Leeds Engine: People: Who's Who.

Who's Who

Please note this article is currently a work in progress, the information is not currently complete.

Some of the key figures in the local engine making industry and some names with local connections who went on to be notable figures around the world.

Entries listed alphabetically by surname - All, A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z

Alcock; Edgar d- 1951
Former apprentice at the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway's Horwich Works and Assistant Works Manager at Beyer, Peacock & Co, Manchester. Applied for and was appointed to the position of Works Manager of the Hunslet Engine Co when Alexander Campbell 3rd advertised the position in 1912.

Alcock; John Frederick
Son of Edgar Alcock, managing director of the Hunslet Engine Co. After gaining a Masters Degree in Science in Cambridge he joined the firm in 1927. Took over Hunslet on the death of his father in 1951.

Alcock; Keith
Middle son of John Frederick Alcock, appointed to Joint Managing Director of Hunslet (Holdings) PLC in 1982

Alcock; Peter
Eldest son of John Frederick Alcock, appointed to Group Chief Executive of Hunslet (Holdings) PLC in 1982

Balmforth; Jeremiah d- 1858
One of the early crane makers in partnership from 1820 with David Smith (father of Thomas Smith) and joined by Jeremiah Booth (father of Joseph Booth) between 1833 and 1847. Father of William Balmforth.

Balmforth; William
On the death of his father Jeremiah Balmforth in 1858 William Balmforth took his place in the crane making partnership that established the Smiths and Booths firms. Left in 1861 and his share was bought out by Thomas Smith. Formed his own company at the Peel Ings Foundry. This was passed to his sons who carried on as Balmforth Brothers.

Blenkinsop; John b- 1783 d- 1831
Manager at John Charles Brandling's Middleton Colliery who oversaw the introduction of steam locomotives and the patentee of the rack system used.
Biography of John Blenkinsop.

Blackburn; George William b- 2/10/1859 d- 10/11/1915
Apprentice of Kitson & Co 1874 - 1878 and subsequently a draughtsman there until 1884. Went to Thomas Green (likely poached for his steam tram work). Promoted to Assistant Manager in 1887 and Works Manager in 1892. Father of plane manufacturer Robert Blackburn.

Blackburn; Robert b- 26/3/1885 d- 10/9/1955
Apprentice of Thomas Green where his father George William Blackburn worked. Founded Blackburn Aeroplanes in 1908. Also given a directorship of Thomas Green in 1934.

Booth; Jeremiah
Father of crane maker Joseph Booth. Made cranes in partnership with Jeremiah Balmforth and David Smith (father of Thomas Smith) before leaving to establish the Union Foundry in 1847.

Booth; Joseph
Son of crane maker Jeremiah Booth, took his father's place running the Union Foundry in 1855, the company then becoming Joseph Booth & Bros.

Campbell; Alexander
Works Foreman of E.B.Wilson's Railway Foundry. On the collapse of that firm in 1858 he went into business as general engineers with Charles Wardle, John DIckenson and Robert Broddy on adjacent land previously owned by Viscount Boyne. This would go on to become the Boyne Engine Works of Manning Wardle that would take on the designs and goodwill of Wilson's Railway Foundry.

Campbell; Alexander III b- 1870
Son of James Campbell. Became Works Manager at the Hunslet Engine Works after the death of his uncle George in 1890. Took his father's place on his death in 1905 with his brother Robert stepping up to Works Manager.

Campbell; George d- 1890
Son of Alexander Campbell. Assisted brother, James Campbell in the running of the Hunslet Engine Co.

Campbell; Gordon b- 1880
Son of James Campbell, worked in the drawing office at the Hunslet Engine Works.

Campbell; James d- 14/10/1905
Son of Alexander Campbell. Brought in as Manager of the Hunslet Engine Co, becoming sole owner in 1871. Assisted by brother George.

Campbell; Robert b- 1877
Son of James Campbell, manager at the Hunslet Engine Works. Became Works Manager on the death of his father in 1905.

Campbell; William George b- 1874
Son of James Campbell, manager at the Hunslet Engine Works.

Clarke; John b- 6/2/1825
Apprentice at R.&W.Hawthorn, Newcastle. Joined Kitson, Thompson & Hewitson and was appointed works manager in 1851. Left in 1860 to become a partner in Hudswell, Clarke & Co.

