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William Boyd (d.1919)

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Managing director of Wallsend Slipway and Engineering Co


Obituary 1919[1]

The death of Mr. William Boyd who was for nearly thirty years Managing Director of the Wallsend Slipway and Engineering Company, Limited, as announced as having taken place at Cheltenham on the 19th inst.

Mr Boyd, who was eighty years of age, was born at Arncliffe, Yorkshire, where his father was vicar. He was educated at Rugby and subsequently at King's College, London., in the Department of Applied Science. He served his apprenticeship as an engineer at the Atlas Works, Manchester of Messrs Sharp, Stewart and Co., and in 1863 joined the firm of Thompson, Boyd and Co., of Newcastle. He remained there until 1874 when the partnership was dissolved, and in that year he became managing director of the newly formed Wallsend Slipway and Engineering Co Limited and continued at its head until his retirement in 1903. During his long connection with the firm it developed from an establishment for simply repairing ships and engines into one of the largest marine engine building, dry dock, and ship repairing works in the country.

When the North-East Coast Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders was formed in 1884, Mr. Boyd was elected its first President a position he held for two years. He contributed several papers to this and other scientific associations and a notable address was given by him in 1878 before the Institution of Mechanical Engineers on experiments he had carried out on the construction o£ steam boilers.

Mr. Boyd was the first Mayor of Wallsend.


Letter to The Engineer[2]


".... That Mr. Boyd was a progressive engineer is made evident by your notice. To this, however, might be added the fact that Thompson Boyd produced their first compound engine about fifty years ago, which was fitted in the ss. Brandon. The Wallsend Company also constructed the first tri-compound engine on the East Coast in 1878 from outline design by Mr. Alexander Taylor. This engine was fitted in the Isa. They also constructed the machinery for the first steel cargo vessel, the Ethel, built by Charles Mitchell for Henry Clapham in 1878. About this time the Wallsend Slipway Company began to weld the margins of the front and back of steel boilers for better water-tight connection with the cylindrical shell. These advancements appear to warrant the adjective "progressive," and possibly much more might be added in proof of this since I lost touch with Mr. Boyd - a cultured gentleman as well as an eminent marine engineer......"

[We believe our correspondent is mistaken us to the builders of the Isa's engines. Our recollection is that they were built by Douglas and Grant, of Kirkcaldy. - Ed. The E.]



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Sources of Information

  1. The Engineer 1919
  2. The Engineer 1919/07/25