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British Industrial History

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Henry Neild Bickerton

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Henry Neild Bickerton (c1856-1929) of the National Gas Engine Co and Mirrlees, Bickerton and Day

1857 Born the son of Samuel Bickerton, Cotton Spinner, and his wife Elizabeth

1861 Living at King Street, Oldham: Elizabeth Bickerton (age 45 born Oldham) and her children Agnes Bickerton (age 18 born Oldham); Hannah H. Bickerton (age 16 born Oldham); Mary J. Bickerton (age 15 born Oldham); Richard Bickerton (age 9 born Oldham); Frances Bickerton (age 5 born Oldham); and Henry N. Bickerton (age 3 born Oldham).[1]

1871 Living at 70 Lower West Street, Oldham: Samuel Bickerton (age 50 born Oldham), Cotton Spinner employing 62 men and 7 women. With his children Agnes Bickerton (age 28 born Oldham); Richard Bickerton (age 19 born Oldham); Francis Bickerton (age 15 born Oldham); and Henry N. Bickerton (age 13 born Oldham). One servant.[2]

1895 Married Alice Cooper

1911 Living at Brentwood, Marple, Cheshire: Henry Neild Bickerton (age 53 born Oldham), Managing Director - Gas and Oil Engineer. With his wife Alice Cooper Bickerton (age 39 born Manchester) and their daughter Elizabeth Nield Bickerton (age 15 born Ashton-under-Lyne). Two visitors and four servants.[3]

1929 October 6th. Died. Probate to Charles Day, Engineer, Alice Cooper Bickerton, Widow, Henry Cooper Bickerton and Alfred Bickerton Balmford, Engineers.

1929 Obituary [4]

HENRY NIELD BICKERTON was the founder and managing director of the National Gas Engine Company of Ashton-under-Lyne.

He served his apprenticeship with his uncle, Mr. Joseph Bickerton, of Oldham, manufacturer of printing machinery.

After completing his apprenticeship, Mr. Bickerton commenced a small bossiness of his own. He began experimenting with internal-combustion engines and in 1879, when 23 years of age, produced a two-cycle gas-engine of which a considerable number were sold although at that time the small steam-engine was generally in use.

Later he designed and constructed a four-cycle gas-engine, and reduced the cost of manufacture. This net with great success, and in 1890 he founded the National Gas Engine Company at a factory formerly used by Isaac Boulton.

The firm progressed under his direction, and the works now occupy thirty acres of land and employ over 1,000 people.

In 1906, Mr. Bickerton won the Royal Agricultural Society's Gold Medal for his suction gas-producers. He was also responsible for the development of the penny-in-the-slot gas-meter which is still used all over the country.

In 1907, in association with Mr. Charles Day, he formed the new firm of Messrs. Mirrlees, Bickerton, and Day, with works at Hazel Grove, near Stockport, acquiring the business from Messrs. Mirrless, Watson and Company of Glasgow.

He continued the manufacture of heavy-oil engines, and up to the time of his death took a deep interest in the firm's progress.

He was born in Oldham, and became a Member of the Institution in 1903. During the Summer Meeting of the Institution in 1929, though in failing health, he invited members to his place of residence, Thornycroft Hall, near Crewe.

Mr. Bickerton died on 6th October 1929, at the age of 73.

1929 Obituary [5]

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