Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Thomas and William Henry

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Thomas and William Henry, manufacturing chemists, of Manchester.

  • Scholes's Manchester & Salford Directory, 1797 includes Thomas Henry, apothecary, 41 King Street (shop at 1 Essex Street, which was a small side street off King Street)
  • 1821 Listed in Pigot & Dean's New Directory of Manchester and Salford, 1821-22 as Thomas & William Henry, wholesale chemists, 2 East Street, St Peters
  • Listed in Slater's Directory of Manchester & Salford, 1850 and 1863 as manufacturing chemists at Peter Street
  • Adshead's 1851 Maps of Manchester Map 6 shows 'B W Henry & Co’s Chemical Works', the buildings having a floor area of about 150 ft by 40 ft, extending from East Street to a branch of the Junction Canal. To the south west was the cotton mill of John Shawcross, and to the north east was the gum & starch factory of Nat. Lloyd.

Brief Biography

In addition to being manufacturers, Thomas Henry and his son William were prominent scientists in Manchester, and both became Fellows of the Royal Society.

Thomas Henry was one of the founding members of the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society and later its president. He was in business as a surgeon-apothecary in King Street. He discovered a new way of making magnesium carbonate which he used as an antacid, and it became known as Henry's Magnesia. He was encouraged to manufacture the medicine, and it was produced in East Street.

Thomas Henry's son, William was born in Manchester on 12 December 1774, and died on 2 September 1836. He became a prominent scientist, specialising in chemistry, and established Henry's Law, which states that at constant temperature, the mass of gas dissolved in a liquid at equilibrium is proportional to the partial pressure of the gas. His book Experimental Chemistry (1799) was very popular in its day, going through eleven editions in 30 years

The above biographical information was extracted from a very informative account [1]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. [1] Online Biography of Thomas and William Henry in 'Industrial and Intellectual Revolution in the North West: Men of Ideas and Action' by Craig Thornber