Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Thomas Horsley

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Thomas Horsley (1825-1885)

of King's Newton, near Derby.

1885 Obituary [1]

THOMAS HORSLEY was born in Derby on 25th May 1825, and died at King's Newton, near Derby, on 21st November 1885, at the age of sixty.

After being educated at Derby, he was articled in 1840 as pupil to Mr. Josiah Kearsley, locomotive engineer of the Midland Railway at Derby ; and was on the first engine that ran from Derby to Nottingham.

When out of his articles, he assisted for a short time his father, who was engineer and manager of the Alfreton Iron Works, Derbyshire.

About 1845 he was appointed engineer and manager of the Milton Iron Works, Yorkshire, where at that time, besides good iron for the Sheffield steel makers, large engines were also manufactured; he there designed and made many large pumping engines for lead and coal mines, drainage engines for fens, rolling engines and various other engines. The hydraulic presses were made there for lifting the Conway tubular bridge, which were afterwards used also for lifting one end of the Menai tubular bridge.

In 1854 he was appointed to erect the Norton Iron Works, near Stockton-on-Tees ; and on their completion the first large bell for the Westminster clock, called Big Ben, and one of the quarter bells were cast there.

About 1863 he was appointed engineer and manager of the Alfreton Iron Works, where he remained until he retired altogether from professional work in 1868.

He became a Member of the Institution in 1868.

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