George Perry (engineer)

Last updated

George Perry (1719 3 February 1771) was an English engineer, ironmaster, merchant, draughtsman and cartographer.

South West Prospect of Coalbrook Dale, 1758 engraving by Francois Vivares after Thomas Smith and Perry South West Prospect of Coalbrook Dale.jpg
South West Prospect of Coalbrook Dale , 1758 engraving by François Vivares after Thomas Smith and Perry
Castle Street, Liverpool, engraving by Thomas Malton after a drawing by Perry. Castle Street. Liverpool.jpg
Castle Street, Liverpool, engraving by Thomas Malton after a drawing by Perry.
Memorial to Perry, Ancient Chapel of Toxteth Perry memorial, Ancient Chapel of Toxteth.jpg
Memorial to Perry, Ancient Chapel of Toxteth


Perry was a native of Somerset and was related to Micajah Perry, Lord Mayor of London in 1747. His family was well known in the area and Perry was "intended for the church". However Perry joined the iron works at Coalbrookdale, where he worked with John Wilkinson. While there, he made successful trials for boring cannon from solid iron. [1] With Thomas Smith of Derby he designed views of Coalbrookdale which were engraved by François Vivares. These are among the earliest industrial landscapes. [2]

Perry later became the first manager of Liverpool's Phoenix Foundry. A man of many talents, outside his work as an iron founder and merchant his energy was directed towards many diffuse interests, such as map-making, the history of Liverpool, and the writing of poetry. [3]

Perry was an early promoter of the benefits of new canals. In 1758, shortly after the opening of the early Sankey Canal, Perry wrote an article which appeared in The Gentleman's Magazine in which he proposed the construction of an "inland water conveyance from London to Gloucester, Worcester and Bristol, or from Liverpool to Hull". [1]

In 1758 Perry founded a Liverpool branch of the Ironbridge foundry, later to become the Fawcett, Preston Engineering Company, although initially simply a warehouse. [4]

In 1765, Perry married Lydia Ann Lacroy (or De La Croix), who was of a family of Huguenots. The street in which his foundry stood was named in her honour Lydia Ann Street. [3] [5]

With Peter Perez Burdett Perry had planned a map of Liverpool, together with a history and views by Michael Angelo Rooker, though the latter project did not all come together in its initial conception before his death. [6] In 1769, assisted by William Yates, Perry produced his masterpiece as a cartographer, a large map entitled 'The New and Accurate Plan of the Town and Port of Leverpool'. [3] [7] [8] In 2008 this was on public display at the Walker Art Gallery and proved to be a centre of attention. [3]

Perry died on 3 February 1771 at the age of 52 and was buried at Toxteth Unitarian Chapel. [3] On a wall of the chapel is a memorial tablet, reading

Sacred to the memory of George Perry, merchant, of Liverpool, who died, universally respected, February 3, 1771, aged 52. [1]

The foundry business was taken over by Joseph Rathbone of the Rathbone family, who had married a daughter of Abraham Darby II, the owner of the Coalbrookdale operation. [9]

An Essay towards the History of Leverpool[ sic ] (1773) by William Enfield was based on Perry’s collections, and has been called the first history of Liverpool. [10]


  1. 1 2 3 Henry Smithers, Liverpool, its commerce, statistics, and institutions, pp. 419-420
  2. Fraser, David. "Smith, Thomas". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/25914.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 John Hussey, 'The Magnificent Map', in Cruisers, Cotton and Confederates: Liverpool Waterfront in the Days of the Confederacy (2008), p. 197
  5. A. Nonagenarian, Recollections of Old Liverpool (The Echo Library reprint, 2009), p. 65: "Lydia Ann-street after Mademoiselle Lydia Ann De La Croix, who married Mr. Perry, the originator of Fawcett's foundry, and the Coal Brook Dale iron works."
  6. Laxton, Paul. "Burdett, Peter Perez". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/37243.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  7. Sheet No. 46: Liverpool Town Maps and Regional District Maps Archived 2 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine at
  8. Ramsay Muir, A History of Liverpool (1907), p. 180
  9. Dickinson, R. (1956). "James Nasmyth and the Liverpool Iron Trade" (PDF). Transactions of the Lancashire and Cheshire Historical Society. 108: 83–104.
  10. The Arian Movement, p. 74

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Eleanor Rathbone</span>

Eleanor Florence Rathbone was an independent British Member of Parliament (MP) and long-term campaigner for family allowance and for women's rights. She was a member of the noted Rathbone family of Liverpool.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Coalbrookdale</span> Human settlement in England

Coalbrookdale is a village in the Ironbridge Gorge in Shropshire, England, containing a settlement of great significance in the history of iron ore smelting. It lies within the civil parish called the Gorge.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">John Rocque</span> Surveyor and cartographer (c. 1704–1762)

John Rocque was a French-born British surveyor and cartographer, best known for his detailed map of London published in 1746.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Abraham Darby I</span>

Abraham Darby, in his later life called Abraham Darby the Elder, now sometimes known for convenience as Abraham Darby I, was an English ironmaster and foundryman. Born into an English Quaker family that played an important role in the Industrial Revolution, Darby developed a method of producing pig iron in a blast furnace fuelled by coke rather than charcoal. This was a major step forward in the production of iron as a raw material for the Industrial Revolution.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">William Rathbone V</span>

William Rathbone V was an English merchant and politician, serving as Lord Mayor of Liverpool.

