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Frederick York Wolseley: 1837 - 1899

Frederick Wolesley
Frederick Wolesley

Frederick York Wolseley was born at Golden Bridge House, County Dublin, Ireland on 16th, March, 1837. He went to live in Australia and reached Melbourne in 1854, he was in his early teens. This is where is ideas of a mechanical shearing engine came to fruition after showing it to the interested parties.

He then formed the Wolseley Sheep shearing company in 1887. He left for England and transferred his business to Alma Street in Aston Manor. He had returned to Australia resigning from the company but the intervention of his foreman Herbert Austin (the founder of The Austin Motor Company). He later returned to England having a serious health problem from which he died aged 80 January 8th 1899 and is buried in London.

They moved into the premises at Alma Street in 1897 next door to Ralph Martindale’s. Kelly's Directory listed the company as Wolseley Sheep Shearing Machine Co Ltd and their work title Sheep Shearing Machine and Cycle Components, at the premises Sydney Works Alma Street Aston Manor. The Wolseley Company were the employers of Herbert Austin who later rose to become the Managing Director of the company and by 1896 under Austin's direction produced the first Wolseley Motor Car. In 1895 the first Wolseley experimental car in fact was designed and built by Herbert Austin and the rest of the story became one of the biggest manufactures in Birmingham.

Wolesley

The Wolseley name disappeared when the last car was made in 1975. From Ireland to Australia and finally to Aston, Birmingham, England. The Wolseley name became part of our heritage. From Norman Painting, Morris Commercial and Wolseley historian, Small Heath: Austin also built machine tools such as millers, lathes and automatic screw making machines to his own patented design. Before Vickers bought the motor car and machine tool business off WSSMC over 400 people were employed at Alma Street. Kelly's Directory listed the company as Wolseley Sheep Shearing Machine Co Ltd and their work title Sheep Shearing Machine and Cycle Components, at the premises Sydney Works Alma Street Aston Manor.

The Wolseley Company were the employers of Herbert Austin who later rose to become the General Manager of the company and by 1896 under Austin's direction produced the first Wolseley Motor Car. In 1895 the first Wolseley experimental car in fact was designed and built by Herbert Austin and the rest of the story became one of the biggest manufactures in Birmingham. The Wolseley name disappeared when the last car was made in 1975. From Ireland to Australia and finally to Aston, Birmingham, England. The Wolseley name became part of our heritage.

Wolesley

Some observations concerning the Wolseley Sheep Shearing Machine Co. Ltd. The Wolseley company in Alma Street was not owned by Frederick York Wolseley. He sold his company (founded in Australia) to a group of British business men in July 1889. FYW was elected MD of the British company but was dismissed in May 1894. The company's first works was in Broad Street, Birmingham.

The picture of the Alma Street works was taken about 1922. The advert was the first illustrated car advert used by the company about October 1900. Herbert Austin is in the driving seat and this is the car that took part in the 1900 1,000 Miles Trial and won First Prize in Class B. The Alma Street factory was opened in October 1895 at a rent of £350/annum. (Purchased in November 1898 for £4,000 in cash and £1,000 in shares) At that time there were two factories between Wolseley and Martindales; George Sherwin - Engineer and Frederick & Thomas Prime - Iron Founders. Herbert Austin was then the Works Manager. The first car to be completed at Alma Street was completed on November 17th 1896.

Wolesley
Alma St Works

There is no evidence that Wolseley or Austin built a car in 1895. Attached are pictures of a 4hp car built at Alma Street in 1900 and an automatic screw making machine designed and patented by Herbert Austin. Attached is a picture of a 2 cylinder steam engine designed and patented by Herbert Austin in 1893 and built at Broad Street and Alma Street. This particular engine was positively identified by me having been found about 2 years ago in Australia.

Wolesley

 


Electric Avenue

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Workers in the Wolseley Seperator works packing department
at Electric Avenue 1910

Wolesley
A sheep shearing demonstration
with a single man machine below a portable two man machine

Wolesley

With thanks to Norman Painting, Morris Commercial and Wolseley historian, Small Heath:

Austin also built machine tools such as millers, lathes and automatic screw making machines to his own patented design. Before Vickers bought the motor car and machine tool business off WSSMC over 400 people were employed at Alma Street.