Clayton; William (Dr) b- 24/2/1822
Leeds surgeon who provided financial backing in establishing Hudswell, Clarke & Co in 1860. His son William Wikeley Clayton and grandson William Wikeley Ward Clayton became directors.

Clayton; William Wikeley d- 11/1901
Eldest son of Hudswell Clarke & Co founding partner Dr William Clayton. Joined the works as an apprentice in 1866.

Clayton; William Wikeley Ward
Son of Hudswell, Clarke & Co director William Wikeley Clayton, joined the firm as an apprentice in 1904

Craven; John Chester b- 1813 d- 1887
Apprentice at the Round Foundry until 1837. Went on to London firm Maudslays for a year. Returned to Leeds and joined Todd, Kitson & Laird. Worked at the Railway Foundry for a time under the Shepherd & Todd partnership as a Works Manager. Became a partner with James Fenton Jnr in the firm Fenton & Craven who took over the Railway Foundry when Shepherd & Todd split. Served under James Fenton Jnr as Locomotive Foreman on the Manchester & Leeds Railway. In 1847 he became locomotive superintendent for the London, Brighton & South Coast Railway, 22 years later forming the Victoria Docks Engine Works.

Eyth; Eduard Friedrich Maximilian b- 6/5/1836 d- 25/8/1906
German engineer employed by John Fowler & Co, most notably worked as an overseas representative and published stories of his adventures overseas with the company.
Biography of Max Eyth (PDF)



Fenton; James Jnr b- 1815 d- 1863
Son of the partner in Fenton, Murray & Wood. Became a partner with John Chester Craven in the firm Fenton & Craven at the Railway Foundry in Hunslet. When E.B.Wilson took over the Railway Foundry in 1846 Fenton stayed on as Works Manager.

Fenton; James Snr
Colliery owner and financial partner in Fenton, Murray & Wood.

Fowler; John Jr b- 1826 d- 1864
Former apprentice of Gilkes, Wilson, Hopkins & Co, Darlington. Agricultural steam pioneer and founder of John Fowler & Co, Steam Plough Works.

John Fowler Memorial Lecture (PDF)


Fowler; Robert b- 1825 d- 1888
Brother of John Fowler, took the firm on his death in 1864.

Fowler; Robert Henry b - 1850 d- 1919
Nephew of John Fowler, became chairman of his firm.

Fowler; William b- 1828 d- 9/1905
Brother of John Fowler, became Works Manager.

Fox; Samson b- 1838 d- 1903
Apprentice at Smith, Beacock & Tannett's Victoria Foundry (the former Round Foundry) from 1852. Established Leeds Forge Co in 1874, largely making marine boilers and railway vehicles. With large demand from America he established Fox Solid Pressed Steel Co in Chicago in 1889, moving to a bigger plant in Pittsburg in 1896. This was sold in 1899 and became the Pressed Steel Car Co.

Fry; Albert
Of the Bristol chocolate making family. Formed a partnership in 1850 with John Fowler to develop agricultural steam engines. Fowler left in 1856 to form his own firm.

Green; Thomas b- 18/11/1810 d- 4/1892
Founder of Thomas Green & Son Ltd, Smithfield Ironworks.

Green; Thomas Willoughby b- 1860 d- 1940
Grandson of Thomas Green, became a director of the firm he established.

Green; Willoughby b- 1837 d- 1869
Son of Thomas Green, became a director of the firm he established.

Greig; David
Partner in John Fowler & Co and responsible for many of the company's designs.

Hewitson; William Watson b- 1815 d- 5/1863
Worked at engine makers Robert Stephenson & Co in Newcastle and Fenton, Murray & Jackson in Leeds. Joined Kitson & Co as manager and principle draughtsman, becoming a partner in 1842. Financial partner of John Fowler & Co.

Hudswell; William J. (Rev)
Pastor of Salem Congregational Church. Served an apprenticeship at Kitson, Thompson & Hewitson. Entered the drawing office and became a leading draftsman. Son William Shillito Hudswell was a partner in Hudswell, Clarke & Co.

