Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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John Hughes

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John James Hughes (1814 – June 17 1889) was a Welsh engineer, businessman and founder of the city of Donetsk.

Hughes was born in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales, where his father was head engineer at the Cyfarthfa Ironworks. Under his father's supervision, Hughes started his career here.[1]

He moved to Ebbw Vale, before joining the Uskside Foundry in Newport, Monmouthshire, in the 1840s.[2]

Here Hughes made his reputation and fortune, patenting a number of inventions in armaments and armour plating. The resultant revenues allowed him to acquire a shipyard aged 28, and by the age of 36 he owned a foundry in Newport. It was also during this time that he married Elizabeth Lewis, and had eight children: six boys and two girls, all born in Newport.[3]

In the mid-1850s, Hughes moved to Millwall, London (23 Great Winchester Street) to become manager of C. J. Mare's forges and rolling mills, which was then taken over by the Millwall Iron Works and Shipbuilding Co, part of the Millwall Iron Works, Shipbuilding and Graving Docks Co. Hughes was a director of the company when it floundered, and resultantly became manager of the residual Millwall Iron Works Co. During this period, the various companies and successors won worldwide acclaim for the iron cladding of wooden warships for the British Admiralty, for Hughes was given much of the credit. In 1864 he designed a gun carriage for heavy cannons, which came to be used by the Royal Navy, as well as the navies of some other European countries.[4]

1865 (1st Feb) Patent in Armour plating improvements. [5]

1866 John Hughes, C.E., of Millwall Ironworks.[6]


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. Wikipedia
  2. Wikipedia
  3. Wikipedia
  4. Wikipedia
  5. The Engineer 1879/01/31
  6. The Engineer 1866/07/13