Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 130,448 pages of information and 207,510 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Joseph Westwood

From Graces Guide

Jump to: navigation, search

Joseph Westwood (1844-1898) of Joseph Westwood and Co

1844 November 18th. Born the son of Joseph Westwood (1818-1883)

1861 Living at Tredagar House, Bow Road, Bow: Joseph Westwood (age 42 born Tipton), Shipbuilder. With his wife Joanna Westwood (age 37 born Looe, Cornwall) and their six children; Joanna Westwood (age 17 born Bromley, Mddx.); Joseph Westwood (age 16 born Poplar); Martha Westwood (age 10 born Anglesea); Emma Westwood (age 8 born Bromley, Mddx.); Charles J. Westwood (age 7 born Poplar); Rosalie Westwood (age 4 born Bow); and James R. Westwood (age 1 month born Bow). Four servants.[1]

1862 of London Yard, Poplar. Patented hydraulic press including a means of moving the cylinder and ram sideways[2]

1880 of Napier Yard, Millwall, London

Died aged 53.[3]


1898 Obituary [4]

JOSEPH WESTWOOD was born at Bow, London, on 18th November 1844.

In 1860 he entered the London Yard Iron Works of his father's firm at Poplar, and spent about four years in passing through the various shops and drawing office.

From 1864 to 1879 he had responsible charge of the engineering departments of the works, during which time various large viaducts, bridges, railway station roofs, engines for gas works, and many varieties of engineering ironwork were constructed, some of them from his own designs.

Retiring about 1881 from his father's firm, he took offices in London for a time; and on his father's death in 1883, he determined to start new works with more modern machinery and appliances for constructing ironwork and steelwork of every kind. The site he selected was that of the old Napier Works at Millwall, where Fairbairn had erected in 1836 the earliest iron-shipbuilding establishment of any magnitude in England and had made the test tubes for the Britannia Bridge, where Napier had built many vessels, and where Scott Russell had built for Brunel the Leviathan or Great Eastern. These works he altered extensively, covering with buildings and sheds an area of nearly six acres, with a frontage of about 500 feet to the Thames, and a width of about 550 feet from the river to the road.

About two years ago adjoining premises were added, which are connected with the railway system of the country, and have a covered area of about three acres; the total area of the works thus enlarged is about nine acres. Here has been carried out a large quantity of work for the India Office, the Crown Agents for the Colonies, numerous Indian and Colonial railways and public works, as well as for many railways in the United Kingdom and for private firms.

His death took place at Hampstead, London, on 18th April 1898 at the age of fifty-three.

He became a Member of this Institution in 1880; and was also a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers, the Institution of Naval Architects, and numerous other scientific societies.


1898 Obituary [5]

JOSEPH WESTWOOD was born on the 18th November, 1844.

At sixteen years of age he entered the works of Messrs. Westwood, Baillie & Co., in which firm his father was a partner, and passed through the various shops and the drawing office.

From 1864 to 1879 he had responsible charge of the engineering department of those works, and during that time many large viaducts, bridges, roofing for railway stations, gasworks, engines, machinery, and all kinds of ironwork, were constructed, in many instances from his designs.

About the year 1881 Mr. Westwood retired from the firm and took offices in the City, but on the death of his father in 1883, when the estate had to be disposed of, he sold to his father’s partner the interest in the business and determined to start a new works with more modern plant and appliances for the purpose of constructing iron- and steelwork of every description. He finally selected the Napier Works at Millwall, where in former days the test tubes or girders of the Britannia Bridge were made, and the “Great Eastern” and other vessels were constructed.

When Mr. Westwood took these works, the area covered by the buildings and sheds was about 81,000 feet, the frontage to the river Thames 500 feet, and the depth from the river to the road 550 feet.

In 1889, this area not being sufficiently large to deal with the increased amount of business, other premises were taken consisting of extensive brick and covered buildings and sheds, the total surface area of Napier Yard being now about 300,000 superficial feet. The works were equipped with modern machinery of the best description, including a large hydraulic plant for bending and stamping plates of iron or steel of any description, and capable of corrugating and curving plates of two tons weight in a few minutes.

During Mr. Westwood’s connection with the firm of Joseph Westwood and Co. a large quantity of work was carried out for the India Office, the Argentine North Eastern, the Buenos Ayres Pacific, the Central Uruguay, the Bombay, Baroda and Central India, the Southern Mahratta, the Great Indian Peninsula, the Indian Midland, the Bengal-Kagpur, the Bohilikund and Kumaon, and the Delagoa Bay Railway Companies; for the Government Railways of Queensland, South Australia, the Cape, and Natal, and for the Crown Agents for the Colonies; also for many railways in the United Kingdom, and for many private firms.

Mr. Westwood was the inventor of a cambered or fish-bellied flooring for bridges, to secure drainage- away from the main girders to the centre of the floor, and of a method of trussing floor-plates to form a light economical bridge. Until within the last year or two, when considerations of health became paramount, he was an extremely hard worker, no detail of business escaping his attention. His evidence as an expert was requisitioned in several important arbitration cases. He was the proprietor and manufacturer of the "Hawksley" tread for staircases used at many railway stations and in public buildings.

Mr. Westwood died on the 18th April, 1898, after a long illness. He was a Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, of the Institution of Naval Architects and of the Society of Engineers.

He was elected a Member of this Institution on the 29th May, 1877.



See Also

Loading...

Sources of Information

  1. 1861 Census
  2. The Engineer 1862/08/01
  3. The Engineer 1898/04/22, p382.
  4. 1898 Institution of Mechanical Engineers: Obituaries
  5. 1898 Institution of Civil Engineers: Obituaries