Postcard of the month - #146 - July 2012
J T Davies, Ropemaker, 57 Coborn Road, Bow
J T Davies, Rope, Twine and Yarn Works was in Coborn Road, next to the GER Coborn Road Station.. Joseph Thomas Davies was born at 18 Chrisp Street, Poplar in 1844. He became a shipwright like his father. In 1874 a business opportunity occurred that led to a change of career. The ropemaking business of W J Cave of Coborn Road came onto the market. With James West, who had some experience in ropemaking, he formed a partnership becoming Davies & West and they bought the business. The partnership proved unsuccessful and was dissolved five years later. James West went on to form his own successful ropeworks in Bow, James West and Sons.
Joseph Davies now set up his own company at the Coborn Road site, J T Davies Ltd. It supplied all the landing ropes for naval ships built at the Thames Ironworks, Leamouth and other shipyards at Canning Town. The firm also assisted in the design and manufacture of the nets that were used in delivery and collecting mail from high speed trains.
A fire destroyed a third of the ropeworks in 1884 when the dried material used in the ropemaking process caught alight. The factory stretched for 500 yards along the railway line and the fire threatened the railway. Coborn Road station was closed but amazingly the trains kept running! The promotional postcard seen above, taken around 1900, shows Samuel Haswell, an employee of the company, standing beside a 22 inch Coir rope weighing 10 tons at the Coborn Road site.
On the death of J T Davies in 1918, the business was taken over by his sons George and Thomas. In the 1920s rope made at the Coborn Road site were used by shipping companies such as P&O and British India Steam Navigation, plus the firm had large Admiralty contracts. In 1925 the firm was taken over by British Rope. Today nothing of the site remains. The shell of Coborn Road Station remains but the entrance to the ropeworks is now covered by a recent housing development.
|We are grateful for invaluable information for this piece to Des Pawson MBE - one of the world's leading authorities on Knots and Sailor's Ropework: www.despawson.com|
click link to other 'Postcard of the Month' pages
go back to the top of this page
Legal notice follows:
Legal Notice:All contents of this Web Site are copyright © 1999 - 2012 eastlondonpostcard.co.uk. All rights reserved.
No portion of this Web Site may be reproduced in any form, or by any means, without prior written permission from: eastlondonpostcard