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George Kynoch (1834-1891)

Pedrocut

Master Barmmie
George Kynoch (1834-1891): Part 3 Final, (1877-1901)

In 1884 George Kynoch and Co became a limited company with George Kynoch remaining as the Managing Director with salary of £500 a year, he received £60,000 in cash, £10,000 in preference shares and £40,000 in ordinary shares. It is at this point that he probably moved to Hamstead Hall. Also in this year there is an entry in Kelly's Directory showing that as well as the Lion Works at Witton, Kynoch's have a depot in Whittall Street, where the 1859 explosion took place.

It is said that George Kynoch lived in great style at Hamstead Hall, and became president of Aston Villa Football Club. In 1886 he was elected Conservative MP for Aston Manor, and at an obviously staged celebration, from his carriage he had the cheek to lecture to the crowd...

...Gladstone had ignored his experienced friends, but he had consulted with men who were well known to be friends of assassins, and also, according to a report which he had seen, the accuracy of which he had no reason to question, falling in with the views of the American Fenian party. When they found this sort of thing going on it was time for every honest Englishman to speak out and remove effectually from power one who would had used his influence so perniciously against the welfare of this country. They were many questions which required dealing with before the Irish question. He should ask Parliament to consider what could be done to prevent the falling off in trade in England. That was the justice he wanted for England. Ireland could wait.

(He also proclaimed, during his canvassing, that if the Ulstermen rebel against Home Rule he would give then 10,000 riles and 2,000,000 rounds of ammunition...no doubt using the money raised from arms sales to the Fenians!)

After the first year of the Limited Company things began to go wrong and in March 1887 a Government contract for 10,000,000 cartridges from 1885, is rejected 20% being defective due to inferior workmanship. Pressure built on George Kynoch to resign, and he did so in October 1888 siting ill-health.

ODNB says "He himself, by then a very sick man, left England for South Africa in 1890. He died in comparative poverty at Johannesburg, on 28 February 1891, and was buried there the following month."

This is incorrect according to the report of his death in March 1901. In the November 1898, he went to South Africa, where he obtained special concessions from the Transvaal Government in respect of the introduction and manufacture of arms and ammunition. He also occupied himself wth various enterprises in the gold mining industry. Early last year (1890) his effects at Hamstead Hall were sold, along with founding shares in Kynoch's. His last occupation was said to be as a storekeeper selling guns and ammunition in Johannesburg.

George Kynoch had not resigned as an MP and in February 1890 at Aston Liberal meeting the Chair said those who had read the Daily Post would have seen a great deal said about George Kynoch from Aston...Mr Kynoch was enjoying himself in Joberg. It was a great thing for Mr Kynoch to have MP after his name, and he for one would never believe he would come back to Aston until someone had seen him in the Manor...Kynoch was disgusting a lot of people, and the more he disgusted the better for the Liberals...instead of protesting against him they should give him a vote of thanks... the next best thing to having a Liberal MP was having the worst possible Tory member.

The Conservatives regretted the continued absence of Kynoch and his lengthened stay in South Africa practically disenfranchised the borough...he had not written to explain...two unofficial letters had been published which had said he hoped to be back for the opening of the Parliamentry session.

March 1890 in the house it was noted he had been away 18 months, since November 1888, and for some months new he would not recover from illness. From Mrs Kynoch we learn that on the 16 May last (1890) he took his passage to return, but was detained by litigation concerning some mines in which he was interested. He again tried in September but internal cancer eventually caused his death. There was a great deal of sympathy in Aston for Mrs Kynoch.

It is really a sad story that so many should suffer in the production of articles, that in themselves, would inflict suffering on others. In respect of the poor souls that lie in Witton Cemetery the beginnings of Kynoch's cannot be glorified, but Kynoch's went on and in September 1900 Lloyd George says "it should not be called Kynoch as the Chamberlain family have £150,000 in shares
 

Vivienne14

Super Moderator
Staff member
Hi Pedro. The George Kynoch thread was only yesterday reformed from other threads as part of the tidying up of all the Kynoch threads. So that was probably why it was previously difficult to find it via a search.

I've now copied your useful information to this thread. ( I've left a copy on the 'Infamous' thread too).

