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British Industrial History

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Orchard Works, Ipswich

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1865 W. P. Wilkins's (William Pickford Wilkins) Patent grinding mills, made at Orchard Works, shown at Smithfield Club Cattle Show. [1]

1867 Made machines for cutting and bruising esparto grass for Lloyd's Paper Mills at Bow[2]

1869 Advertisement: 'THOMAS WILKINS, Orchard Works, Ipswich, ENGINEER, MILLWRIGHT, COPPERSMITH, Iron and Brass Founder, and Boiler Maker. MACHINERY of every description for Agricultural purposes. Flour Mills, Oil Mills, Saw Mills, Cement Works, Tanneries, &c. Breweries fitted up completely with Machinery, Copper Work, and Utensils. Castings of every description in Iron or Brass, for Builders, Contractors, Ironmongers, Shipbuilders, Smiths, and others at low rates.
Columns. Air Bricks. Ship’s Pumps. Barge Pumps. Hawser Pipes. Girders. Pattresses. Chain Pipes. Lintels. Well Cylinders. Windlass Castings,. Dumps. Dovetail Plates. Sashes. Tank Plates. Winch Castings. Sash Weights. Palisading. Cleats. Rudder Fastenings. Cellar Grates. Gutters.
The Corn or Pulse Straw Bruising Machine, The New Portable Engine. Wilkins's Patent Grinding Mills. Horizontal Steam Engine, One Horse Power, £12 10s.; Two Horse Power, £14 10s.; Three Horse Power £20. Four Horse Power, £28; Six Horse Power, £45; Eight Horse Power, £60; Ten Horse Power, £100. T. W. is the Sole Licensed Agent in Essex and Suffolk for the sale of the HUGON GAS ENGINE, which has no Boiler, no Fuel, no Danger, no extra Fire Insurance.' [3]

1869 Advertisement (with original spelling): 'FOR SALE, ONE 6 h.p. Portable Engine with 8-inch cylinder; three Horizontal Engines, same size; one 6 h.p. Cornish Boiler, one 4 h.p. highly finished Horizontal Engine, one 4 h.p. Vertical Boiler. one 4 h.p. Portable Engine, 6¼-inch cylinder; four Horizontal Engines, same size; five 3 h.p., six 2 h.p., and nine 1 h.p. Horizontal Engines; one 2 h.p. Portable Engine, a Cast Iron Hurst.for pair of 4ft. stones, with neck box, 'evil wheels, lighter gear, lay shaft, and driving pulley; a 20-barrel Refrigerator; a Grinding Mill, with Chaff Cutter on a four-wheel carriage; two Grinding Mills on four-wheel carriages; several patent Corn Grinding Mills; a quantity of Valves for wrought and cast iron pipe; 30-inch and 36-inch Bycicles, with wood wheels, at from £4 10s. each. Apply to THOMAS WILKINS, ORCHARD WORKS, IPSWICH. These Works are not closed, as has been mis-stated.'[4]