William Rathbone IV was an English ship-owner and merchant involved in the organisation of American trade with Liverpool, England. He was a political radical, supporting the abolition of the slave trade and universal suffrage. He was a member of the noted Rathbone family.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Richard Rathbone</span>

Richard Rathbone was a member of the noted Rathbone family of Liverpool in England.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Peter Perez Burdett</span> English painter

Peter Perez Burdett was an 18th-century cartographer, surveyor, artist, and draughtsman originally from Eastwood in Essex where he inherited a small estate and chose the name Perez from the birth surname of his mather, his maternal grandfather was the clergyman there. He would have been notable just for his many appearances in Joseph Wright's pictures but he was also involved with numerous projects including surveying the route for one of the major projects of the industrial revolution, the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, in 1769. He has been described as "if not in the centre at least in the penumbra of the Lunar Society of Birmingham". He spent the last years of his life in Karlsruhe, avoiding debtors, but still active in German society. His German daughter married a Count.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Richard Horwood</span>

Richard Horwood was a surveyor and cartographer. He is mainly remembered for his large-scale plan of London and its suburbs published in 32 sheets between 1792 and 1799. He also published a plan of Liverpool in six sheets in 1803.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom</span> Honorary position in the United Kingdom

The British Poet Laureate is an honorary position appointed by the monarch of the United Kingdom, currently on the advice of the prime minister. The role does not entail any specific duties, but there is an expectation that the holder will write verse for significant national occasions. The origins of the laureateship date back to 1616 when a pension was provided to Ben Jonson, but the first official holder of the position was John Dryden, appointed in 1668 by Charles II. On the death of Alfred, Lord Tennyson, who held the post between November 1850 and October 1892, there was a break of four years as a mark of respect; Tennyson's laureate poems "Ode on the Death of the Duke of Wellington" and "The Charge of the Light Brigade" were particularly cherished by the Victorian public. Three poets, Thomas Gray, Samuel Rogers and Walter Scott, turned down the laureateship. The holder of the position as at January 2022 is Simon Armitage who succeeded Carol Ann Duffy in May 2019.

William Rathbone II was a member of the noted Rathbone family of Liverpool, England.

Bartholomew Booth (c.1732–1786) was a pioneer in American education. Oxford-educated, Booth was ordained as a priest in the Church of England before becoming a headmaster. He opened academies in Liverpool, then in Lancashire and Essex. He offered a wide curriculum, broadly following the educational philosophy of Benjamin Franklin, and was a curate for what became the congregation of Saint John's Church.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Emanuel Bowen</span>

Emanuel Bowen was a Welsh map engraver, who achieved the unique distinction of becoming Royal Mapmaker to both to King George II of Great Britain and Louis XV of France. Bowen was highly regarded by his contemporaries for producing some of the largest, most detailed and most accurate maps of his era. He is known to have worked with most British cartographic figures of the period including John Owen and Herman Moll.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Octagon Chapel, Liverpool</span>

The Octagon Chapel, Liverpool, was a nonconformist church in Liverpool, England, opened in 1763. It was founded by local congregations, those of Benn's Garden and Kaye Street chapels. The aim was to use a non-sectarian liturgy; Thomas Bentley was a major figure in founding the chapel, and had a hand in the liturgy.

William Reynolds was an ironmaster and a partner in the ironworks in Coalbrookdale in Shropshire, England. He was interested in advances in science and industry, and invented the inclined plane for canals.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Liverpool Women's Suffrage Society</span> Suffrage society founded in Liverpool, 1894

The Liverpool Women's Suffrage Society was set up in 1894 by Edith Bright, Lydia Allen Booth and Nessie Stewart-Brown to promote the enfranchisement of women. The society held its first meeting in a Liverpool temperance hall, with Millicent Fawcett, head of the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies (NUWSS), as its guest speaker. The society set up headquarters in Lord Street. The group became affiliated with the NUWSS in 1898, it held meetings in cafés which included talks, poetry and dance recitals. Members were recruited from prominent members of society and they distanced themselves from working class suffrage societies such as Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Renshaw Street Unitarian Chapel</span>

Renshaw Street Unitarian Chapel was a Unitarian place of worship in Mount Pleasant, Liverpool, England. It operated from 1811 until the 1890s and was particularly well frequented by ship-owning and mercantile families, who formed a close network of familial and business alliances.

William Fawcett was an engineer and manufacturer of guns and steam engines, supplying steam engines for some of the earliest steam ships in Britain and America, and for use on sugar plantations in America. He was a partner in the firm of Fawcett, Preston and Company, which supplied the steam engines for a number of ships, including the paddle steamer William Fawcett, described as the first ship operated by what would become the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company (P&O).

Moses Holden was an English astronomer, known particularly for giving lectures on astronomy.

Charles Inman (1791–1858) was an English merchant, businessperson and banker, a director of the Bank of Liverpool.