Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

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Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 163,484 pages of information and 245,913 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

R. and W. Hawthorn, Leslie and Co

From Graces Guide


1899. Name plate.
Exhibit at Beamish Museum.
1874. "The Malilla".
1887. Triple expansion engines of the SS Dogali.
1887. Triple expansion engines of the SS Dogali.
January 1888. The Triple Expansion Engines of the SS Courier.
Exhibit at Powerhouse Museum.
1890. Triple expansion engines of SS Orel.
1900. Engines of the SS Canadian.
1905. Propelling machinery of HM Scout Adventure.


Cargo Steamer Teucer. 1906.
October 1909.
1909. An electrically driven monorail crane made by Royce Ltd of Manchester and erected by Hawthorn Leslie and Co.
1910. HM Torpedo boat Zulu.
1910. Main turbines of HMS Collingwood.
1910. Main turbines of HMS Collingwood.
1910. High pressure astern turbine for HMS Collingwood.
1910. Ore carrying Steamship SS Vollrath Tham.
September 1913.
February 1914.
1914. Seven Ton Crane.
1914. Barry Railway.
1922. for The Highland Railway.
February 1929.
May 1929.
1932. Dipper Dredger Cyclope.
1936. Contemporary with early English Electric powered diesel electric shunting locomotives for the LMSR and GWR - HL produced three number 3'6" gauge versions in 1936 which were supplied to New Consolidated Goldfields Ltd. (Vogelstruisbult Gold). One locomotive was set aside for preservation and is (2017) in store at Germiston Reefsteamers Depot.
1944. HMS Destroyer Quilliam.
1946. HMS Destroyer Armada.
1951. HMS Agincourt Battle Class Destroyer.
1955. "Border Fusillier."
1959. "HMS Llandaff". Aircraft Direction Frigate.

R. and W. Hawthorn, Leslie and Company of St. Peter's, Newcastle-upon-Tyne (usually referred to as Hawthorn Leslie), was a shipbuilding and locomotive manufacturer.

1817 Robert Hawthorn set up business which later became R. and W. Hawthorn, locomotive builders.

1885 Merger of the shipbuilding and graving dock business A. Leslie and Co and the locomotive works of R. and W. Hawthorn[1].

1886 Public company. The company was registered on 7 April, to acquire the businesses of R. and W. Hawthorn engineers of Newcastle-on-Tyne and A. Leslie and Co, shipbuilders of Hebburn-on-Tyne. [2]

1887 Built the triple expansion engines for the SS Courier. They were fitted with Marshall's patent valve gear. The bed plates and pillars were of cast-steel. The 1500 sq ft condenser is separate from the engines and made of gun-metal. The cylinders are 30in., 46 in., and 73 in. respectively by 36 in. stroke. 150 psi steam is supplied by two multitubular boilers; 15 ft 3 in. by 11 ft. The forced draught is supplied by two double-sided fans, each driven by a high speed compound engine. The trial trip toook place on 28th October 1887 on the Admirality course of 9.6 knots between Cullercoats and Newbiggin off the mouth of the Tyne. An average speed of 17.548 knots was obtained, with an indicated horse power of 2979 at 124 revolutions per minute and a vacuum of 26.5 in. [3]

1888 Built a crane locomotive for Palmers Shipbuilding and Iron Co.

1890 Triple expansion engine for 'SS Orel'. Illustration in 'The Engineer'. [4]

1893 After the merger the locomotive side continued making locomotives, among them a 4-2-2-0 with four cylinders - two inside and two outside - connected separately to the two pairs of driving wheels. It was produced for the Chicago World's Fair of 1893 but could not produce sufficient steam to compete effectively with the American products.

1894 Antwerp Exhibition. Details of their display

1899 See 1899 Shipbuilding Statistics for details of production this year

Constructed HMS Viper at the Hebburn yard, the first destroyer equipped with a propulsion turbine[5].

1900 Frank Theodore Marshall was appointed director of R. and W. Hawthorn, Leslie and Co, his father Francis Carr Marshall retiring from the Board.

