her daughter Mary Craven (age 17 born Manchester).[3]

1900 Died at his residence Smedley Lodge, Cheetham aged 65 years.


1900 Obituary.[4]

THE announcement of the sudden death of Mr. John Craven, deputy-chairman of Craven Brothers, Limited, Vauxhall Ironworks, Manchester, bas been received with deep regret by the engineers of Lancashire.

Mr. Craven, who was in his sixty-fifth year, and had just recovered from a severe illness, was on Monday at the works, apparently in excellent health, but early the following morning expired suddenly from heart failure. The works with whom the late Mr. Craven was associated for the last forty years were established in 1853 by Mr. Greenwood Craven and Mr. William Craven, who is still living, and from very small beginnings the present works, the building of which was commenced in 1857, have gradually extended until the firm now employ upwards of a thousand hands, whilst further extensions are in preparation at Reddish, near Stockport, in the final completion of which the late Mr. John Craven took a very keen personal interest.

Although Mr. Craven occupied no very prominent public position, either in connection with the engineering trades, political or local affairs, his genial character made him very popular, and he was held in the highest respect throughout the district. In the promotion of the Manchester Association of Engineers be took an active part, filling the post of vice-president in 1881, and president in 1882, and it was largely owing to his energetic assistance and co-operation that the Association has, from a comparatively unimportant organisation, attained its present prosperous position. Mr. Craven was also a member of the Iron and Steel Institute and the British Association.

In local matters, although at all times shrinking from coming prominently to the front, he was ever ready to render assistance where his special engineering knowledge could be of benefit to the community.

In 1883, when the Manchester Mechanics' Institute was converted into a technical school, and a new governing body was formed, Mr. Craven was one of its most energetic members, and greatly assisted by gift and counsel the equipment of the engineering section. On the transfer of the school to the Corporation in 1892, be was one of the original committee co-opted to sit with the Corporation members of the Technical Instruction Committee, in which capacity his experience as an engineer, especially in connection with the engineering equipment and building of the Municipal Technical School that is to be opened in September of next year, was of the most signal service.

Mr. Craven was also an active member of the machinery section in connection with the Royal Jubilee Exhibition. In 1897 be was appointed one of a deputation to visit the technical schools of Germany and Austria in order to gain some experience and knowledge of methods in vogue in those countries, with a view of preparing for the equipment of the new technical school in Manchester, and he assisted in drawing up the report which was subsequently issued and widely circulated.

By the death of Mr. Craven the district has lost one whose unobtrusive, but at the same time very valuable assistance, bas largely contributed in promoting its engineering interests.


1900 Obituary [5]

JOHN CRAVEN died at his residence, Smedley Lodge, Cheetham, near Manchester, on June 12, 1900. He was a member of the firm of Craven Brothers, toolmakers and machinists, Manchester, and was well known throughout the Manchester district. He was closely associated with the industrial, municipal, and educational affairs of Manchester, and took a very active part in the technical education schemes of the city.

In 1897 he was appointed one of the deputation who visited Germany and Austria to report upon the technical educational institutions of those countries, with a view to introducing the best methods in the equipment of the Manchester Technical School. He also took a large share in organising the Machinery Section of the Royal Jubilee Exhibition. He served as president of the Manchester Association of Engineers.

He was elected a member of the Iron and Steel Institute in 1887. He attended the meetings with regularity, and took part in the reception of the Institute at its meeting in Manchester in 1899.


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