John M. Henderson, Engineering Company, Aberdeen, Scotland…link to Hok Un power station, Hong Kong

Graham Wood compiled a brief biography of his father Andrew Wood, who was involved in repairing Hok Un Power Station in Hong Kong at the end of the Japanese occupation in the Second World War. We have posted two articles related to this, namely Hok Un Power Station, post World War Two images, and Andrew Wood biography – involvement in the repair of Hok Un power station at the end of the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong, both of which are linked below.

The biography of Andrew Wood contains these brief two mentions of his employment in Aberdeen, Scotland with John M. Henderson & Company:

Raised in Aberdeen. Left school at 14. Worked for a while as a messenger boy for a jeweller in Aberdeen. Then apprenticed to John M. Henderson & Co. Ltd of Aberdeen a heavy engineering company making furnaces, steam derricks and quarry machinery, primarily cableways and Blondins. Studied engineering night school at Robert Gordons Aberdeen.

After demob, my father returned to Hendersons, completed serving his time and then in the early 50s joined National Boiler Insurance Co. as an engineering inspector primarily engaged with lifting equipment.

HF: We don’t often post articles about non-Hong Kong companies unless they have a link to Hong Kong, and as Hendersons does, I thought it would be of interest to learn more about this heavy engineering company which I hadn’t heard of before reading the biography of Andrew Wood.

The following biography of  Hendersons comes from the excellent British industrial history website Graces Guides linked below

John M. Henderson and Co

Aberdeen Engineers of King’s Engineering Works, 207 King Street, Aberdeen., maker of cranes, cable-ways and hoists.

1866 Company founded by the father of John Macdonald Henderson – John MacDonald Henderson, Sr. Business was at Jopp’s Lane, Aberdeen specialising in the manufacture of machinery and appliances.[1]

1873 John M Henderson manufactured the 1st Aerial Cableway in the UK.[2]

1878 King Street Engineering Works were built.[3]

John M. Henderson 1899 Henderson Incline Cableway Grace's Guide

1899 Henderson Incline Cableway Courtesy: Grace’s Guide

1903 Catalogue issued with illustrations of works carried out by the aid of the Henderson cableway.[4]

John M. Henderson 1906 Shipbuilding Cableway Grace's Guide

1906 Shipbuilding Cableway Courtesy: Grace’s Guide

c.1910 Steam winch for Blondin cableway at Blaen-y-cae slate quarry, Nantlle. [5]

1922 The company made arrangements with F. G. Mitchell of the Mitchell Conveyor and Transporter Co, 45-50, Holborn-viaduct, London EC1 to undertake the manufacture of “Krom” crushers, “Maxecon” mills, and new type “Kent” mills for that company. Messrs. Henderson also acquired the joint selling rights of these machines.[6]

1924 Private company.

1925 Their London office was removed from 17, Cock-spur Street SWI to Amberley House, 12, Norfolk-Street, Strand W.C.2.[7]

John M. Henderson 1929 Advert Grace's Guide

1929 Ad. Courtesy : Grace’s Guide

By 1954 part of Mitchell Engineering Co[8]

1961 Engineers and iron founders, aerial ropeways and cableways, cable drag scrapers, cableway drag line excavators [9]

Made mechanical handling equipment for Mitchells and coke oven machinery for a German group,

c.1971 receiver appointed to Mitchell Engineering. John M. Henderson and Co was acquired by Hambros which brought the company to market[10]

1972 Acquired by Gulf and Western Industries.[11]

1983 Company described as a supplier of coke oven machinery. Bill Slater was managing director. [12]

Graham Wood has kindly sent three links to further information about Hendersons:


  1.  John M, Henderson on Graces Guide


  1. John M. Henderson general history
  2. Grace’s Guide to British Industrial History
    Grace’s Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in the UK. The scope is gradually being extended to include non-UK businesses and biographies. Additions are being made to the information daily by a team of volunteers who give freely of their time and expertise.

This article was first posted on 11th April 2021.

Related Indhhk articles:

  1. Hok Un Power Station, post World War Two images
  2. Andrew Wood biography – involvement in the repair of Hok Un power station at the end of the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong
  3. CLP’s Hok Un Power Station – immediately post World War Two
  4. Preece, Cardew and Rider – Consulting Engineers for Hok Un power station
  5. CLP’s Hok Un Power Station during the Japanese occupation
  6. CLP- Lawrence Kadoorie speech 1977 – HK + Hok Un Power Station during WW2
  7. CLP – Hok Un (Yuen) Power Station 1921-1991 – updated

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