1900 Engines of the SS Canadian. Article and illustration in The Engineer. [6]

1907 Acquired land adjoining the Forth Banks Works for extensions

1911 Manufacturer of Locomotives for the Railways.[7]

1911 Triple-expansion steam engines for the Şirket-i Hayriye Company's Bosphorus ferry boat Kalender. She was decommissioned and scrapped more than 70 years later, but the starboard engine is preserved and on display at the Rahmi M. Koc Museum in Istanbul. Photo here.

1912 Built 6 ships

1914 Directory: Listed as Iron Ship Builders and as R. Hawthorne and W. Leslie and Co of Hebburn. [8]

1914 Marine and locomotive engineers and shipbuilders. Specialities: marine engines, turbine and reciprocating machinery, water-tube boilers, locomotives of all descriptions and combined crane and locomotive. [9]

1915 F. G. Smith of the Highland Railway ordered six 4-6-0s to his own designs. Being rejected by that railway as being too heavy, they were taken over by the Caledonian Railway.

A great number of locomotives were built for export, usually to the designs of the Crown Agents, among them many fireless locomotives.

1923 The company opened a new office in Westminster at 3a, Dean's-yard. The office was under the supervision of Mr Robert S. Rowell one of the directors resident in London.[10]

1927 See Aberconway for information on the company and its history.

1937 The locomotive production business was bought by Robert Stephenson and Co, becoming Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns. Hawthorns had built 2,783 locomotives.

See Hawthorn Leslie (Shipbuilders)

1954 Private company.

1961 Shipbuilders and repairers, specialising in passenger and cargo liners, refrigerated dry cargo and ore carrying vessels, oil tankers and warships. 2,200 employees.

1961 Engaged as marine engineers and ship builders. [11]

1977 Hawthorn Leslie was subsumed by British Shipbuilders.

Subsequently renamed Hawthorn Leslie

1981 The R. and W. Hawthorn, Leslie engineering group was acquired by Starwest Investment Holdings, a private company; Hawthorn Leslie's main subsidiary was British Central Electrical[12]

A Short History of The Firm

From 'Short Histories of Famous Firms' by Ernest Leopold Ahrons The Engineer - 1922/07/14.

R. and W. Hawthorn, Leslie and Co, Newcastle-On-Tyne.

The firm of R. and W. Hawthorn, Leslie and Co., Limited, is one of the oldest in the country, for its origin dates back more than a century ; but, unlike some of the famous firms whose histories have been recorded in these columns, it has constantly increased in size, and at the present day is one of the largest and foremost of British firms. Locomotive and marine engine construction and shipbuilding form the principal industries with which its name is connected. The original works were founded as an open shed in January, 1817, on the east side of Forth Banks, Newcastle, by Mr. Robert Hawthorn, who began the manufacture of stationary steam engines and millwork. There were only four workmen in addition to Mr. Hawthorn, who worked with them. All the machinery was driven by hand. In 1820 Mr. William Hawthorn became a partner with his brother, and from that date the firm was known as R. and W. Hawthorn. The two brothers were the sons of Robert Hawthorn, who for more than fifty years was engineer to the owners of Walbottle Colliery, near Newcastle, and a man of great mechanical ability.

In 1819 a small portion of the ground upon which the present works stand was purchased. Being on a hill-side, it had to be excavated and prepared for the first workshop by Mr. Hawthorn and his men during the evenings after work hours. About 1820 the firm made the first steam crane for hoisting ballast from ships. It was erected at St. Anthony's Quay, on the Tyne, and at the same period the marine engineering branch was started. In December, 1822, steam power was first supplied to the works for driving the lathes, which until that time had been driven by men turning a hand wheel."

Read More Here

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times, 5 January 1910
  2. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  3. Engineering, 6th January, 1888.
  4. The Engineer of 30th May 1890. p450
  5. The Times, 5 January 1910
  6. The Engineer of 17th August 1900 p160
  7. Bradshaw’s Railway Manual 1911
  8. Kelly's Directory of Durham, 1914 p714
  9. 1914 Whitakers Red Book
  10. The Engineer 1923/02/09
  11. 1961 Dun and Bradstreet KBE
  12. The Times , Feb. 25, 1981
  • L. A. Ritchie, The Shipbuilding Industry: A Guide to Historical Records (1992)
  • 1961 Dun and Bradstreet KBE
  • [1] Wikipedia
  • British Steam Locomotive Builders by James W. Lowe. Published in 1975. ISBN 0-905100-816