Works Accident, 1868

'FATAL ACCIDENT AT THE ORCHARD IRON WORKS, IPSWICH. Last week we noticed that an accident of a very serious nature had occurred at the Iron Works of Mr. Thos. Wilkins, in St. Helen's, to a boy named John Vangess, aged 15 years. The boy had been at the Hospital ever since, and hopes were entertained that he would recover until Wednesday last, when violent vomiting set in, and he died on Thursday afternoon at four o'clock. Yesterday (Friday) an inquest was held at the Greyhound Inn, Henley Road, before S. B. Jackaman, Esq., coroner, when the following evidence was taken-
John Malden, a planer, in Mr. Wilkins's employ said -The deceased was about 16 years of age, was in Mr. Wilkins's employ, and he had been so for some months, as stoker. The engine deceased attended was 7-horse power and the boiler is near the turnery where I work. The deceased was a willing and industrious lad. On Wednesday, the 12th inst., about four o'clock in the afternoon deceased was helping me to mend a strap belonging to the planing machine at which I was at work. I had put the strap round the shaft, which was in action, and the deceased was holding it while I laced it, standing in a stooping position with my back towards him. Suddenly the strap was snatched from my hands and on turning round I saw the deceased's arm was be- coming entangled with the strap, and I ran to stop the engine, but before I got there, the foreman had already stopped it. Before the engine was stopped, I saw the deceased a being carried round by the shaft, he being secured by the strap. I reversed the engine, and the deceased was released. He appeared to be very much injured, and blood was running down his arm. The space between the shaft and the joists of the floor above, against which deceased was dashed more than 20 times, was about a foot. I should say about three-quarters of a minute elapsed from the time the deceased was caught by the strap until he was released. As soon as he was released he was taken in a cart to the East Suffolk Hospital. He was able to speak; and said, "Take me home." I cannot say how the deceased's arm. was caught, but I think if he had used proper care the accident might have been avoided. It is not usual to stop the machinery whilst a strap is being mended, as that would stop all the other work. The shaft is 10 feet above the floor of the shop, and the deceased, at the time he was drawn into the machinery, was standing upon a ladder and holding the strap, within about two feet of the shaft.
By a Juror: The deceased had done the same work before; it was part of his duty.
Jno. Coleman, the foreman , said he was in the turnery when the deceased was assisting the last witness in mending the strap, and he had previously supplied him with the necessaries for mending the strap. He saw deceased upon the ladder with the strap in his hand, whilst Malden was lacing it. He heard Malden call out that the deceased was in the shaft, and he ran down the stoke-hole and turned off the steam. If the deceased had exercised proper caution he would not have been caught. The deceased did not impute blame to any one, and he (witness) considered the death of the deceased to be purely accidental.
Mr. Thomas Wilkins said his factory was under the new Factory Act, and in consequence of that be reported the accident to Mr.Webster, the surgeon under the Act. Yesterday the Government Inspector visited the factory and inspected the place the accident occurred. Witness was far from home at the time, and the inspector was shown over the works by his foreman.
Jno. Coleman, the foreman, was re-called, and deposed to showing the Inspector over the whole of the works. He interrogated him as to the accident, and he explained the matter to him and the Inspector said he was of opinion that no blame could he attached to anyone. He thought that perhaps the boy might have been careless.
Mr. Geo. Sampson Elliston, house-surgeon to the Hospital, said: The deceased was brought to the Hospital about a quarter to five o'clock. I saw him about five minutes after his admission, and I ascertained the extent of his injuries.
The Coroner : Will you describe them ?
Witness: He had a compound fracture of the upper left arm, just below the shoulder, a simple fracture of the left thigh, and dislocation of the joint of the right knee, with a few bruises and contusions of other parts of the body. I should think he a had not lost much blood, but he was in a very exhausted state. Mr. Sampson, the surgeon for the week, was with me when I saw the deceased. We found it necessary immediately to amputate the left arm, which we did within half-an-hour of that time, and the dislocation of the knee was reduced. He rallied after the, operation, and received every attention, and was seen twice daily by Mr. Sampson. He continued to rally until last Wednesday, when obstinate vomiting set in, which would not yield to any treatment, and he died yesterday afternoon, at four o'clock. Deceased's mother was constantly in attendance upon him until his death. I did not hear him complain at all of anyone. The Coroner summed up the evidence to the jury, adding that he thought there could be but little doubt as to the cause of death. The Government Inspector, under the Factory Acts, had expressed an opinion that no one was to blame, and that in all probability the accident arose from the deceased’s own carelessness. The jury, without any hesitation, returned a verdict of Accidental Death."'[5]

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. Birmingham Daily Gazette, 13 December 1865
  2. [1] The Engineer, 26 July 1867, brief reference to the machines on p.272
  3. The Ipswich Journal, 23 January 1869
  4. The Ipswich Journal, 30 October 1869
  5. The Ipswich Journal, 22 February 1868