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British Industrial History

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John Walter Brooke

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John Walter Brooke (1849-1924) of J. W. Brooke and Co


1924 Obituary [1]

JOHN WALTER BROOKE, O.B.E., was born at Barnsley, on 10th June 1849, and was educated at Charterhouse.

On leaving school he served an engineering apprenticeship for five years, and then went to America for three years to gain further experience.

On returning to England he joined Messrs. John Warner and Sons, of London, to perfect a new system of iron and brass moulding.

Subsequently he went to Walton-on-the-Naze, superintended the erection of Messrs. Warner and Sons' factory, and remained for some time as manager.

In 1874 he started an engineering foundry in Lowestoft, which rapidly increased in size, resulting in the present Adrian Works of J. W. Brooke and Co., Ltd., being established, of whichs he remained the head until his death. The firm has always held a prominent position in the construction of marine motors, particularly in connexion with high-speed craft, and their racing boats have been successful in foreign waters as well as in this country.

At the time of the construction of the Great Wheel at Earl's Court in 1894-5, the lifts running to the axle were constructed by his firm.

At one time Mr. Brooke took a great interest in the construction of special machinery for the making of tins for preserved food, and was the inventor of many forms of hoisting machinery and friction clutches.

He took a keen interest in municipal affairs, and was Mayor of Lowestoft for three years in succession, 1913 to 1916.

By his cheery confidence during the trying time of the War, be reassured the public, and did great work for the town. He was a Justice of the Peace for the borough and county, and was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for his services during the War.

His death took place somewhat suddenly at his residence in Lowestoft on 19th January 1924, in his seventy-fifth year.

He became a Member of this Institution in 1892.


1924 Obituary[2]

"The late Mr. J. W. Brooke.—The founder and chairman of the firm of Messrs. J. W. Brooke and Co., Limited, of Lowestoft, died at the age of 75 years, on Saturday, January 10. From Charterhouse, Mr. John Walter Brooke went to a foundry and general engineering works to serve his apprenticeship. When it was completed, he sought further experience in America before starting his own concern in Lowestoft in 1874. He was among the early workers on the application of the internal-combustion engine to marine propulsion, and was a founder-member of the British Motor Boat Club, when success had been attained for his firm through his energy and foresight, he devoted a large part of his time to public interests end was Mayor of Lowestoft during the first three years of the European War, a period of testing times, owing to bombardments and air raids."


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