Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Lawrence Gardner

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Lawrence Gardner was founder of the firm later known as L. Gardner and Sons

Born in 1840 in Liverpool [1], Gardner was the second son in a family of five children, the three sons and two daughters of Thomas and Jane Gardner. Thomas was variously described as a labourer and a miller. He died in the late 1840s.

1851 Lawrence was still living at home in Liverpool with his mother and 2 other children.

1861 Lawrence married Ann Kynaston, another miller's daughter, also from Liverpool [2]. They had a family of six sons and two daughters, including Thomas H. Gardner, Edward, Lawrence, Ernest and Joseph, all of whom played a part in the later development of Gardner's business. His two older sons, Thomas and Edward, were each to receive one of the thirty scholarships established at Manchester University by Sir Joseph Whitworth.

1868 he set up his own business in Manchester, as a "machinist" in of one of four houses in Upper Duke Street, Manchester. His workshop was in the common cellar of the four properties. Lawrence and his wife lived in one of the four cottages, the other three being let to tenants.

Gardner was hard working and inventive [3]. His business quickly developed from repetitive work on other peoples' castings into machine parts, machines and machine tools, including parts for sewing machines, a machine to score cardboard, another to cut dovetails in it and a small steam hammer to hammer them into place; milling and cutting machines; another for cutting out cloth. The business was that of a general engineer with no particular speciality.

1871 Lawrence gave his occupation as a "maker of sewing and other light machinery" [4].

1890, at the age of fifty, Lawrence Gardner died, leaving the business to his widow. It can be surmised that his memory was held in great respect by his sons, who gave the name L. Gardner and Sons to the business that was incorporated a decade later.

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Sources of Information

The early history of L. Gardner and Sons: