Hawks family

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Hawks
Current region  England
Members

Connected members

Estate(s) Pembroke Square, Kensington
One of the largest and most powerful British industrial dynasties of the Industrial Revolution. It owned several companies in the North and the City of London, from which it exported worldwide, and employed over 2000 persons.

The Hawks family (c.1750 – 1889) was one of the largest and most powerful British dynasties to arise during the British Industrial Revolution. It owned several companies in the North and the City of London - including Hawks and Co., Hawks, Crawshay, and Stanley, and Hawks, Crawshay and Sons - all of which featured the Hawks name in the company name[1] and had iron manufacture and engineering as their main enterprises.

The Hawks company reached the apogee of its power in the early Victorian period, during which it employed over 2000 persons, and its reputation for engineering and bridge building was worldwide. Its Gateshead factories were termed New Deptford and New Woolwich after the location of two of its warehouses on the River Thames, Deptford and Woolwich. The company owned its own ships, which it used to transport its manufacture. It built the striking High Level Bridge across the River Tyne that was opened by Queen Victoria in 1849, bridges as far afield as Constantinople and India, and lighthouses in France. It produced ironclad warships and other materials for the Royal Navy to exponential profits during the Napoleonic Wars and completed several large contracts for the East India Company. It also produced the first iron boat, the Vulcan, in 1821.

Several members of the Hawks family were involved in merchant banking, several in Freemasonry, and several in the advocacy of Whig free-trade politics. Notable members included Sir Robert Shafto Hawks (1768-1840); Joseph Hawks DL JP (1791-1873), merchant banker and Sheriff of Newcastle; George Hawks (1801-1863), Freemason and Grand Master of the Grand Cross Chapter of the Holy Temple of Jerusalem (Knights Templar), and Mayor of Gateshead; Mary Hawks (b.1829), who was the wife of Richard Clement Moody, the founder of British Columbia; and Colonel Richard Stanley Hawks Moody (1854-1930).

The family developed areas of West London, including Pembroke Square, Kensington.

The High Level Bridge (left) built by the Hawks dynasty

The poet Joseph Skipsey worked for the Hawks company, at their Gateshead ironworks, from 1859 to 1863, until one of his children was killed in a fatal accident at the works in 1863. The job was obtained for Skipsey by James Thomas Clephan, the editor of the Gateshead Observer.

Foundation[edit]

The Hawks company was established by William Hawks (1708–1755), who worked for Sir Ambrose Crowley, Sheriff of London. In the late 1740s, Hawks established a set of workshops on waste ground along the river at Gateshead. When Hawks died - at Gateshead on 23 February 1755 - the works passed to the eldest son, William Hawks (bap. 1730, d. 1810), who, with his first wife, Elizabeth Dixon, established the Hawks' industrial empire. William (d.1810) formed a partnership with Thomas Longridge (bap. 1751, d. 1803), in 1770, and shortly afterwards acquired a plating forge at Beamish, County Durham, which was the first of four separate metalworking sites operated by Hawks and Longridge along Beamish Burn.[2]

In the 1780s, a forge at Lumley, in County Durham, and slitting and rolling mills, on the River Blyth in Northumberland, were acquired by the company.[2]

The inauguration of the High Level Bridge by HM Queen Victoria on 28 September 1849

By 1790, the works at Gateshead consisted of a substantial industrial complex that produced steel, anchors, heavy chains, steam-engine components, and a great diversity of smaller iron wares. The supply of ironware to the Board of Admiralty became a speciality. The firm's products were transported by the Gordon and Stanley families, the latter of whom had links to the old ordnance industry of the Weald and the naval yards of the River Thames and the Medway.[2] The family also owned the Bedlington Ironworks during this period.[2]

Height: 1810 - 1880[edit]

On 4 December 1810, the estate and works of William Hawks passed to his surviving sons: George Hawks (1766–1820) of Blackheath, Sir Robert Shafto Hawks (1768–1840), and John Hawks (1770–1830).[2]

The Hawks Company built Hawks Cottages in the 1830s in the Saltmeadows district of Gateshead for its workers.[3]

The Hawks works covered 44 acres by the end of the 1830s, and employed between 800 and 900 persons.[2] At the time of the visit of the British Association to Newcastle in 1863, it employed 1500 people, and owned 92 marine engines and 58 land engines, which together provided 5000 horse power, and 33 puddling furnaces.[4]

The family's New Greenwich ironworks at Gateshead was the town's largest employer until its closure, in mysterious circumstances, in 1889.[2]

The poet Joseph Skipsey worked for the Hawks company, at their Gateshead ironworks, from 1859 to 1863, until one of his children was killed in a fatal accident at the works in 1863. The job was obtained for Skipsey by James Thomas Clephan, the editor of the Gateshead Observer.[5]

The Hawks company produced numerous ironclad warships for the Royal Navy and the East India Company.

