Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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David Kirkaldy and Son

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of 99 Southwark Street, London, SE.

David Kirkaldy decided to develop a testing-machine to assess the mechanical properties of materials used in construction. After considerable study and development, his design of testing machine was built for him by Greenwood and Batley in Leeds, and completed in September 1865. The machine was erected in premises in The Grove, off Southwark Street, London, and public testing operations began on the 1st January, 1866.

1866 The business was established at The Grove, Southwark

By 1874 larger premises were needed, which were built at 99 Southwark Street; testing operations began there on the 1st January, 1874.

1897 Kirkaldy senior died. His son, William George Kirkaldy (1862–1914) carried on the works.

1914 Testing engineers. Tests for H. M. Government (most departments) and the principal railways. [1]

From 1914, William's widow Annie ran the works with Dr Gulliver as manager.

1923 Kirkaldy’s supervised the construction of the original Empire Stadium at Wembley.

1935 David's grandson, David W. H. Kirkaldy (1910–1992), joined the business after study at Cambridge and ran the works until his retirement in 1965.

1965 The works closed in April. It has now become a museum of materials testing; Kirkaldy's motto: "Facts not opinion" was carved above the main entrance.

See Also


Sources of Information

  • Biography of David Kirkaldy, ODNB