Viv.
 

pottypainter

proper brummie kid
I imagine am am far too late to contribute to this thread as I've just joined. But I am fascinated by the earlierquestions about Gertrude Helen Kynoch. I am related to William Charles Dudley Smith who married Gertrude. His parents were well known, and well off, in Birmingham, being residents of Park Hill House Hamstead, which no longer exisits. Wm divorced Gertrude for adultery, but her co-respondent lover died during the proceedings. William had to pay maintenance though, despite the fault being hers, as was the rule then. I believe she did join the circus but she was a horsewoman (perhaps that was the attraction) and she took up with a groom. They had no children. William who came from a printing and engraving background, bucked the trend and became a farmer, which is probably how he met Helen, with the connection to horses.
 

Vivienne14

Super Moderator
Staff member
Welcome pottypainter. Never too late to contribute ! All comments welcome as it builds a history for us all to enjoy. What an interesting life Gertrude must have led. Thanks for contributing. Viv.
 

Pedrocut

Master Barmmie
Sad news from March 1848...death, after a few days illness, 19 year old Jane Louisa, youngest daughter of Mr Richard Lovekin, boat builder of Morville St.
RIP

[edit....replaced on the Canal Boats Tread]
 
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Coming to this George Kynoch thread well after the main discussion has taken place. I have found the past contributions interesting but also confusing and occasionally unsettling. George Kynoch was to play a big part in the Dooley family history in the second half of the 19th. C . I am a direct descendant of that family, my great grandmother being the sister of Mrs. McNab of percussion cap fame at the Witton Ammunition works. I would like to separate fact from fiction if anyone is interested in re-opening the discussion.
 

Pedrocut

Master Barmmie
Coming to this George Kynoch thread well after the main discussion has taken place. I have found the past contributions interesting but also confusing and occasionally unsettling. George Kynoch was to play a big part in the Dooley family history in the second half of the 19th. C . I am a direct descendant of that family, my great grandmother being the sister of Mrs. McNab of percussion cap fame at the Witton Ammunition works. I would like to separate fact from fiction if anyone is interested in re-opening the discussion.
Please do.
 

ChrisM

Super Moderator
Staff member
Yes, please do so, Peter. Mrs. McNab is a legendary figure in Kynoch history and it would be fascinating to know more about her.

Chris
 

Pedrocut

Master Barmmie
Mrs McNab......an article from the Birmingham Post of May 1962. Interesting that GK is again mentioned as the founder of the Company, and also that he subcontracted work out.

A great reputation for safety from 1872 to 1902 ?


547F525C-1E81-4ED2-93B9-3BE0198580E3.jpeg
 

Pedrocut

Master Barmmie
There was an Inquest in November 1886 concerning a fatal explosion at Kynoch. Mrs McNab appeared as a witness and was described as a primer. She had known the deceased for about 7 years, and described him as a steady sober man who understood his business, and that she and George Kynoch had every confidence in him.
 
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pottypainter

proper brummie kid
I've just been alerted to this thread by email. Probably not of great interest but my family (Smith, Printers of Birmingham) have touched on the Kynoch family in that Gertrude Helen Kynoch married William Charles Dudley Smith in 1889, a member of my family and they lived at Hamstead Mill. He divorced her due to her adultery, but her lover died before the decree absolute. William still had to pay her maintenance despite the fault being on her side and there were no children. I understand that Gertrude became a circus performer, an equestrian and finally "married" or set up home with Fred Kidd, a groom. Another crossing of paths was when another member of the family, before 1869, gave up his tenancy of Broomfield House, Handsworth and the tenant who followed was George Kynoch.
 
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With regard to George Kynoch - I have not seen reference made (although I may have missed it) by anyone to the obituary in Birmingham Faces and Places Volume III No. 12 April 1st, 1891 page 176f.