Hudswell; William Shilliton
Son of Rev William J. Hudswell of Kitson, Thompson & Hewitson. Partner in establishing Hudswell, Clarke & Co.

Isles; Job b- 1/11/1842 d- 1919
Clerk at crane maker Thomas Smith around 1862 - 1864, bookkeeper at Springfield Ironworks around 1868 - 1869. Established the Prospect Works with Thomas Whitham and Ben Johnson in 1869, moving to the Prospect Foundry 2 - 3 years later. The firm made cranes under the Isles of Stanningley name.

Jackson; Murray
Son of the partner in Fenton, Murray & Jackson. Became works manager of Eyscher, Wyss & Co in Zurich, Switzerland. Later became chief engineer of the Royal Danube Navigation.

Jackson; Richard
Son in law of Matthew Murray, replaced David Wood at the Round Foundry on his death in 1820 to form Fenton, Murray & Jackson.

Joy; David b- 3/3/1825 d- 14/3/1903
Son of Edward Joy of Leeds Oil Mills, apprentice at the Round Foundry and went on to the Railway Foundry where he quickly progressed to Acting Chief Draftsman and was appointed Chief Draftsman on E.B.Wilson's return to the Railway Foundry in 1846. Designed the Joy Valve gear and Wilson's Jenny Lind class of locomotives. He became locomotive superintendent for a number of railways, most notably the Oxford, Worcester & Wolverhampton Railway (a company that used a number of Wilson locomotives) between 1853 and 1856. He went on to become a consulting engineer and was involved with several projects. He carried out a lot of work on organs blowers, including those fitted in Leeds Town Hall, Crystal Palace and Buckingham Palace. Much of the work on these was undertaken by Carret, Marshall & Co at the Sun Foundry in Leeds.
Extracts of David Joy's diarys on steamindex.com
The Institution of Mechanical Engineer's archive of David Joy's engineering drawings
More information, including obituary on Graces Guide

Kitson; James b- 10/1807 d- 1885
Partner in Todd, Kitson & Laird and subsequently Kitson & Laird, Kitson, Thompson & Hewitson and Kitson & Co.

Laird; David
Partner establishing the first Railway Foundry in Hunslet in 1837 with James Kitson and Charles Todd in Todd, Kitson & Laird.

Leather; John Towlerton b- 1804 d- 7/5/1889
Civil engineer and colliery owner. Founded the Hunslet Engine Co. He intended to pass the Hunslet Engine Co on to his son, Arthur, but brought in James Campbell (son of Manning Wardle Manager Alexander Campbell) to run the firm when it became apparent that Arthur wasn't up to the task.
More details and obituary on Graces Guide

Le Prince; Louis
Early pioneer of motion pictures as carried out in Leeds.

Longbottom; Luke
Son of the engineer who erected a Round Foundry engine at Charlesworth’s Colliery, Rothwell in 1776. Worked at the Round Foundry and went on to Kitson, Thompson & Hewitson in 1843. Later became locomotive superintendent of the North Staffordshire Railway.

Manning; John d- 1874
Joined Alexander Campbell and Charles Wardle of the Boyne Engine Works to form the firm Manning Wardle in 1859.

McLaren; Henry b- 1854 d- 1929
With brother John, founded J.&H. McLaren.

McLaren; John b- 1850 d- 1920
With brother Henry, founded J.&H. McLaren.

Murray; Matthew b- 1765 d- 20/2/1826
Moved from Newcastle to Leeds in 1788. Was employed by Flax Mill owner John Marshall at Scotland Mill in Adel near Leeds. A larger flax mill was later established in Holbeck, Leeds. In 1795 Matthew Murray set an engine works adjacent to Marshall's mill in partnership with David Wood and James Fenton as Fenton, Murray & Wood.



Owston; William Albert b- 1864 d- 1917
Married Annie Green, Granddaughter of Thomas Green, became a director of the firm he established.

Peacock; Richard b- 9/4/1820 d- 3/5/1889
Apprentice at the Round Foundry. At the age of only 21 became locomotive superintendent of the Leeds and Selby Railway (who had bought Round Foundry locomotives). In 1854 he joined Charles Beyer to form Beyer, Peacock & Co at the Gorton Foundry near Manchester.
More details and obituary on Graces Guide
Below - Video by Anthony Dawson about Richard Peacock.



