Image ID: 09155
Courtesy of Abbott & Co. (Newark) Ltd.
Newark on Trent
Founded by Thomas Abbott (a native of the Nottinghamshire village of Lowdham) in 1870 the company became the first business to take on the manufacture of steam boilers in Newark. At that time the business was located between Lincoln Street and Northgate, and it was not until 1884 that they moved across the railway line to their present three acre site off Beacon Hill. Steam engines, of course, provided the motive power behind Britain's massive economic growth in the 19th century, and Abbott's boilers found a ready market wherever steam engines were in use: charging up and down the country's rail network on high speed express trains, powering ships of the Royal Navy, and helping to turn the wheels of industry in hundreds of factories across the land. Under these conditions Abbott's prospered, with the factory in full-time work and an office open in Walbrook Street, London. In 1886, however, only two years after the move to their enlarged premises off Beacon Hill, the Newark Advertiser reported 'The failure of a Newark engineer 'when Thomas Abbott's business appeared to be in trouble. Mr Abbott attributed the collapse to bad trade, over-stocking, and losses made on a patent draining machine. All, however, was not lost. Whilst no report of the meeting of the company's creditors can be found in the newspaper, it would appear that, with only a relatively small shortfall between the value of Abbott's assets and his liabilities, his friends in Newark clubbed together and made good the deficit. The business continued to operate with apparently no loss or break in production. A year after the bankruptcy, however, Abbott's works manager of 16 years left to set up a boiler manufactory on his own account. (His name was Alfred Farrar, and with new premises constructed off Northgate beside the River Trent, Farrar's boiler works traded successfully in Newark for many years before becoming a subsidiary of the Swiss company, Hoval). In 1898 Abbott's became a private limited liability company with Thomas Abbott, J.C. Wright and George Asbury as its first directors. The 1890s saw a broadening of the company's business with new contracts being won from the Admiralty to supply 100 'Pinnace' and 'Cutter 'boilers for the new breed of steam driven warships. Other prestigious commissions followed and, in 1901, the Newark Advertiser newspaper included a lengthy account of the company's most far flung commission to date as an Abbott boiler was sent off to Africa to power a steamship in Tanzania. Christened the 'Chauncy Maples 'the steamship was commissioned by British missionaries operating amongst communities who lived along the shores of the 350 mile long Lake Nyasa. The ship was to be manufactured in England, but transported to Africa in pieces where it would be re-assembled in situ on the lakeside. Whilst the ship itself cost
Date: 1890 - 1910
Organisation Reference: NCCE003115