Henry Walker & Sons Ltd

Suppliers of heating apparatus

Henry Walker & Son were a Newcastle-based heating, ventilation and sanitary engineers, founded by Henry Walker (b. Sheffield, 1818–1893). 1 His father had been 'an ironfounder, stove and grate manufacturer' at the Percy Ironworks, Newcastle, in the 1830s. 2

After managing a locomotive works, Walker joined Walker, Emley & Beall, marble, granite and slate workers in Gateshead and Newcastle. 3 As 'Walker & Emley' from 1876 they traded as ‘ironmongers, ironfounders and marble merchants ... at 42–44 Westgate Road, Gallowgate and Neville Street’, Newcastle as well as 10 Bothwell Street, Glasgow. 4 In 1883, they installed heating in St James Congregational Church, Newcastle, 5 but in 1885, Walker left to form a company 6 with his son, John George Walker (1848–1935). 7 When the Walkers converted 55 Westgate Road into showrooms the following year, they preserved the historic Georgian interiors, and invited architectural delegates to view them in 1925. 8

Walkers provided the heating for Oban Board School (1890) and St Andrew’s Church, Spennymoor (1896), 9 ran their own ironworks in Gallowgate, and sold hearths, lawnmowers, lamps, tiles, and ‘Bowes Patent Well Fires’. 10 In 1908, the firm installed heating and water closets in Ford Castle for a wealthy mine-owner, 11 and also worked on ‘low pressure hot water heating’ for St Margaret’s Church Institute, Durham (1912), 12 and Dundee College of Education’s demonstration school (1913). 13 Plans also show proposed work at Craster Tower, Northumberland (1919), 14 and St Nicholas Cathedral, Newcastle (1925). 15 One source credits Walkers with inventing the pneumatic money-delivery or pressurised tubular ‘cash railway’ system for retail premises, but this requires further verification. 16

Notes:

1: English Census 1861, www.ancestry.co.uk, [accessed 22 September 2012]; Newcastle Weekly Courant, 18 November 1893, pp. 3, 4.

2: Newcastle Weekly Courant, 18 November 1893, pp. 3, 4; 'The North of England', The Engineer, 17 November 1893, p. 477–8.

3: London Gazette, 1 September 1876, p. 4840.

4: London Gazette, 1 September 1876, p. 4840; 16 October 1885, p. 4789.

5: Brian Roberts and Frank J. Ferris, The Warming and Ventilating of Victorian and Edwardian Churches, Surrey and Bristol: C.I.B.S.E. Heritage Group, 2006 and 2012, Section 2.3, p. 21, and Appendix 1, Early Church Heating in 'The Builder', p. 4, both at Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers Website, www.hevac-heritage.org, [accessed 22 September 2012].

6: London Gazette, 16 October 1885, p. 4798.

7: England & Wales Christening Records, 1530–1906, www.ancestry.co.uk, [accessed 22 September 2012]; London Gazette, 19 November 1935, p. 7369.

8: John Mears, Susan Maughan and Mike Tilley, '55/57 Westgate Road, from Mansion House ... to Art House', History of Newcastle Arts Centre, 1996 and 2008; 'Henry Walker & Son, Invitation Card, 1925', Digital Image, both at www.newcastle-arts-centre.co.uk/55_57_history.htm, [accessed 22 September 2012].

9: Glasgow Herald, 11 June 1890, p. 14; Tudhoe Grange St Andrew Parish Records, Ref. No. EP/TuG 4/36, Plan of ... heating apparatus, 2 December 1896, Durham County Record Office Catalogue, www.durhamrecordoffice.org.uk, [accessed 22 September 2012].

10: Newcastle Weekly Courant, 3 March 1894, p. 1; 5 May 1894, p. 1; 26 August 1899, p. 1.

11: 'Work at Ford Castle', 1908, NRO559.1K; Ford Castle, Hot Water system, NRO559.1N; Ford Castle, Water Apparatus, (held at Berwick upon Tweed Record Office), Tomorrow's History, History Website, Newcastle Libraries, www.tomorrows-history.com, accessed 22 September 2012].

12: [Architect William H.] Wood Plans and Drawings, Ref. No. WOD/1/14/59, Durham St Maragaret Church Institute, Plans for heating installation, 2 April 1912, Durham University Library, www.dur.ac.uk, [accessed 22 September 2012].

13: Dundee College of Education, Plans Series, Ref. Nos. RU 565/11/13–19, Demonstration School plans, steam heating, 10 January 1913, Archive Services, University of Dundee, www.dundee.ac.uk, [accessed 22 September 2012].

14: Craster Family Records, No. ZCR/M/79, Heating plans, Craster Tower, 1919, Northumberland County Archives Service Catalogue, at www.experiencewoodhorn.com/catalogue/, [accessed 22 September 2012].

15: Newcastle City Council, Plans Collection, D.NCP/16/6/1, Proposed radiators, boiler, 1925; D.NCP/16/6/2, Proposed heating, St Nicholas Cathedral, 1925, Tyne & Wear Archives Service, www.twmuseums.org.uk/tyne-and-wear-archives.html, [accessed 22 September 2012].

16: John Mears, Susan Maughan and Mike Tilley, '55/57 Westgate Road, from Mansion House ... to Art House', History of Newcastle Arts Centre, 1996 and 2008, www.newcastle-arts-centre.co.uk/55_57_history.htm, [accessed 22 September 2012]; Walker's obituary does not mention this invention; Dedicated website 'Cash Railways', www.ids.u-net.com/cash (accessed 22 September 2012) by Andrew Buxton, recognised authority, does not credit Walker with any innovation, merely notes existence of Mears, Maughan and Tilley's claims of 1996.