Penrose; William Naylor b- 1860 d- 1941
Stepson of Thomas Green, married Green's granddaughter Martha Green and became a director of the firm he established.

Rodgers; Joseph
Joined Hudswell, Clarke & Co as a director in 1866. Rodgers developed designs of pulleys that saw the firm become the world's largest producer of wrought iron pulleys and from 1870 to 1879 the company adopted the name Hudswell, Clarke & Rodgers.

Roe; Charles Henry b- 22/5/1887 d- 1965
Apprentice at North Eastern Railway's York Carriage Works, later a draughtsman at Charles Robert's wagon works near Wakefield. Moved to Leeds in 1913 to work for Trolleybus pioneers Railless Electric Traction. Established his own coach building firm adjacent to RET in 1917 and in 1921 moved to a new work at Crossgates.

Shepherd; John b- 26/5/1811
Partner with Charles Todd in the firm Shepherd & Todd at the Railway Foundry in Hunslet.

Smeaton; John b- 8/6/1724 d- 28/10/1792
Born in Austhorpe, Leeds. Trained as a Mathematical Instrument Maker but became a Civil Engineer, works included Eddystone Lighthouse and a number of canals. Worked on a number of mills and mines and designed a number of engines based on the Newcommen principle. Would feature more prominently in this site, however his engines were assembled on site from parts constructed largely at the Carron Ironworks in Scotland.

Smith; David
Early Leeds crane maker in partnership from 1820 with Jeremiah Balmforth. Jeremiah Booth (father of Joseph Booth) joined the partnership between 1833 and 1847. Succeeded by his son Thomas Smith in 1859. Thomas Smith took over the company in 1861.

Smith; Thomas
In 1859 Thomas Smith took his father David Smith's place in the crane making firm he had established with Jeremiah Balmforth in 1820. Soon fell out with partner William Balmforth (son of Jeremiah) and bought out his share of the company. The company then became known as Thomas Smith & Sons.

Thompson; Issac
Became a partner with James Kitson and William Watson Hewitson in Kitson, Thompson & Hewitson in 1842 on departure of Kitson's previous partners Charles Todd and David Laird.

Todd; Charles
Round Foundry apprentice who went on to be a partner in Todd, Kitson & Laird. Established the Railway Foundry with John Shepherd as Shepherd & Todd. Formed his own firm at the Sun Foundry which was sold on to Carrett & Marshall due to failing health in 1852, died shortly afterwards.

Wardle; Charles b- 25/4/1815 d- 1888
Son of the Vicar of Beeston. Apprentice at Matthew Murray's Round Foundry. Worked at Milton Ironworks in Barnsley. Admitted to the Institute of Mechanical Engineers in 1856 by which time he was working at E.B.Wilson's Railway Foundry. Founding partner of the Boyne Engine Works in 1858 with Alexander Campbell, John Dickenson and Robert Boddy on the collapse of the Railway Foundry. Joined by John Manning on departure of Dickenson and Boddy in 1859 to form the firm Manning Wardle.

Wardle; Edwin d- 3/12/1919
Son of Charles Wardle, ran Manning Wardle with his father after the deaths of the other partners in the firm in the 1870s.

Weatherburn; Robert d- 2/1/1919 Served part of an apprenticeship with Kitson, Thompson & Hewitson and completed with the North Eastern Railway. Worked at Laird's Birkenhead shipyard, the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway and returned to the NER and Kitsons, representing the firm in parts of Britain and for a time in Russia and superintending the erection of Kitson locomotives for the Alsace - Lorraine Railways in Metz. Went on to the Midland Railway's Locomotive Department, becoming District Locomotive Superintendent at Leicester and London until retirement in 1905.
More information on steamindex.com

Wilson; Edward Brown b- 1818 d- 1874
Of the Hull ship owning family behind Wilson Line, on departure of Charles Todd he became a partner with John Shepherd operating the Railway Foundry in Hunslet under the E.B.Wilson name. He departed for a couple of years, in which time the works were run by Fenton & Craven, but took over the works on his return.

Wood; David d- 1820
Partner with Matthew Murray and James Fenton in Fenton, Murray & Wood at the Round Foundry.

Page last modified: 13 July 2021

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