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British Industrial History

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Thomas Watts

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Thomas Watts (1765-c1834), Ironfounder of Norwich

1803 Birth of his son James Watts

1819 Advertisement. 'THOMAS WATTS, ENGINEER, Returns sincere thanks to the many persons hitherto patronized his STEAM PACKET, & solicits a continuance of their favors. This Vessel, which continues to pass between Norwich and Yarmouth every day, has lately undergone an extensive repair, and almost a reconstruction, having been provided with Boiler of hammered iron, fitted up with stoves in each Cabin, & sheathed with copper; by which means the celerity is so much increased, that the voyage is now usually made Four Hours and Half. Whereas many Coachmen and other persons interested rival conveyances have spread reports about the insecurity of the Steam Racket — T. Watts wishes observe, that the late accident completely establishes the safety of his plan of construction for although the Boiler was corroded, gave way, and suddenly let loose the contained vapor, yet no person or article of merchandise on board was in any respect injured. The Vessel starts from Brickwood's Gardens, St. Faith's Lane, Norwich, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday Morning at Nine o'clock, and leaves Yarmouth Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, at the same hour. AND ENTERED UPON IMMEDIATELY,'[1]

1828 Mention of Thomas Watts, Ironfounder.[2]

1831 Advertising his steam packet service.[3]

1832 Listed at St. Faith's lane, Norwich.[4]

1833 May 6th. Death of his wife. 'Mrs. Watts, wife of Mr. Watts, Rose Lane Foundry'[5]

1834 Concerning his death. Thomas Watts, Ironfounder of Norwich. Mentions James Watts, Ironfounder.[6]

1834 Advertisement. 'IRON BRASS FOUNDRY AND Steam Engine Manufactory, ROSE LANE, KING STREET, NORWICH THE SONS of the late THOMAS WATTS, deceased, beg leave to return their sincere Thanks to the Friends of their late Father for the liberal Support which he experienced during his long establishment in the above branches in this City. The Public are respectfully informed, that the Business will in future be carried on in all its Branches under the superintendence of James Watts, who having had the sole management for the last four years, trusts that a strict attention and quick dispatch of Orders to merit the continuance of their Favours. Steam Engines from one to thirty horse power, on the most approved principle and improved construction. Iron and Brass Pumps, Mashing Machines, Malt and Bark Mills, Cast-Iron Cranes, and Machinery in general. Castings made to pattern up to three Tons weight on the shortest notice. All demands on the late Thomas Watts are requested to be sent in that they may be discharged, and all debts due to the said Firm are requested to be paid immediately.'[7]

1834 Death of John Hardiman. 'JOHN HARDIMAN, formerly of Saint Faith’s Lane, In the city of Norwich, Steward of the Nelson and aftewards of the Emperor Steam Boats, both trading from Norwich to Yarmouth, In the County of Norfolk; then of Saint Benedict’s Road, in the county of the said city; then Scole’s Green, afterwards of the parish of Saint John of Sepulchre, both in the said city. Assistant to Mr. Thomas Watts, Master of the said Steam Boats, and late of the Rose Corner, King Street, in the city of Norwich, Publican.'[8]

1835 Sale. 'THE Emperor Steam Packet, FIVE STEAM ENGINES, &c. &c. NOTICE OF SALE. W. M. Butcher RESPECTFULLY announces the Public that he has received Instructions from the Executors of the late Mr. THOMAS WATTS, deceased, to dispose of by AUCTION, in the Assize Week, all their Interest in the Lease of the Estates in the Rose Lane and Faith's Lane, Norwich, together with the Stock at the Foundry, Steam Engines, &c. and also the EMPEROR STEAM PACKET, PLYING between NORWICH & YARMOUTH. Full Particulars of which will appear in next week's Papers.'[9]

1835 Sale details. 'To Millers and Engineers. TO BE SOLD BY AUCTION, By WM. BUTCHER, the Foundery Yard, Rose Ernie, Norwich, Tuesday, August 25th, (by Order of the Executors of the late Mr. Thomas Watts, deceased), THE FOLLOWING PROPERTY: CONSISTING of 1 capital strain engine nine-horse power, nearly complete; 2 ditto of six-horse power, five-horse high pressure steam engine and boiler, nearly complete ; 2 steam engines of two-horse power, 1 pair of steam engines of six-horse power, 2 steam barters, each twelve-horse power ; rotatory engine, one-horse power, with boiler; iron chimney, blast furnaces, screw cutting machine, punching machine, blowing machine with wood frame complete, coal-dust mill, wood and cast-iron turning lathes, 2 cast-iron trucks, brass air furnace. 2 pair of wrought-iron paddle wheels, 10ft. In. diameter, large cast-iron crane, calculated to carry ten tons ; 2 new cast-iron ditto, 1 wood ditto, with pulley, blocks, &c. complete ; 5 pair of blacksmiths’ bellows, anvils, iron vices, and benches, sledge hammers and smiths’ tools, chaff cutting machine with fly wheel, several tons of old iron, plate and bar iron, old brass and lead, cast-iron wheels and shafts, &c. iron scales, beams, and weights, carpenters’ benches and tools, sundry patterns, &c. Also The Emperor Steam Packet, the hull of the Old Nelson steamer, copper bottomed, built of English oak; the hull of the New Nelson steamer, with copper bottom; 2 luggage carts, &c. See —the whole which will be enumerated in Catalogues, be bad of the Auctioneer, Theatre Street. Also will Sold by Auction, at the close of the above Sale, the Premises In St. Faith’s Lane, Norwich, THE LEASE, for the unexpired term of six years from Michaelmas next, in the WHARF with extensive Frontage towards the River, and Messuage Tenement in St. Faith’s Lane, Norwich, with Garden adjoining, now in the occupation of Mr. Watts, at the annual rent of Also the LEASE, for the unexpired term of three years from Christmas next, of the FOUNDERY and PREMISES in the Rose Lane, Norwich, now in the occupation of Mr. Watts, at the animal rent of £27.'[10]

1835 Advertisement. 'James, George, & Thomas Watts, Sons of the late deceased Thos. Watts BEG leave to return their sincere thanks to the Friends of their late Father, for the liberal support he experienced during a 30 tears Establishment as Engineer, and Iron and Brass Founder in this City, and Proprietor of the Emperor Steam Packet; and to solicit on their own behalf a continuance of those favours the Public have been pleased to confer upon him for many years. Any Orders they may be favoured with may be addressed to them, Rose Lane Foundry, King Street, Norwich, where they will meet with every possible attention. Steam Engines from one to thirty-horse power, warranted of the best workmanship; and Steam Boilers of all descriptions made on the shortest notice. Iron and Brass CASTINGS of any kind made to pattern on the most reasonable terms.'[11]

1837 Concerning his estate. Thomas Watts, deceased, late of King Street, Norwich, Engineer and Ironfounder.[12]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Norfolk Chronicle - Friday 24 December 1819
  2. Norwich Mercury - Saturday 25 October 1828
  3. Norfolk Chronicle - Saturday 23 April 1831
  4. 1832 Poll Book
  5. Norfolk Chronicle - Saturday 11 May 1833
  6. Norwich Mercury - Saturday 14 June 1834
  7. Norfolk Chronicle - Saturday 05 July 1834
  8. Norwich Mercury - Saturday 25 October 1834
  9. Norfolk Chronicle - Saturday 18 July 1835
  10. Norwich Mercury - Saturday 22 August 1835
  11. Norwich Mercury - Saturday 05 September 1835
  12. Norfolk Chronicle - Friday 07 July 1837