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British Industrial History

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William Nelson Haden

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William Nelson Haden (c1859-1946)

c.1859 Born in Trowbridge, son of George Nelson Haden

1911 William Nelson Haden 52, heating and ventilating engineer, employer, lived in Trowbridge with Jeanie Haden 38, George Nelson Haden 11, William Denholm Haden 7, Elizabeth Louise Haden 5[1]

1946 Obituary [2]

WILLIAM NELSON HADEN of Trowbridge, Wiltshire, was a well-known heating and ventilating engineer. He was the grandson of the founder of G. N. Haden and Sons, which began at Trowbridge in 1816. He was apprenticed to his father in 1875, and served this firm until his retirement from the chairmanship in 1933 a connection of fifty-eight years. Although trained primarily in the company's works — then engaged in the design and construction of steam engines and cloth machinery — he greatly enlarged the firm's activity in heating by air and by water circulation, which they had developed since 1819.

In very early days he was an advocate of centralization of heating, hot water supplies, and steam services, in very large and scattered institutions, and he was somewhat of a pioneer in the utilization of exhaust steam from private generating plants in hospitals and asylums. Under his direction, and through his encouragement of private research and development, the scope of his business was greatly enlarged, until it attained an outstanding position in the field of heating and air-conditioning.

He took a very keen interest in the Institution of Heating and Ventilating Engineers, of which he was a past-president, and also treasurer for thirty-four years. On his retirement from the latter office, he was presented with the Gold Medal of that Institution, and a William Nelson Haden Fund was instituted to provide scholarships and assistance to students training in his industry. He was also a past-president of the Association of Heating, Ventilating, and Domestic Engineering Employers, which he represented on a number of early standardization committees — notably those on pipe threads and fittings. Although the headquarters of his company eventually moved to London, he lived all his life in Wiltshire where he was a County Councillor, taking a lively interest in County and local administration and particularly in education.

Mr. Haden, whose death occurred on 28th April 1946, in his eighty-seventh year, was elected a Member of the Institution in 1904.

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