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Tangyes of Smethwick

helenguimaraes

proper brummie kid
My grandfather was under the impression that his grandfather, James Mountford, worked for Tangyes as a engineer. The 1871 census shows that he was an engineer machinist employing 2 men and a boy. Does any one know if there is any way I could check past employees of tangyes?
 

lencops

gone but not forgotten


Aerial view of Cornwall Works, Smethwick, in 1909

The Tangye brothers established their Cornwall Works in Smethwick in 1864. A huge range of products was quickly developed. It was stated that ‘there are perhaps no other works in the kingdom so largely employed upon so great a variety of specialities as the Cornwall Works of Messrs Tangye Bros.’
Tangye’s machinery was used to install Cleopatra’s Needle in London (1878). Tangye’s equipment was also used to construct Sydney Harbour Bridge, Australia (1932), sections of the Birmingham’s ‘Spaghetti Junction’ motorway interchange (1972) and London’s Thames Barrier (1974-1984). This may be of interest to you, a list of workers i think would be hard to find but i could be wrong, other Forum friends may be able to help. Len.
 
W

Wendy

Guest
Welcome Helen, I think as Len says it would be very difficult to trace as the company was massive and records this early would probably not survive. It may be worth asking for a trade directory look up.

The Tangyes also helped to launch Brunels Great Eastern with their hydraulic jacks. Brunel tried for three months to launch his ship then he bought around twelve jacks from the Tangeyes. The moto then was they launched his ship and he launched their company.

The Tangyes are buried at Key Hill cemetery.......I had to get that one in!
 

helenguimaraes

proper brummie kid
Very interesting - I just read Wendy's wonderful story about the Tangyes brothers and their history - where Richard worked in a small screw manufacturer in Brass House Passage. It just so happens that James Mountford's father, George, lived in Brass House Passage and was an engineer too. How big was Brass House Passage? I get the impression from my dad's c1950 AtoZ of Birmingham and West Midlands that it was a tiny little street?
 

berniew

master brummie
in the late 1970 s i contracted at a company called Tangye Epco they were based at Tomey Road sparkhill and i believe were the remnants of Tangyes ,they manufactured hydraulic equipment Bernie
 

mikejee

Super Moderator
Staff member
The following from Whites 1873 directory may be of interest:

Mountford James, engineer, millwright and machinist, Bridge street mills
Mountford John, engineer, machinist and tool maker, Brasshouse passage ; h 58 Heath street, Dudley road

Bridge street Mills are in Bridge St, off Broad st, but I am not clear exactly where in the street.

In Kellys 1876

Mountford John, engineer, machinist. &; tool maker (established 1820), 22 Brasshouse passage, Broad street
Mountfbrd James, engineer, 9 Clement street

No home address is given for either in 1876
Neither are listed in 1880.

The attached map shows Brasshouse passage (in red) in 1890. It was narrow, but a fair length.

mike
 
W

Wendy

Guest
How interesting there must be a connection with Brasshouse Passage which is where the Brasshouse Language school is now!
I think that years ago many engineers worked together and swapped ideas so I am sure there was a connection with the Tangyes. I remember my Dad who was an engineer often spoke of talking to people like Joseph Bamford and a gentleman named Newey fron Newey and Ayer (I think thats how its spelt) This would have been in the 50's I think these men shared ideas and technology for the greater good..........how sad most of this is lost in the Birmingham now.:(
 

helenguimaraes

proper brummie kid
Yes this is very interesting - the Kellys reference for John Mountford 22 Brass House Pass was the census address for George Mountford's place of abode 1841 and 1851! John and James were his sons. (along with 10 other kids!) Thanks for the map, Mikejee! It certainly puts things in a better perspective. Yes it definately semmed to be a close little community of engineers etc!

