Appleby Bros. Notes and information


1. NOTES by Tim Smith

Foxbrooke Ironworks, Derbyshire, was built 1652 by George Sitwell of Renishaw Hall. [Another source says it was owned by Sitwell in 1661]. Passed to the Foley family and then to the Spencer partnership. There was a slitting mill nearby. The furnace went out of use in 1749. A site at Renishaw was purchased, in 1782, by Thomas Appleby who erected two blast furnaces. In the C19th two more blast furnaces were added. Thomas Appleby was the grandfather of the Appleby Brothers. The Renishaw Ironworks remained in the Appleby family until 1872 when it became Appleby & Company until 1892. (It was unconnected with the Appleby works in Lincolnshire). The firm became the Renishaw Iron Co Ltd and during C20th was taken over by Tube Investments Ltd.

C J Appleby was born in 1828. His father was James Appleby, son of Thomas Appleby. C J Appleby was trained at the Renishaw Ironworks before moving to Manchester to finish his training at the Atlas Works of Sharp Roberts & Company and elsewhere. Aged 22 he went to Russia, becoming an engineer for the Russian Railways then under construction.

When Charles James Appleby returned from Russia he set up in business in London in partnership with his brother, T H Appleby. Their works, from 1858, were in Emerson Street, Southwark. They took out several patents and made an early form of concrete mixer. Castings were supplied to the company from the Renishaw Ironworks.
In 1866 they set up a branch in Leicester managed by Joseph Jessup, which’ traded as J Jessup & Son for over 30 years.
In-. 1886 the London branch was moved to East Greenwich when the association with the Renishaw Ironworks was broken.
The firm was re-organised in 1897-8 when the Jessup subsidiary achieved equal status and the company became Jessop & Appleby Bros (Leicester & London) Ltd. Control seems to have passed to Vickers Son & Maxim Ltd around this time.
In 1907 Appleby acquired the Glasgow Electric Crane & Hoist Co, which had been established jointly by Vickers and Beardmore. In 1908 they acquired the Temperley Transporters Co Ltd and became the Appleby Crane & Transporter Co Ltd with manufacturing concentrated at Leicester.
By 1910 the company were in difficulties. Vickers foreclosed on their debenture holding and the crane business went to Errol’s. Greenwich works were closed.

Appleby Brothers produced an annual catalogue entitled “Appleby’s Handbook of Machinery”. It lists a very wide range of products including steam engines, cranes of every shape and size, brick-making machinery, pile drivers, pumps, and even a steam locomotive. It is not at all clear how many of these products were actually manufactured by Appleby Brothers. There is some suggestion that some could be supplied but they were manufactured elsewhere. This has been suggested, for example, of the locomotive as only one is known to have been supplied. This was the 2’8″ gauge locomotive “Edith” supplied to Robert Campbell of Farringdon in 1871. Cranes seem to have been their most important product. The company exhibited steam travelling cranes at the Paris Exhibition of 1867 and at the Vienna Exhibition of 1873.
Appleby Brothers had offices in the City, at 69 King William Street until 1863, then at 30 Gracechurch Street. The City address is not listed in directories after 1866.
An Appleby Brothers single cylinder horizontal steam engine survives at the former Sarson’s Vinegar Works in Southwark and a similar product from Jessop and Appleby is preserved at Forncett St Mary, Norfolk.

John S Brownlie, “Railway Steam Cranes”, 1973
J W Lowe, “British Steam Locomotive Builders”, 1975
Appleby’s Handbook of Machinery for the years 1863, 1869, 1877 & 1895
[These are in the Science Reference Library]
Kelly’s Post Office Directories for London
Frank Nixon, “Industrial Archaeology of Derbyshire”, 1969
Philip Riden, “A Gazetteer of Charcoal-fired Blast Furnaces in Great
Britain in use since 1660”, 1993
“Griffiths’ Guide to the Iron Trade of Great Britain”, 1873
(Reprint 1967)
These notes thanks to Tim Smith
24 November 1993

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One thought on “Appleby Bros. Notes and information”

  1. There is an 1869 25 hp horizontal steam engine in the Tokomaru Steam Museum in Tokomaru,, New Zealand. It drove the winch on the Patent slipway in Evans Bay Wellington from 1873 to 1972.

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