Works[edit]

The Vulcan[edit]

The first iron boat to be built, which was a rowing boat that was named the Vulcan, was constructed, in 1821, at the Hawks's ironworks. When Sir Robert Shafto Hawks was informed of the purpose for which Samuel Tyne, the boat's inventor, had purchased iron from the Hawks company, he proffered all of the iron required for the task free of charge. Sir Robert arranged for cannons to be fired at the launch of the boat, which subsequently won races against wooden boats of the same capacity.[6][7]

However, on Ascension Day, 1826, when, laden with 12 persons including the rowers of the Vulcan, a boat accompanying the Mayor's barge down the river was hit by a steam vessel, two of the Vulcan's rowers were killed, and the Vulcan was subsequently abandoned.[8][9]

Products[edit]

At around the year 1842, the Hawks company erected a cast iron bridge at York, which spans the river Ouse in one arch of 172 feet in width. They company also reconstructed the Rowland Burdon iron bridge at Sunderland, which consists of a single arch of a width of 237 feet. The company also constructed the wrought iron gates for the Northumberland Docks; the iron lighthouses at Gunfleet, Harwich, and Calais; and the iron pier at Madras.[10] The company also built bridges in Constantinople.[11][12] Sir Robert Hawks financed the construction of St John's Church, Gateshead Fell.[13] The company built the High Level Bridge over the Tyne, which consisted of 5050 tons of iron. George Hawks, the Mayor of Gateshead (see below), drove in the last key of the structure on 7 June 1849.[14] The bridge was opened by Queen Victoria later that year.[2]

The carriageway level of the High Level Bridge

The company produced ironclad warships and other materials for the Royal Navy to exponential profits during the Napoleonic Wars, [15][16] and completed several large contracts for the East India Company[17] It also built paddle steamers and hydraulic dredgers.[18]

Property[edit]

The family developed also developed areas of London, including Pembroke Square, Kensington.[19]

Pembroke Square, Kensington was developed by the Hawks dynasty

Notable members[edit]

Sir Robert Shafto Hawks (1768-1840)[edit]

Robert Shafto Hawks became the director of the firm subsequent to the death of his father. He was knighted by the Prince Regent, in 1817, for his role in suppressing riots in the winter of that year.[2] Shafto Hawks was involved in Freemasonry and served as Worshipful Master of the oldest lodge in Northumberland.[20]

Shafto Hawks is commemorated in Newcastle Cathedral, and his portrait hangs in Shipley Art Gallery.

Sir Robert married Hannah Pembroke Akenhead (1766 - 1863) in 1790 and had two sons.[21] One son, William, entered the church. Sir Robert and Lady Hannah's blind son, David, was a musical prodigy who composed and published marches for military bands at 9 years of age. He later specialized in the composition of Tyrolean, Scottish, and Welsh airs. He was described as showing 'a most amazing proof of musical genius and early proficiency' when 17 years of age [22][23] and as a 'true musical genius'.[24]

George Hawks (1801-1863)[edit]

Sir Robert's nephew George Hawks (1801–1863) JP DL, of Redheugh Hall, succeeded him as head of the Hawks company. George Hawks was an advocate of free-trade, and a vehement supporter of the Whigs and Sir William Hutt MP, who was MP for Gateshead after 1841.[2] Hutt campaigned to have George Hawks knighted. Hawks's home, Redheugh Hall, became one of the organizing centres of Liberalism in the north east of England.[25][2]

George Hawks served as the first Mayor of Gateshead in 1836, and, subsequently, served in the same position again in 1848 and 1849.[2]

George Hawks was extensively involved in Freemasonry. George Hawks served as Grand Master of the Grand Cross Chapter of the Holy Temple of Jerusalem (Knights Templar).[26] He also served as Past Master of the Lodge of Newcastle upon Tyne, Deputy of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Northumberland, and a Full Affiliated Member of The Celtic Lodge of Edinburgh and Leith, No.291. Hawks was made a Freemason in Guernsey, and was later described as 'an excellent mason'.[27]

Joseph Hawks (1791-1873)[edit]

