Industrial Heritage Online

Industrial Heritage Online

Hewitt & Kellett - Bowling Boiler Works

Manufacturers of Lancashire and marine steam boilers. Hewitt & Kellett purchased the boiler works from the Bowing Iron Company Ltd on 29th July 1899.
The boiler works was previously owned and operated by The Bowling Iron Company (see WYK00149) and was located within the main iron works complex and connected to the GNR rail network. The sale probably due to The Bowling Iron Company going into liquidation in 1898 before being reorganised as The Bowling Company in 1903.
The Iron Works manufactured 'Best Yorkshire' wrought iron with boiler plate being their great speciality with plates up to 9' 6'' (2.9m) wide and from 9' to 12' long (2.7m to 3.6m) with 100 to 120 tons (101,605 kg to 121926 kg) per week produced which gave Hewitt & Kellett a ready source of high quality boiler plate.
One of the Lancashire boilers produced by Hewitt & Kellett was supplied to James Nutter's Bancroft Cotton Mill in Barnoldswick, Lancashire around 1919, (see LAN00012) and at 30' (9.1m) long and 9' (2.7m) diameter was one of the largest Lancashire boilers produced.

In the 1918 Directory of Manufacturers in Engineering and Allied Trades, Hewitt and Kellett were listed as Lancashire and marine boiler makers, under war work, and having 50 males employed.

The sale agreement for the boiler works still survives and is worth recording here albeit with much legal preamble and jargon removed;

The Memorandum of Agreement dated 29th July 1899 between Bowling Iron Company Ltd (the vendors) and John Hewitt, boilermaker of 17 Gladstone Street, Bradford and Gathorne Kellett, boilermaker of 22 Lapage Street, Bradford (the purchasers). The purchasers agree to purchase from the vendors the plot of land with the boiler shop and other buildings described in the schedule and plan, for the price of £4850 together with the fixed plant and machinery mentioned in the schedule.
The purchasers shall pay upon signing a deposit of £350, then £500 on 31st December 1900. A further payment of £500 on 31st December 1901 then the remainder of the money on 31st december 1902. The purchasers to pay interest on the balance of the purchase money for the time being unpaid at a rate of £4 per centum per annum from 1st January 1900 by equal quarter payments starting 1st April 1900.
The purchasers shall be entitled to possession of the premises from the first day of October next.
The purchase price includes;
One engine, one boiler, shafting, fan, cranes, furnaces and pipes. Two plate bending machines; one small drilling machine; one steam riveter; one power riveter; one edge planing machine; one hydraulic flanging press and pump; one radial drilling machine.
If the purchasers default on a payment or interest charge for a period of 30 days, the vendor retains the right to enter the premises and take possession and repossess with any deposit or moneys already paid being forfeit. The vendors then being at liberty to sell the property by public auction or private contract, any shortfall in the sale price to be made good by the present purchasers (Hewitt and Kellett).
A further stipulation in the schedule was;
The purchasers shall not so long as the Low Moor Iron Co Ltd, the Farnley Iron Co Ltd, Taylor Brothers Company of Clarence Iron and Steel works, Leeds and the Monksbridge Iron and Steel Co Ltd or any of them shall carry on the business of manufacturing Best Yorkshire or any other finished wrought iron, use the property hereby agreed to be sold or permit the same to be used for the making of such iron.

The eventual failure of the business 35 years later came about because of dissensions between the controlling shareholders, with the decision to sell the business eventually being taken. Hewitt & Kellett were members of the Association of Shell Boiler Makers. The Association was a pool of boilermakers who paid into a scheme with the object being to set the price of boilers in that area.
Hewitt & Kellett's intended purchaser was not in the Association, and had no intention of joining, the Association being then hostile to the sale, being against all the agreed rules of not selling to a non-member, insisted that they would purchase the company instead. The sale being agreed between the Association and Hewitt & Kellett on 28th February 1934 and the agreement to close down the business. It was agreed that John Hewitt, who owned the land the business stood on, would not use or permit the use of the land for the manufacture, sale or repair of boilers for a period of 20 years. Hewitt & Kellett were paid £3500 and John Hewitt £3500 by the Association.
In the presence of an Association representative all the companies machinery, drawings and paperwork was destroyed.

BIC/6/465; BIC/6/447; BIC/13/28 archive records West Yorkshire Archives Service - Bradford
Item 6 in the High Court case, see also the Judgement

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Key Words :- boiler manufacture
Address :- Parry Lane/Neville Road, Bowling, Bradford, West Yorkshire
Grid Ref :- SE 18142 32039
Co-ordinates :- Lat - 53.784362 , Long - -1.726142
Local Authority :- City of Bradford
Pre 1974 County :- Yorkshire - West Riding
Site Condition :- Site refurbished to industrial / commercial use
Site Status :- Site extant - Protected status unknown