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British Industrial History

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Maudslay, Sons and Field

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The Lambeth Works of Maudslay, Sons and Field Circa 1835.
c.1820 model of a Maudslay oscillating engine on display at the London Science Museum. Model made by J. Spiller of Battersea. Was this Joel Spiller?
1827 model of oscillating paddle steamer engine at the London Science Museum
1837. Exhibit at Powerhouse Museum.
1870. Engines of HM. Ironclad Ship Druid.
April 1870.
1876. Compound engines for the SS Britannic, a White Star Line Ocean Liner.
1883. Compound engines at the Royal Mint.
1884. Engines of HMS Colossus.
1884. Engines of Ironclad ship, Colossus.
1884. Engines of Ironclad ship, Colossus.
1894. Engines of the First Class Protected Cruisers Theseus and Royal Arthur.

Maudslay, Sons and Field of Lambeth Marsh, London was a maker of steam engines.

1798 The company Henry Maudslay and Co was founded by Henry Maudslay (1771-1831) when he left Joseph Bramah's employ and set up business in Wells Road, before moving to Margaret Street, Marylebone.

Later his sons Thomas Henry Maudslay (1792-1864) and Joseph Maudslay (1801-1861) and their partner Joshua Field (1787-1863) made the marine work shops at Lambeth so famous.

This was the only Thames-based naval engine firm to fulfil naval contracts until about 1835 when orders were given to Barnes and Miller of Ratcliff and Seaward and Capel of Millwall.

c.1800 Lathe. (Exhibit at Birmingham Thinktank museum).

1810 With the expansion of his business, Maudslay sought larger premises and moved to Westminster Bridge Road, where the firm remained until the end of his life.

1812 Took Joshua Field into partnership.

1820 The Partnership between Henry Maudslay, John Mendham, Thomas Henry Maudslay, and Joshua Field, trading under the firm of Henry Maudslay and Co, as Engineers and Mechanists, at Lambeth, was dissolved by mutual consent. Henry Maudslay would settle the debts[1]

1822 the firm's name was changed to Maudslay, Son, and Field.

1828: 'An Inquest was held at the Marquis of Wellington, South, street, Lambeth, the body of D. Buckley.—John Slaney stated, that on Monday he was, with the deceased and others, on the premises of Messrs. Maudsley, engineers, in the Westminster-road, with a portable crane, raising cases, which contained machinery for boring guns, swinging the cases round as. they were hoisted. The deceased was below, at the handle of the crane, winding it up ; when suddenly it fell forwards, and deceased fell on his back. Witness assisted in removing the crane, but he was quite dead. At the time the accident happened, the deceased was heaving so violently that he was told the crane had shifted from its position, which was the cause of its pitching forward and causing his death. Witness considered the counter-balance sufficient, because it had before raised a case which was half a ton heavier. The weight of the case they were raising was about two tons.—William Meale, another labourer, stated that the deceased let go the handle of the crane, when they all fled to avoid the danger—Verdict- Accidental death, occasioned by the negligence of the workmen employed at the crane. —Deodand 5s.'[2]

1831 William Muir joined the company. Around this time James Nasmyth and Joseph Whitworth were employed there.

1831 Henry Maudslay died. His sons continued the business; two of them in particular made their mark on its development. The eldest son, Thomas Henry Maudslay (1792–1864), demonstrated considerable commercial ability; his third son, also a gifted engineer, was Joseph Maudslay (1801–1861).

1833 With the inclusion of Maudslay's sons the firm became Maudslay, Sons and Field[3].

1838 Made steamship engine for pioneer transatlantic SS Great Western built by Patterson

1835 As a result of the death of Henry, the partnership of Maudslay, Sons, and Field expired and was dissolved leaving Thomas Henry Maudslay, John Maudslay, Joseph Maudslay, and Joshua Field to continue the business under that name[4]

1838 Beam pumping engine for Kew Bridge. Extensively modified, the engine has been preserved at Kew Bridge Steam Museum

1838-42 See 1839-1842 Marine Engine Makers for details of engines made for the Admiralty

1838-9 Built twelve railway locomotives for the London and Birmingham Railway

1839 Patented the twin cylinder engine and nicknamed the 'Siamese'

1843 Engines for the Royal Yacht 'Albert and Victoria' detailed

1843 Illustrations of a wooden-framed travelling crane in Maudslay's works in 'The Artizan'[5]

1851 Award at the 1851 Great Exhibition. See details at 1851 Great Exhibition: Reports of the Juries: Class VI.

1853 Patent double cylinder marine engines (shown at 1851 Great Exhibition)

1855 Patent breech-loading cannon

1856 Subscribed £100 to the Smith Testimonial Fund, commemorating the work of F. P. Smith in promoting the screw propeller.

1861 Henry Maudslay retired from the Partnership with Thomas Henry J L Maudslay the elder, Joseph Maudslay, Joshua Field the elder, Herbert Charles Maudslay, Joshua Field the younger, Thomas Henry Maudslay the younger, Telford Field, and Daniel Fitzpatrick, carrying on business under the style or firm of Maudslay, Sons, and Field, as Engineers; at Lambeth, in the county of Surrey[6]

1861 Joseph Maudslay died.

1862 Columnar engine in the London Science Museum

1863 On the death of Joshua Field, his sons Joshua and Telford held a large interest in the firm.

1864 Thomas Henry Maudslay died.

1865 Engine for HMS Agincourt described in The Engineer of May 1888[7]

1866 Three-cylinder steam engine for the Russian government

1868 The Hon. George Alexander Haldane Duncan became a member of the firm

1876 Detail of Sell's compound marine engines. Details of the engines for the White Star Steamship 'Britannic'.

1881 A description of their Works was published in The Engineer at The Engineer 1881/10/07.

1887 The Hon. George Duncan retired and the firm was turned into a limited company

1889 Richard Sennett, having resigned as chief engineer to the Navy, joined the board.

1889 Took limited company status for the engineering business of Westminster Bridge Road.

1891 Richard Sennett died and Walter Bassett Basset became managing director.

1894 Engines of the first-class protected cruisers 'Theseus' and 'Royal Arthur' (see article and illustrations in 'The Engineer')

1894 Designed and built the 'Gigantic Wheel' at Earl's Court. Description and images in 'The Engineer'. Managing director - W. B. Basset.

1895 Walter H. Maudslay is Chairman and Managing Director of the company [8]

1898 Joshua Field (1829-1904) retired, having invested a large part of his personal fortune trying to save the company

1899 W. H. Maudslay retired.

The company was in financial trouble.

1900 Company closed down

1935 Plaque erected on the site of the company in Lambeth to commemorate its existence there from 1810 to 1900. [9]

See Also

  • The Times, Wednesday, Mar 13, 1935 for general history of the business

Sources of Information

  1. London Gazette, 19 December1820
  2. Public Ledger and Daily Advertiser, 20 March 1828
  3. The Times Thursday, Sep 26, 1833
  4. London Gazette 30 Lan 1935
  5. [1] 'The Artizan' November 1843
  6. London Gazette 7 May 1861
  7. The Engineer 1888/05/18
  8. The Times, Friday, Sep 27, 1895
  9. The Times, Wednesday, Mar 13, 1935