When George arrived in South Africa he seemed to have been quite determined to make to recover his position. There are copious newspaper reports of complaints from his constituents in Aston Manor that he was becoming financially successful but neglecting his duties as an MP. Birmingham archives have a copy of a letter sent from Pretoria July 12 1889 which the Aston Manor Conservative association distributed by DW Probert the Hon Sec saying The committee have much pleasure in sending you a copy of the following interesting and important letter recently received. In it George begins "I regret that I shall not be able to come home in time for this session, I am glad however to see that the government are going on successfully. Had there been any doubt of this, I should either have given up my seat, or sacrificed everything and come home. I have no intention of giving up Aston Manor, without another contest. He assures them that "My health is much improved" and goes on to state "The information I have gained will be very valuable to the working classes in England, and I trust I may return at an early day, and give them the full benefit of all I know.
"I have sent some good orders home for the Birmingham Gun Trade and Cartridge makers since I came here.
The Boers have plenty of money now and they are fond of rifles and cartridges. I do not think there is any fear of war, but they are wiser than the English, they wish to have something in store, now they have the means to pay for them.
There is a hint of other opportunities he has in mind when later in the letter he observes "The mines are being steadily developed, and new ones found out. building goes on apace, almost as if no depression existed. All this means work for people at home, and chances for those who venture abroad. "
I will return to the Dooley family connection to all this on my next visit.
 

Pedrocut

Master Barmmie
With regard to George Kynoch - I have not seen reference made (although I may have missed it) by anyone to the obituary in Birmingham Faces and Places Volume III No. 12 April 1st, 1891 page 176f.

When George arrived in South Africa he seemed to have been quite determined to make to recover his position. There are copious newspaper reports of complaints from his constituents in Aston Manor that he was becoming financially successful but neglecting his duties as an MP. Birmingham archives have a copy of a letter sent from Pretoria July 12 1889 which the Aston Manor Conservative association distributed by DW Probert the Hon Sec saying The committee have much pleasure in sending you a copy of the following interesting and important letter recently received. In it George begins "I regret that I shall not be able to come home in time for this session, I am glad however to see that the government are going on successfully. Had there been any doubt of this, I should either have given up my seat, or sacrificed everything and come home. I have no intention of giving up Aston Manor, without another contest. He assures them that "My health is much improved" and goes on to state "The information I have gained will be very valuable to the working classes in England, and I trust I may return at an early day, and give them the full benefit of all I know.
"I have sent some good orders home for the Birmingham Gun Trade and Cartridge makers since I came here.
The Boers have plenty of money now and they are fond of rifles and cartridges. I do not think there is any fear of war, but they are wiser than the English, they wish to have something in store, now they have the means to pay for them.
There is a hint of other opportunities he has in mind when later in the letter he observes "The mines are being steadily developed, and new ones found out. building goes on apace, almost as if no depression existed. All this means work for people at home, and chances for those who venture abroad. "
I will return to the Dooley family connection to all this on my next visit.
Thanks for the further information on George Kynoch’s time in South Africa
 

Pedrocut

Master Barmmie
The newspaper report from the Birmingham Post of 1962 (Post 50) may have been taken from the ICI book, Under Five Flags, written to celebrate the centenary of Kynoch (1862-1962).

Mrs S McNab is said to have been made a forewomen in 1872. As she retired in 1902 with 40 yrs service it would suggest that she joined in 1862 at the age of 12, and would therefore be one of the first employees at Witton.

Taking the period 1862 to 1872, just before Mrs McNab is said to have been a forewoman, the safety record at Kynoch was pretty dismal. After a fatal explosion in October 1866, the Post states, “the frequency of explosions at this manufactory would certainly at first sight lead to the supposition that there was probably some culpable want of precautions.” (At this time it was reported that there were 60 employed at Witton)

After an explosion just prior to the tragic disaster of 1870, the Post reports that it was the 6th within a short period of time.

At the Inquest in January 1871, following disaster in late 1870, George Kynoch was called to appear. One of questions asked was about contract work and he informed the Coroner that there was very little at Witton. This would bring into question the assertion that Mrs McNab may have been self employed.

Also below from 1871 is a report of a 14 year old boy who was working at Kynoch, charged with gross carelessness. Fined £5 or two months hard labour.

C3CBF838-7651-4FCC-BF3E-C22BC1634C66.jpeg
 

Pedrocut

Master Barmmie
In June 1886 the Birmingham and Aston Chronicle make critical comment on George Kynoch’s speech at a Conservative meeting. They highlight his dislike of the Irish.

Post 40 describes how he mistakenly supplied guns and ammunition to the Fenians.

6DA5E7BD-0929-49C8-97DC-AF07AEB56C5E.jpegCEEDF345-9CF4-4DF1-BB82-6CDC9ECA4E60.jpeg
 
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