Sir Robert's nephew Joseph Hawks, JP DL, of Jesmond House, Newcastle upon Tyne, was a merchant banker who served as Sheriff of Newcastle.[28] He married Mary Elizabeth Boyd, daughter of William Boyd, merchant banker of the prominent Boyd merchant banking family[29] that founded the bank of Newcastle.[30] Mary Boyd's brother was industrialist Edward Fenwick Boyd. William Boyd was a descendant of Sir Francis Liddell,[31] the second son of Sir Thomas Liddell, 1st Baronet, whose family monopolized the government of the North of England in the 16th and 17th centuries, and his second wife, Frances Forster, previously wife of Nicholas Forster of Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland, and daughter of Sir William Chaytor of Croft.[31][32][33][34]

Mary Hawks, later Moody (b.1829)[edit]

Joseph's daughter, Mary Susannah Hawks, married Richard Clement Moody, the founder of British Columbia. Her 13 children included Josephine 'Zeffie' Moody, who married Arthur Newall,[35] son of Robert Stirling Newall, a close business associate of the Hawks family, Colonel Richard Stanley Hawks Moody, and Colonel Henry de Clervaulx Moody. Richard Clement Moody named the 400-foot hill in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, "Mary Hill" after his wife, Mary. The Royal British Columbia Museum possesses a trove of 42 letters written by Mary Moody from various colonies of the British Empire, mostly from the Colony of British Columbia (1858–66), to her mother and her sister, Emily Hawks, in England.[36][37] Mary Moody was highly literate, having been tutored in literature, penmanship, and French, and her letters have been of great interest to scholars studying the perspective of the English ruling class in the colonies of the British Empire.[38][39]

Richard Stanley Hawks Moody (1854-1930)[edit]

Colonel Richard Stanley Hawks Moody CB was a distinguished officer of the British Army.[40]

Decline[edit]

Hannah, Lady Hawks (d. 1863), the widow of Sir Robert Shafto Hawks, and her two sons sold their shares, in 1840, to George Crawshay a member of a prominent iron-making family of south Wales,. George Crawshay had been bought out of his family's iron merchanting business in London by his brother, William Crawshay II. The business developed by William Hawks had been divided between his three eldest surviving sons in 1810. When he was able to acquire the shares of Joseph Hawks, the only surviving son of George Hawks of Blackheath, he obtained a second third of the company. The Bedlington works passed eventually to a cousin of the Hawkses, Michael Longridge (1785–1853), a pioneer of railway technology, and an associate of Robert Stephenson, under whose superintendence the works became a training ground for a generation of celebrated engineers; including Sir Daniel Gooch.[2]

The dominant influence over the firm of Hawks, Crawshay & Sons in its last years was George Crawshay (1821–1896), the son of George Crawshay and his wife, Like George Hawks, George Crawshay became a considerable political figure in the north-east. However, Crawshay's management of the company was incompetent: he devoted much of his time to political pursuits and failed to modernize the company, which manufactured diverse products by diverse processes, to enable it to outcompete the newer specialist companies. The specialist companies, such as those owned by William Armstrong, 1st Baron Armstrong and the William Galloway, the nail manufacturer, flourished as the Hawks company declined.[2]

