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British Industrial History

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Merryweather and Sons

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Exhibit at the China Clay Country Park in Cornwall. Portable model circa 1888.
Exhibit at the China Clay Country Park in Cornwall.
Exhibit at the China Clay Country Park in Cornwall.
Exhibit at the China Clay Country Park in Cornwall. No. 4322. Merryweather and Jakeman's patent.
Storrington. Exhibit at Amberley Working Museum.
1845. Ixworth Fire Brigade. Exhibit at Museum of East Anglian Life.
1845. Ixworth Fire Brigade (detail). Exhibit at Museum of East Anglian Life.
1862 Steam Fire Engine.
1862 London Fire Brigade Fire Engine.
1869. Admirality pattern.
1870. Light Steam Fire Engine.
1873. Steam fire engine at the 1873 Vienna Universal Exhibition.
1874. Steam engine for the London Fire Brigade.
1886. Greenwich fixed fire engine.
Merryweather fire engine at Lisbon Maritime Museum (Museu de Marinha)
1892. Steam Fire Engine for South America.
1893. Steam Fire Engine for the London Brigade.
1893. Steam fire engine for Calcutta.
April 1893.
June 1893.
1895. Exhibit at World of Country Life
1895. Exhibit at World of Country Life
c1896/8. Collection Johnny Nuttin, Belgium.
c1896/8. Collection Johnny Nuttin, Belgium.
c1896/8. Collection Johnny Nuttin, Belgium.
c1896/8. Collection Johnny Nuttin, Belgium.
c1896/8. Collection Johnny Nuttin, Belgium.
1897. Vertical Steam Fire Engine.
August 1898.


1901. Steam Fire Pump. Exhibit at Long Shop Steam Museum.
1901. Steam Fire Pump. Exhibit at Long Shop Steam Museum.
1901. Exhibit at Glasgow Museum of Transport.
January 1902.
Exhibit at the National Railway Museum.
Valiant Steam Pump. Exhibit at the National Railway Museum.
April 1903.
1903. Self propelled steam fire engine.
1903. Two-Cylinder Chemical Fire Engine.
1904. Vacuum cesspool exhauster.
1904. Chemical fire engine for Birkinhead.
1904. Self propelling fire float.
c.1905. Hand drawn, estate type steam fire engine, No 2354.
1905. Steam fire engine for Devonport Dockyard.
1906 .
1906. Horse-Drawn Fire Engine .
1906. Horse-Drawn Fire Engine.
1906. Fire King.
1914. Motor driven pump for St Paul's Cathedral.
1914. Steam Cleansing Plant for Great Yarmouth Fish Market.
1927.80H.P. Turbine Pump Motor Fire Engine.
November 1927.
January 1928. Konus-Kemik.
April 1928.
1928. Albion Merryweather Fire Engine. Exhibit at Glasgow Museum of Transport.
1928. Fire float for Rangoon.
1928. Fire float for Rangoon.
December 1929.
1931. Motor Fire Engine.
1933. Motor Fire Engine for Far East.
1935. Fire engine for Lancaster.
May 1935.
July 1938.
July 1938. 65 hp engine.
1938. Turntable ladder pump. Reg No. JEV 802. Exhibit at British Commercial Vehicle Museum.
1939. Exhibit at the Snibston Discovery Museum.
1953. Hose Laying Fire Engine.

Merryweather and Sons of Tram Locomotive Works, Greenwich Works, London SE 10, fire engines and other pumped appliances.

Also of Longacre, London

1690 The firm was established soon after the Great Fire of London, in Cross Street.

At some point the company moved to Bow Street, Longacre.

1790 Nathaniel Hadley became involved in the business

1790s Maker of fire-engines.[1]

1799 Nathaniel Hadley of 98 Long Acre, engine maker

1804 Hadley and Simpkin delivered a fire engine to Preston (see below)

1807 Moses Merryweather joined the company as an apprentice

1816 The firm of Hadley, Simpkin, and Hadley was dissolved; the business was carried on as Hadley and Simpkin[2]

1824 Charles Simpkin died. At some point Henry Lott became involved in the company which became Hadley, Simpkin and Lott

1836 The company was taken over by Moses Merryweather

1851 Exhibited at the 1851 Great Exhibition. Details of their products shown at Class V

1851 Award at the 1851 Great Exhibition. See details at Class V.

By 1861 the company was Merryweather and Son, presumably involving Richard Moses Merryweather

The brothers Richard and James introduced steam fire-engines

1862 Merryweather and Son exhibited at the 1862 London Exhibition. Details of their products shown at Class VIII

1862 The Lambeth branch was opened (it closed in 1879).

1863 The firm was known as Merryweather and Sons.

1864 James Compton Merryweather joined his brother and father in the business.

c1866 The company was known as Merryweather and Field, making steam-powered fire engines[3] with Field specialising in the boiler part of the business. The name soon reverted to Merryweather and Sons[4]

1871 Merryweathers supplied a steam fire engine for comparative trials at Preston against an engine made by Shand and Mason[5]

1872 Henry Merryweather became a partner in the business.

1873 William Essex, as the executor and legatee in trust of Moses Merryweather, deceased, left the partnership with Richard Moses Merry weather, James Compton Merryweather, and Henry Merryweather, who were carrying on the business of Fire Engine Manufacturers, Hydraulic,and General Engineers and Coppersmiths, at Long-acre, in the county of Middlesex, and at York-street, Lambeth, in the county of Surrey, under the firm of Merryweather and Sons[6]

James and Henry Merryweather were chiefly responsible for the development of steam tramway-engines.

