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British Industrial History

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Joseph Pitts

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Joseph Pitts (1812-1870)

1859 Joseph Pitts, Old Foundry, Stanningley, near Leeds.

1871 Obituary [1]

JOSEPH PITTS was born in 1812 at Dudley Hill, near Bradford, Yorkshire, and in 1834 entered the service of Messrs. Butler and Taylor, ironfounders, Stanningley, near Leeds.

On the death of Mr. Taylor in 1838 he became traveller for the surviving partner, the late Mr. Joseph Butler, who carried on the business until 1851, when it was transferred to his son Mr. John Butler, and Mr. Pitts ; and the firm of Messrs. Butler and Pitts, of Stanningley Iron Works, attained a prominent position as engineers and iron bridge builders, a large number of bridges having been constructed and erected by them, both in this country and abroad.

Mr. Pitts died at Stanningley on the 17th March 1870 at the age of fifty-eight; he became a Member of the Institution in 1859.

1871 Obituary [2]

MR. JOSEPH PITTS was born on the 8th of January, 1812, at Sticker Lane, near Dudley Hill, Bradford.

The circumstances of his parents were such, that in ear1y life he had to be made one of the bread-winners of the family ; but through the kindness of a friend he had the opportunity afforded him of attending a day school gratis. Here he soon became a good plain penman ; quickly passed through the rudiments of an elementary education, and diligently profited by the opportunities for acquiring learning which came within his reach, though he had to work early and late, as well as between the school hours, to procure the necessaries of life.

After a time he became a teacher in a small day-school at Horton, and a few months subsequently he obtained a similar but more advantageous position in a school at Horsforth.

In the year 1834 the friend who first assisted him in his education obtained for him the situation of book-keeper to Messrs. Butler and Taylor, ironfounders of Stanningley. He proved to be an efficient, faithful, and indefatigable servant, and by the weight of his moral character and the foregoing qualifications, rose from one position to another, until he became, for several years before his death, the leading partner in the firm-a firm which, in his lifetime, rose from comparative obscurity to be one of the principal manufacturers of iron bridges for railways.

He was twice married; by his first wife, whom he married in 1834, he had a large family; his second marriage took place in 1848. He was elected an Associate of the Institution on the 7th of April, 1857. He was a prominent member of the Methodist Free Churches, and took great interest in the schools and institutions of that persuasion, being a man of great benevolence and exemplary piety.

For the last two years of his life he was subject to heart disease, to which he succumbed on the 17th of March, 1870.

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