Industrial Heritage Online

Industrial Heritage Online

Cole, Marchent & Morley - Prospect Works

Cole, Marchent & Morley (CM&M) built stationary steam engines of between 100 and 3000 h.p., providing motive power for textile mills and tinplate rolling mills, also producing condensing plant for use in power stations. The works situated on Wakefield Road, Bradford consisted of several detached buildings, some purpose built whilst others were converted from a former textile mill. The main offices contained commercial departments on the ground floor with the drawing office above accommodating twelve draughtsmen and four tracers. The adjacent stores building contained an overhead half ton capacity (508 kg ) hand operated crane and a secure store area for engine components. Across the yard was a boiler house with a Lancashire boiler and Green's Economiser (see WYK02372) providing power to the 100 h.p. engine which drove the works line-shafting. The main machine shop was in a modified former textile mill with the first and second storey wooden floors removed to facilitate the movement of heavy castings by overhead crane. Alongside the machine shop was the paint shop for final finishing of the product, this building a former beam-engine house for the old mill. The machine shop had a 15 ton capacity (15240 kg) overhead travelling crane and measured 215' (65.5m) long. The building contained lathes (up to 8'' (203mm) centres), milling machines, grinding machines and cylinder boring machines for handling cylinders up to 8' (2.43m) diameter all powered by overhead line-shafting with fast and loose pulleys. A 'Lang' lathe installed in 1918 could take a 26' (7.9m) piece and was used for turning piston rods. Beyond was a big faceplate lathe with a 12' (3.6m) diameter face, in front of this was a deep pit with tool stand able to turn flywheels of up to 18' (5.4m) diameter. A further deep pit in the centre of the machine shop could handle flywheels of 32' (9.75m) diameter. The erecting shop was purpose built around 1890 consisting of a steel framed, wooden clad, high building 150' (45.7m) long and 50' (15.2m) wide with a 25 ton (25401kg) capacity overhead crane. The three largest engineering machines were located in this building probably to take advantage of the higher capacity crane here. One of the machines, a planer occupied a length of 40' (12.1m) and was said in 1926 to be the largest planing machine in Yorkshire. Alongside it was a large horizontal borer for boring cylinders of 73'' (1.85m) diameter. Nearby was the 'Old Foundry' building, used as such for many years, but around 1911 the company acquired the business of Thornton & Crebbin, a respected foundry in Hammerton Street, about half a mile away from the main works. The 'Old Foundry' became a store for castings awaiting machining. Alongside the works was Windsor Street where the pattern store was used for storing wooden casting patterns. The companies first Piston Drop Valve steam engine was ordered in 1903 for a flax mill in Belfast. Between 1904-18 a total of 117 Piston Drop Valve engines were built and 7 Corliss valve engines with a total horsepower of 74,065. The company also built diesel engines from 1911 to the design of German diesel expert Hugo Guldner. In May 1920 CM&M issued a catalogue for central exhaust, or Uniflow, steam engines. These engines exhausted their steam through exhaust ports cast half way down the cylinder bore, the advantage was an improved thermodynamic efficiency, however the writing was on the wall for the reciprocating piston steam engine, with the electric drive or steam turbine being the future, however the company still had it's power station condenser output to keep it in business.

The business started in 1848 by two partners, Cole and Marchent, both millwrights. Little is known of their early work but by 1875 they were producing large engines of 54'' (1.37m) stroke. In 1889 Herbert William Morley (1866-1925) joined the company, aged 23. The son of Alderman John Limber Morley who had been Mayor of Bradford 1887-8. Herbert had been apprenticed to locomotive manufacturer Kitson & Co of Leeds, and also gained valuable experience at well known mill engine manufacturer Hick, Hargreaves & Co Ltd of Bolton, Lancashire. In 1890 Alderman Morley bought Cole & Marchent, putting his son in charge of the business, now Cole, Marchent & Morley. In the 1890's CM&M were producing around ten Corliss valve engines per year. 1899 CM&M were incorporated and became a limited liability company. Around 1903 Herbert Morley patented the Piston Drop Valve Trip Mechanism and from that moment on the majority of CM&M's engine output used Piston Drop Valves in their designs. By 1913 Herbert Morley's health was deteriorating and he took the decision to leave the company, however he acted as an independent consulting engineer in Bradford for several years afterwards. The Managing Director was R.S. Brailsford along with two Directors, one of which was W.W. Spooner who would go on to form his own company of Spooner Engineering in Ilkley, West Yorkshire producing food processing machinery. By 1914 it was reported that CM&M employed 500 workers. For many years most of CM&M's engines were produced for the textile mills and tinplate rolling mills. Few mills were built after 1924 with more closing down, in 1927 fifty mills closed in Bradford alone. The tinplate rolling mills of South Wales were suffering a severe slump with most on short time working or even closing. Many industries were converting to electric drive or steam turbine. The company struggled on by diversifying into tramway brakes and continued with producing power station condensers, however the company was forced into appointing a Receiver to administer the company for three years, leading to assets being sold off piecemeal and CM&M finally closing in 1928. Two and a quarter tons (2286kg) of CM&M engine drawings were presented to the new Bradford Industrial Museum in Eccleshill, Bradford.

The Last Years of Mill Engine Building, International Stationary Steam Engine Society, Arnold Throp 1991.,_Marchent_and_Morley 1914 Who's Who of Engineering.

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Key Words :- steam engine manufacturers foundry engineers
Linked Sites :- ,
Address :- Wakefield Road, Bradford, West Yorkshire
Grid Ref :- SE 17100 32390
Co-ordinates :- Lat - 53.787552 , Long - -1.741936
Local Authority :- City of Bradford
Pre 1974 County :- Yorkshire - West Riding
Site Condition :- Site cleared - no above ground remains visible
Site Status :- Site demolished or no longer extant
Site Dates :- 1848 - 1928