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British Industrial History

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William John Jenkins

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William John Jenkins (1858-1911)

1911 Obituary [1]

WILLIAM JOHN JENKINS was born at Llangantin, Breconshire, on 12th September 1858, his father being a miller.

At the age of seventeen he went to the Midland Railway Works at Derby for a short time, and afterwards to Messrs. G. Fletcher and Co.'s Works, Derby; while there he attended the evening classes at the Science and Art School, afterwards becoming a teacher.

Later on he filled for a time the position of Assistant County Analyst.

In 1880 he was appointed chief draughtsman to Messrs. W. Allchin and Co., traction-engine makers, of Northampton; and a few years later he joined West's Gas Improvement Co. in a similar capacity, where he was afterwards promoted to the position of manager, an office which he held for eleven years.

Upon the death in September 1895 of Mr. Charles Hopkinson, of the Beehive Works, Retford, Mr. Jenkins went to that town, and commenced business as a gas engineer at the Beehive Works, under the title of W. J. Jenkins and Co. Under his management the business increased rapidly. He began work with about forty men, and nose (in 1911) the firm employs about 400 men.

The experience gained while with West's Gas Improvement Co. was of great use to him in carrying on his business as a manufacturer of retort-stoking machinery. Within eight years, about 120 installations of this machinery, besides a large number of coal and coke handling plants, retort-houses, settings, etc., were carried out by his firm.

About three years after going to Retford, finding there was a lack of technical education among the youths who were engaged at his works, he employed a teacher to give lessons in the evenings on the subjects of steam, applied mechanics, and machine construction. Later on, owing to the increasing volume of business, it was found necessary to discontinue them at the works, but he was instrumental in organizing similar classes in the town, under the control of the Nottinghamshire County Council.

His death took place suddenly at Retford, on 29th May 1911, at the age of fifty-two.

He became a Member of this Institution in 1892; he was also an Associate Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers, and a Member of the Manchester Association of Engineers.

1911 Obituary [2]

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