William Coles, ironfounder etc

Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire


William Coles, ironfounder, plate

Seven Stars Brewery, Newtown

William Coles (c1789-1858) was listed in the 1844 directory as a millwright and brass founder at the Bradford Foundry and he was operating a malthouse on the side. He had been working at the Trowbridge Road site from at least 1822, when he was listed as a millwright. Numerous things around Bradford must have been made by him, but the only objects that are known to bear his name are the cast iron stanchions that once supported the floors of the malthouse and brewery in Newtown. Some of them have been recycled to support the roof of a shelter for rubbish bins for the flats there. He also took up the lease of the town’s gasworks after they started in 1834.
In 1839 he was one of the men who were elected to be Town Commissioners following the passing of the Bradford Town Improvement Act. He and his wife Eliza attended the Morgan’s Hill Independent Church (now United Reform Church) and it was there that their son Thomas was baptised in 1826.

By 1855 he was not only an engineer, brazier and ironfounder in Bradford, but had taken on the Meadow Street Foundry in Bristol as well. The Bristol works first appear in the Bristol directories in 1852, when they were run by S. Newman, whose name is recorded down to 1855 and replaced by William Coles in 1857.

William died on 8th March 1858, aged 69. Perhaps the business was to pass to Thomas, or was already in Thomas’ control while William developed the Bristol foundry, but Thomas also died on the 21st October of the same year at the early age of 32. Could there have been some accident in which both were involved?

In 1859 the Bradford foundry is listed as being under the management of William’s executors. The Bristol directories continue to list William posthumously in Bristol at the Meadow Street Foundry up to 1860.

Coles was succeeded in Bradford in about 1860 by George Milsom (c1835-1919).