Richard Merryweather
Margaret Snaith
Moses Merryweather
Sarah Edward Taylor
James Compton Merryweather


Family Links

James Compton Merryweather

  • Christened: 5 May 1840, St Martin in the Field, London

bullet  General Notes:

Mr. JAMES Compton MERRYWEATHER, who for the last thirty years(written
1901) has been head of the firm, and who now occupies the position of
Governor of the Company and Chairman of the Board of Directors, was the
second son of Mr. Moses Merryweather. After completing his education at
Chatham House,Ramsgate, his mechanical training began as already
mentioned, at the Wolverton Locomotive Works of the London and North
'Western Railway Company. He then passed a short time with Messrs.
McClashan and Co., the well-known coppersmiths, in which firm he became a
partner the experience he gained here was of much service to him when,
leaving McClashan's owing to the increase in the business at Long Acre,
and the indications of failing health which were early observed in Mr.
Richard, Mr. J. C. Merryweather joined his father at Long Acre in 1864.
He was at once actively engaged not only in conducting the coppersmith's
department which was opened at Lambeth, where plant for breweries, dyers,
and tallow melters was constructed, but also, in conjunction with
Richard, in introducing steam fire engines. The part of the work which
Mr. James undertook was carried on with much vigor and with great
success. After a few years the death of Mr. Merryweather, senior., and
the retirement of Mr. Richard, placed James Compton Merryweather at the
head of the firm, and from that time to this the business has had his
constant and unremitting attention. Its work in connection with the
manufacture of steam fire engines is recorded fully elsewhere; here we
may mention that owing to the means taken by Mr. J. C. Merryweather first
to have good engines and then to make them widely known they are now to
be found in nearly every city of importance in this country, in all the
British Colonies, and in very many towns in Europe and America. As
manufacturers of floating fire engines the firm has also been especially
successful. Many other departments have also been added which were not
contemplated in the old Long Acre days. There was always a certain amount
of work done in connection with water supply apart from the provision of
water for fire protection, but in 1884 Mr. Merryweather decided that this
branch should be specially developed, and now his firm is almost as well
known as advisers and contractors for water supply for country mansions
and villages as it is for fire protective machinery. Some ten years ago
Messrs. Merryweather took up the work of well sinking and artesian well
boring, and they now employ a large staff of skilled men always engaged
upon contracts in various parts of the United Kingdom. They have devoted
much attention to improvements in water-raising appliances, as the patent
records show. Perhaps the best known of their recent inventions is the
Hatfield Pump, so named because the first was erected at the residence of
Lord Salisbury. It is a pump of remarkable efficiency, arranged to be
driven by an electric motor, by a steam, gas, or oil engine, or by a
turbine or windmill. The literature of the subject has received
attention, and one paper by Mr. Gordon Harris, A.M.I.C. E who, under Mr.
Merryweather, is in charge of the water supply department, was awarded a
premium at the Society of Engineers. The firm was early in the field in
electric pumping. They proved that the system could be used with
considerable economy, and also most conveniently, in country houses.
Electric lighting has also been taken up. The attention of Mr. J. C.
Merryweather some years ago was directed to the fact that in connection
with many electric installations there was a great element of danger from
fire, and it occurred to him that no one could better arrange perfectly
safe installations than those who were constantly in the habit of dealing
with fire risks. This, therefore, became another department of the
business, which has lately received considerable attention.
The foregoing do not by any means include all the various kinds of work
connected with mechanical engineering which in a practical manner have
been taken up during recent years by Messrs. Merryweather and Sons. The
development of steam tramway engines was more especially connected with
the name of Mr. Henry Merryweather, but after his death Mr. J C.
Merryweather carried it on with energy until, with the introduction of
other forms of motive power, the steam tramway engine in England became
very nearly a thing of the past. The electric tramway with a central
line, associated with the name of Mr. Gordon, was worked out practically
in Messrs. Merryweather and Sons' premises at Greenwich, and they
provided the Tandem Telpher at Glynde for Lord Hampden. They were also
concerned with the manufacture of some of the first gold amalgamating
machinery, and they constructed several hydraulic machines for gold
mining and for use in the ruby mines in Burmah. A casual glance through
their books results in the discovery of entries relating to the
construction of machinery for bottling soda water, machinery for making
cricket hats, self-starting tramway gear, ice boats, safety rafts, tanks
for camel transport, steel timber carriers for use ,in Rangoon, a boiler
for the vulcanization of rubber, Dulier's smoke consuming apparatus for
steam boilers, dye extractors, 'steam dredging apparatus, gas
compressing. apparatus, an electric clock, appliances for flushing
sewers, and a petrocycle. Most of these appliances were not only
constructed in their works, but were designed in the offices of the firm.
We do not suppose there is any other engineering firm in the kingdom in
which an idea can be more easily worked up and incarnated in the form of
a machine than it can in Messrs. Merryweathers'. Their staff have for so
many years. been in the habit of dealing with requisitions for all sorts
of unusual appliances that it is hard to mention anything in connection
with which there is not at least some little practical knowledge
Mr. J. C. Merryweather is a member of the Institution of Mechanical
Engineers and a Commander of the Imperial Order of the Medijieh; the
latter Honour was conferred upon him by his Highness the Khedive of Egypt
in recognition of his services in arranging the means of protection from
fire in the Khedivial palaces. He still maintains constant attendance at
Greenwich in the mornings and at Long Acre in the afternoons, and keeps
in daily touch with every department. At 11.45 every morning he presides
over a meeting of the directors, at which the more important business of
the day is settled, thus maintaining as intimate an acquaintance with all
details as he possessed in the days, NOW long since passed, when it was
possible for every paper of importance to go through his own hands. Of
him, as the living and active head of the firm, it is impossible for the
present writer to speak with the freedom which can be used concerning the
members of his family who have passed away ; nor is it necessary to say a
word of the personal characteristics of one who is widely known
throughout the country as one of the ablest and most genial as well as
the most successful of English business men. -
IN March -1892, a modification, which was more apparent than real, took
place in the constitution of the house. For reasons chiefly of a family
nature, the only other consideration being the wish to give the heads of
departments and others an interest in the firm, it was decided to
register it as a Limited Liability Company. The whole of the capital
remained in the hands of Mr. James Compton Merryweather and his family
and staff, none being offered for public subscription. No change was made
in the executive, the business remained in precisely the same hands as it
had been in hitherto, not a single person either going out of or coming
into it.
The directors named in the Articles of Association were J Compton
Merryweather, Chairman and Governor, to whom, by the Articles of
Association, special powers were reserved; C. J. W. Jakeman, E Pascoe
Williams, Leonard Miller, and Alfred Essex and Arthur Dale was appointed
Secretary by the Governor. C.J. W Jakernan, who, next to Mr. J C.
Merryweather, has been for the longest time connected with the firm is
the member of the Board in charge of the mechanical departments.
James was Author of Two books "Fire Brigade Handbook" and "Fire
Protection of Mansions"

Table of Contents | Surnames | Name List

This Web Site was Created 2 Mar 2012 with Legacy 7.5 from Millennia