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John Davis & Son (Derby) Ltd

John Davis & Son (Derby) Ltd

John Davis & Son (Derby) Ltd

John Davis was born in 1810 in Thame, Oxfordshire and in his early teens served an apprenticeship under J. Abrahams. On completion of his apprenticeship, John joined his uncle’s instrument business in Leeds.

He announced his first visit to Derby in the Derby Mercury on April 23, 1830, when he rented a shop in Rotten Row. He subsequently made annual visits until 1843 when he took up permanent residence in Iron Gate.

He purchased the free-hold of the 16th century Meynell Town House, 21 Iron Gate, as a family residence and workshop manufacturing a wide variety of mining equipment, surveying and navigation equipment.

An active member of the Derby community, John planted the first trees in London Road and Friar Gate and chaired a committee to raise funds for the widening of Iron Gate, a project that took five years to complete, finishing in 1870. Eventually John was to move to Friar Gate.

John died in 1873 and his son Henry, an engineer himself, took over the business which, in 1875, saw a move to larger premises in Amen Alley. This was the All Saints Works site that expanded into neighbouring properties and remained home to the firm until 1966. Such was the growth, the firm opened offices in London and Cardiff in 1877.

The works were to produce electricity and even supply some of the homes, businesses and shops of central Derby. They even celebrated Queen Victoria's visit to the city with an illuminated 'VR'

The firm continued to expand thereafter forming various relationships with other firms in emerging industries.

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