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British Industrial History

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Sharrocks and Birch

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of Ancoats, Manchester

For the time being, this entry will also include Sharrocks and Co (Manchester). and a Sharrocks/Johnson wire working partnership.

1836 Partnership dissolved between John Johnson, William Sharrocks, Richard Johnson, and John Sharrocks, wire drawers, Manchester, 31st Dec.—Debts by Richard Johnson and John Sharrocks [1]

1836 Fiat dated June 18—Pet. Crs. Richard Johnson, John Sharrocks, and William Johnson, of Manchester, wire drawers [2]

1837 Partnership dissolved between Richd. Johnson, John Sharrocks and William Johnson, Manchester, wire manufacturers and pin makers (so far as regards John Sharrocks.) [3]

1837 'Wednesday night, about half-past eleven, a fire was discovered in a room used by Messrs. Sharrocks and Birch, as a machine shop, situated at the junction of Union-street and Bengal-street. An engine was brought the spot, a little before twelve, and by the exertions of the fire-men, the fire was got under by three o'clock, after doing considerable damage. The property was insured.'[4]

1839 'PARTNERSHIPS DISSOLVED.... Wm. Sharrocks, John Sharrocks, and Thomas Birch, machine makers (so far as regards Thomas Birch.)
Samuel Sharrocks, Henry Sharrocks, Wm. Sharrocks, John Sharrocks, and Thomas Birch, formerly of Manchester, cotton spinners (so far as regards Wm. Sharrocks, John Sharrocks, and Thomas Birch.')[5]

1839 Advertisement: 'THE Valuable Modern STOCK and TOOLS, belonging to the Assignees of Messrs. Sharrocks and Compy., machine makers, Great Ancoats-street, Manchester,which include forty-three single and double geared lathes, with self-acting motion slide rests, universal and other chucks; seven drilling machines, cutting machine for wheels, smiths', turning, and joiners' tools and benches, and numerous other effects, will be SOLD by AUCTION, in the month of September next.—Particulars, with the days of sale, will be given future papers. T. M. FISHER; Auctioneer, 5, Newall's Buildings, Market-street, Manchester, 30th August, 1839.'[6]

1839 Advertisement: 'Extensive Sale of Lathes, Drilling Machines, Cutting Machines, Smiths tools, Screwing Machines, Grindstones, Benches, Vices, Iron Cupola, Moulders' Boxes, Patterns, Carts, Wheelbarrows, &c.
By T. M. FISHER, by order of the assignees of Messrs. Sharrocks, machine makers, and free from duty, on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, the 8th, 9th, and 10th days of October, 1839, on the premises, Lees-street, Great Ancoats-street, Manchester; sale to commence each day at ten o'clock in the forenoon.
The Valuable STOCK and TOOLS, which are of modern construction and in first-rate working condition, including one 4½ inch, one 7in., four 7¼in., three 8in., three 3½in., three 9 in., two 9¼in., and one 11 in. single geared lathes; one 7¼in. and one 12½ in. ditto, with universal chucks; six 7½ inch, two 8¼in., one 9in., four 6¼in., three 9½in., one 10in., one 12¼in., and one 16in. double geared lathes; one 9½in. doubled geared slide lathe, with slide rest, worm wheel and shaft: one 13in. double geared slide lathe, with slide rest, pinion rack 35 feet long, bed 39 feet long by 1 foot 4 in. wide, worm shaft and wheel; one 9 inch double geared self-acting slide lathe, and one 9 in. single geared ditto, with slide rests and cast iron bed; slide rests, wood and cast iron lathe bearers; three upright drilling machines, two horizontal ditto, one ditto for carding engine bends, and one ditto for spindle rails; four frames for building and turning carding engine cylinders; cutting machine for wheels from 3 to 24 teeth, by Healey (Haley?); benches and vices, crab crane with half-inch chain, cathead and block, grindstones and glazers, saw benches with circular saws, wheels, screws, nails, patent scales and weights, oil cans, straps, smiths' anvils and tools; two-hand screwing machines, with stocks, taps, and dies; wrought iron cupola, ladles, moulders' boxes, and a complete assortment of patterns for looms, throstles, cotton and flax and other spinning machines; also the counting house fixtures, eight days' clock, iron safe, two 20-light gas meters, pipes and burners, broad-wheeled cart, spring ditto, two wheelbarrows, cart gears, and other effects.....'[7]

1839 Advertisement: 'Sale by Auction, Free from Duty. By Mr. FISHER, by order of the assignees of William and John Sharrocks, bankrupts, at the Albion Hotel, Piccadilly, in Manchester, in the county of Lancaster, on Monday the 7th day of October, 1839, at six o'clock in the evening, subject to such conditions of sale as will be then produced:
The Fee-simple and Inheritance of, in, and to all that Plot or Parcel of LAND, situate and fronting to Lees-street, Great Ancoats-street, in Manchester, and extending southerly to Lomax-street, being in depth from Lees-street to Lomax-street, including small portions into the two streets 40 yards or thereabouts, and in extent fronting to Lees-street and Lomax street respectively, including such small portions into the streets 25 yards/and containing in the whole about one thousand superficial square yards of land. And also all that extensive and newly erected Five Story Mill or Building, situate to the front of Lees-street; the two story workshop, smithy, foundry, and and other erections, to the front of Lomax-street, all upon the said plot of land, together with the double cylinder, high pressure steam engine (twelve horse power), steam boilers, pipes, valuable shafting, and other conveniences, and the premises, as will be particularised at the time of sale.— The buildings are of modern erection, and upon the best principle for carrying on an extensive machine making business, and have hitherto been occupied for that purpose. The situation is central, and the property is liable to a ground rent of £58 19s. 5d. only.—Also the Leasehold Estate and Interest of the said assignees, of, in, and to the dwelling-house and premises fronting Lees-street aforesaid, adjoining and on the westerly side of the machine shop, and the cellar beneath the chapel, now occupied as counting-houses and store-rooms to the works—they are held for the remainder of a term of 14 years, from the 25th December, 1836, at the yearly rent of £24. For particulars apply Messrs PEET and HOBSON, Accountants, St. James's-square; also to Mr. HAMPSON. Solicitor. Manchester.' [8]


The 1839 advertisement pinpoints the Lees Street works, and the 1849 O.S. map shows buildings marked 'Wire Mill', together with some houses, Lees Street Chapel, and the White House pub. The Wire Mill belonged to Richard Johnson and Nephew. That firm grew from the business of Russell, Johnson and Sharrocks, one of its principals being Thomas Sharrocks. Later, various members of the Sharrocks and Johnson families were engaged in wire drawing and pin making (see 1836 and 1837 partnership entries above). It may be that both businesses used the Lees Street premises concurrently in the 1830s.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. London Gazette, 19 Jan 1836, reported in Perry’s Bankrupt Gazette, 30 January 1836
  2. London Gazette, July 12 1836, reported in Perry’s Bankrupt Gazette, 16 July 1836
  3. London Gazette, January 31 1837, reported in Gloucester Journal, 4 February 1837
  4. Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, 4 March 1837
  5. Sheffield Independent, 27 April 1839
  6. Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, 7 September 1839
  7. Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, 21 September 1839
  8. Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, 5 October 1839