Tramway Locomotives: An article in the 'Model Engineer' in 1956 [7] describes aspects of Merryweather’s tramway locomotives. Their first venture was proposed by John Grantham in 1870, and built in 1873 by Merryweather in conjunction with the Oldbury Carriage and Wagon Co. It first ran experimentally in West Brompton, and then on the horse tramway track on Vauxhall Bridge Road. The trials were not very satisfactory, and the locomotive was modified by Edward Woods, and used from c.1876 to 1881 on the Wantage Tramroad. From 1875, engines were supplied to Paris, Rouen, Holland, Spain (Barcelona and San Andres Tramway), Guernsey, Cassel, Adelaide, Rangoon, Wellington (NZ), Buenos Aires, and Brazil (Dom Pedro tramway). In the UK, locomotives were supplied to the North Staffordshire Tramway (Stoke to Hanley), Alford & Sutton (Lincs),and London. Further detail on the tramway locomotives may be found in 'Tramways - Their Construction and Working' [8]

1875-77 They supplied 46 tram engines to Paris tramways. Construction of tram engines was carried on until 1892.

1876 The company moved to premises in Greenwich.

1885 Horse-drawn steam fire engine exhibit. [9]

1888 Issued catalogue of steam fire engines, manual fire engines, fire mains. Three catalogues bound in to one. [10]

c1891. A Merryweather steam fire engine was bought new by the Bassett family of Tehidy Park, Camborne to serve Tehidy House.

1892 The company was registered on 22 March, to acquire the business of engineers of the firm of the same name. [11]

1894 Article on the trials of their floating steam fire-engine. [12]

1900 Showed a steam fire engine at the Paris Exhibition. [13]

1899 Introduced the motor fire-engine.

1900 Article and illustration of a Portable Salvage Plant for the Dover Harbour Board in 'the Engineer'. [14]

1905 Instructed by St. Just Urban District Council to prepare plans for a water supply to Boscaswell and Higher Trewellard[15]

1905 September. Details of their 30-hp petrol fire engine.[16]

1911 Motor fire engine with centrifugal pump for Renfrewshire County Council. [17]

1913-1917 For a list of the models and prices of Petrol Motor Commercial Vehicles see the 1917 Red Book

Sea-salvage of HMS Eden.

1914 Fire and water engineers. Specialities: steam fire engines, fire boats, motor fire apparatus, water supply, fire escapes and everything connected with fire extinction. [18]

1920 April. Fire-Float and Salvage and Fire-Tug. Article and photos in The engineer. [19]

1925 Entrusted with the fire protection of the Bath and West and Southern Counties Agricultural Show.[20]

1928 Merryweather and Sons Ltd took over Shand, Mason and Co.

1937 Fire protection engineers. [21]

1966 Acquired by Tecalemit

1967 Merged with Foamite[22], another firm in the Tecalemit group.

1970 Tecalemit sold the company[23]

J. C. Merryweather invented the Canvas Fire escape chute and various hand-held fire extinguishers, such as the 'Konus Kemik', the 'C. T. C.' and the 'Fire Suds'.

  • Note: In the National Museum of Australia there is a Merryweather horse-drawn manual pump unit fire cart (Object number 1986.0096.0004). 'Merryweather red horse drawn manual pump unit fire cart with four wooden spoked wheels and a metal sign 'Royal Patent. Merryweather Engineer. Long Acre London'. It has two red wooden handrails, metal levers to pump with two screws for attaching hoses to, a container for holding water and two retaining pins attached to a chain, painted red, used to hold the pump system in place.' Collection name; Geoff Gray collection. Restorer; Airport Fire Brigade 1973, Canberra, ACT, Australia. Date made 1824-1850. Date of restoration 1977-1979. Dimensions - Length: 3,245mm, Width: 1420mm and Height: 1240mm

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Joseph Bramah by Ian McNeil. 1968
  2. London Gazette 1 October 1816
  3. The Engineer 1866/09/28
  4. The Engineer 1866/10/19
  5. The Engineer 1871 various issues
  6. London Gazette 23 June 1874
  7. 'Unusual Locomotives' by E. F. Carter, Model Engineer 11 October 1956
  8. 'Tramways - Their Construction and Working' by. D Kinnear Clark, 1894 (Reprinted and published by Adam Gordon, 1992)
  9. Museum of Country Life at Exmouth
  10. The Engineer of 27th April 1888 p338
  11. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  12. The Engineer of 26th January 1894 p64 & p228
  13. The Engineer of 27th July 1900 p101
  14. The Engineer of 7th December 1900 p571
  15. The Engineer 1905/04/14 p382
  16. Automotor Journal 1905/09/09
  17. The Engineer of 8th December 1911 p595
  18. 1914 Whitakers Red Book
  19. The Engineer of 16th April 1920 p396 & p400
  20. The Engineer 1925/05/22
  21. 1937 The Aeroplane Directory of the Aviation and Allied Industries
  22. The Times April 10, 1967
  23. The Times December 9, 1970
  • Traction Engine Album by Malcolm Ranieri. Pub 2005
  • British Steam Locomotive Builders by James W. Lowe. Published in 1975. ISBN 0-905100-816