In the early nineteenth century, Henry Maudslay, an engineer from a humble background, opened a factory in Westminster Bridge Road, Lambeth, a stone's throw from the Thames. Maudslay invented precision engineering, which made the industrial revolution possible, helping Great Britain to become the workshop of the world. His factory became the pre-Victorian equivalent of Google and Apple combined, attracting the best in engineering talent. The people who left to set up their own businesses included Joseph Whitworth, who moved to Manchester, and by the time of the Great Exhibition in 1851, was deemed the world's foremost mechanical engineer. There is a strong Camden connection, in that Maudslay started his career at the workshop of locksmith and inventor of the hydraulic press Joseph Bramah in Denmark Street. Maudslay's factory manufactured the stationary engines that hauled the first trains up the incline from Euston to Camden Town.
David Waller is an author, business consultant and former Financial Times journalist. His most recent book is 'Iron men: how one London factory powered the industrial revolution and shaped the modern world (Anthem Press, 2016).
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