Thanks for your contributions
 

Fluteplayeruk

New Member
Hi Helen - don't know if this will reach you. My Dad worked for Tangyes, as did his father. He would have been employed around 1913 when he was 15. ha left and went to Birmingham Non-Ferrous where he was a chargehand and met my mother , who was a core-maker for munitions. Then he got called up just before the end of the WW 1 and went to France with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. It is coincidental that you are living in the New Forest - as do we - Dibden Purlieu. I must do some more research. I came across this site when I was verifying the slogan "Tangyes launched The Great Eastern and The Great Eastern launched Tangyes" My Dad told me that when i was just a schoolboy. It is good to know that here a thread (no pun!) is being kept alive of that era
 

daverock

master brummie
Hi
I came across a Tangye engine in the middle of a small town in South Africa called Knysna, it was used in the mining industry there.
Some are still in use over there even now.
Cheers
Dave
 

helenguimaraes

proper brummie kid
Hi Fluteplayeruk! It's a small world! I'm from DP too! I live in Dibden and my folks still live in DP. You'll probably tell me next that you live next door to them!! I'm afraid I haven't done any research for AGES, but I was trying to find out any info I could about Tangyes as my GGfather was supposed to have worked there.
 
W

Wendy

Guest
I have a lovely little book entitled The growth of a great industry. "One and All" an autobiography of Richard Tangye of the Cornwall Works Birmingham. It is dated 1889. I must scan through it and see what I can find.
 

Fluteplayeruk

New Member
Thanks Daverock - I know Sparkbrook well ! I had a small cafe there on the Stratford Road - The Sunrise - two doors away from Vince DeMatteo - the famous Barber !!
 

Fluteplayeruk

New Member
Hi Helen - not so much small as a tiny world !! - I see you were born in Halesowen - we lived in Grange Crescent for a while - 1986 for about six months - So you are in Dibden now - mail me - [email protected] and we'll discover the proximity of neighbourliness! I can remember some anecdotal evidence my Dad talked about when he went to work on a lathe there _ I guess around 1913/14 - his father got him the job and he went on most machines on the shop floor. He ended up on a Radial driller and had a complicated job to do which was priced at a halfpenny !(piece work) by a time and motion guy who didn't like him - it was the catalyst for his departure and he eventually went to the Birmingham Non-Ferrous company and became a foreman and also met my Mother who was a core maker for World War One shells
 

Bill Parker

master brummie
I worked on some of the former Tangye ground......

https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/4960987428/in/photostream

https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/4960391801/in/photostream/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/5038198533/in/photostream/

The last image was taken in the mid 60s by me as were the ones of DAC. I would assume much of the wallwork was new when DAC opened their third foundry but if you look closely at some of the brickwork irs possible to see new brickwork and also areas where windows and doors shave been bricked up. Presumably DAC used as much of the original structure as possible. There was a stainless steel stockholder next door, R.G. Brown (Stainless Steel) Ltd, there structure was also a former Tanyge building. Cornwall Road was, of course, named after the celebrated brothers.

Apart from making jacks they were famed for their gas engines, these ran of twon gas and would be used to drive machinery via a belts and pullys ect. There are many of thes engines in various museums. My father tipped me off about Tangyes being demolished so i went down to photograph this landmark befire it all went, ironic that a few years later I would be working on the same site. My father was also and engineer as he was assistant works manager at A.E Grifiths who had works in Booth St and Rolfe St, I seem to remember him saying that the Tangyes did not seem to move with the times and slowly lost work, this seems to certainly be the case as it closed during one of Britains boom times.
 

Ipomea

New Member
My grandfather was under the impression that his grandfather, James Mountford, worked for Tangyes as a engineer. The 1871 census shows that he was an engineer machinist employing 2 men and a boy. Does any one know if there is any way I could check past employees of tangyes?
Hi, my GG grandfather is James Mountford. If you are still using B'ham History Forum, I would love to hear what you have discovered so far about our shared ancestry.
 

kmt123

master brummie
George was my 4th great uncle i have a paper clipping of him with sons if anyone wants this let me know, they were george mountford and sons
 
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