In 1889, New Greenwich was suddenly closed, and Hawks, Crawshay, and Sons was liquidated. The circumstances surrounding the closure are mysterious: all of the firm's creditors were paid in full, but every single document of the company's archive was systematically destroyed by burning.[2][41][42]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Hawks and Co, Grace's Guide to British Industrial History". Retrieved 6 December 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Hawks family
  3. ^ "The Journal, Statue of the Week, George Hawks". Retrieved 6 December 2016. 
  4. ^ The Monthly Chronicle of North Country Lore and Legend. 1887. p. 30. 
  5. ^ "Life of Tyneside pitman poet Joseph Skipsey to be celebrated –The Journal 16 March 2012". 
  6. ^ The Monthly Chronicle of North Country Lore and Legend. 1887. p. 30. 
  7. ^ The Monthly Chronicle of North Country Lore and Legend. 1887. p. 92. 
  8. ^ The Monthly Chronicle of North Country Lore and Legend. 1887. p. 30. 
  9. ^ The Monthly Chronicle of North Country Lore and Legend. 1887. p. 92. 
  10. ^ The Monthly Chronicle of North Country Lore and Legend. 1887. p. 30. 
  11. ^ Welford, Richard (1880). Monuments and Tombstones in the Church of St. Nicholas, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. p. 21. 
  12. ^ Middlebrook, S. (1950). Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Its Growth and Achievement. p. 133. 
  13. ^ "History of Low Fell, Gateshead History". Retrieved 6 December 2016. 
  14. ^ The Monthly Chronicle of North Country Lore and Legend. 1887. p. 30. 
  15. ^ Welford, Richard (1880). Monuments and Tombstones in the Church of St. Nicholas, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. p. 21. 
  16. ^ Middlebrook, S. (1950). Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Its Growth and Achievement. p. 133. 
  17. ^ The Monthly Chronicle of North Country Lore and Legend. 1887. p. 29. 
  18. ^ "The Journal, Statue of the Week, George Hawks". Retrieved 6 December 2016. 
  19. ^ Welford, Richard (1986). Survey of London: Volume 42. Kensington Square To Earl's Court: The Edwardes Estate: Pembroke Square, Pembroke Gardens and Pembroke Road area. London County Council. p. 268-282. 
  20. ^ Strachan, John (1898). Northumbrian Masonry, and the Development of the Craft in England. G. Kenning. p. 130. 
  21. ^ Skempton, A.W. (2002). A Biographical Dictionary of Civil Engineers in Great Britain and Ireland: 1500-1830. Thomas Telford. p. 306 - 308. 
  22. ^ Bath, Jo (2013). The Gateshead Book of Days. The History Press. p. January 25, 1824. 
  23. ^ Lang, A (2009). The St Mary's Story. Gateshead Council. 
  24. ^ The Monthly Chronicle of North Country Lore and Legend. 1887. p. 29. 
  25. ^ "Monument to George Hawks, Public Memorial and Sculpture Association". Retrieved 6 December 2016. 
  26. ^ "No.XIV, -April 7, 1858, Knights Templar" (PDF). p. 713. 
  27. ^ "The Celtic Lodge of Edinburgh and Leith, No.291., Minutes 1847-1850". 
  28. ^ Fordyce, T. (1866). Local Records : or, Historical Register of Remarkable Events, which have occurred in Northumberland and Durham, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and Berwick-upon-Tweed from the Earliest Period of Authentic Record to the Present Time [...] T. Fordyce, Newcastle upon Tyne. p. 172. 
  29. ^ Howard, Joseph Jackson (1893–1906). Heraldic Visitation of England and Wales. 8. p. 161-164.
  30. ^ A History of Banks, Bankers, & Banking in Northumberland, Durham, and North Yorkshire, Illustrating the Commercial Development of the North of England, from 1755 to 1894
  31. ^ a b Hylton Longstaffe, W (1852). The House of Clervaux, Its Descents and Alliances. G. Bouchier Richardson, Newcastle upon Tyne. pp. Pedigree of Chaytor. 
  32. ^ Burke, John (1852). A Visitation of the Seats and Arms of the Noblemen and Gentlemen of Great Britain, Volume 1. Colburn & Co, London. p. 60 in section ‘A Visitation of Arms’. 
  33. ^ Hutchinson, William (1787). The History and Antiquities of the County Palatine of Durham, Volume 2. S. Hodgson and Robinsons, Durham. p. Footnote to p419: ‘By the Will of Sir Tho. Liddell…’. 
  34. ^ Raine, James (1852). The History and Antiquities of North Durham, History and Pedigree of Forster Family. John Bowyer Nichols & Son, London. p. 306 - 310. 
  35. ^ "The Photographic Album of Richard Clement Moody, Royal British Columbia Museum" (PDF). 
  36. ^ "Letters of Mary Moody, Royal British Columbia Museum Archives" (PDF). Retrieved 4 July 2016. 
  37. ^ Neuman, T (1838). The London Gazette for the Year 1838, Part 2. Robert George Clarke, London. p. 1544. 
  38. ^ "Imperial Relations: Histories of family in the British Empire, Esme Cleall, Laura Ishiguro, and Emily J. Manktelow". Project Muse. Retrieved 4 July 2016. 
  39. ^ "The University of British Columbia, Records of the British Columbia Historical Association, British Columbia Historical News". British Columbia Historical Association. Retrieved 4 July 2016. 
  40. ^ "Entry for MOODY, Colonel Richard Stanley Hawks, in Who Was Who (A & C Black, Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 1920–2016)". 
  41. ^ Rennison, Robert; Scott, Austin (2008). "The Ironworks of Hawks Crawshay & Sons, Gateshead: 1748–1889". Transactions of the Newcomen Society. 78 (1). Retrieved 5 March 2017. 
  42. ^ Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council, A.W. (1998). A Short History of Gateshead. 

Further reading[edit]