Yates and Thom, Blackburn, UK – Makers of the original Peak Tram engines

HF:  Yates and Thom, (formerly W and J Yates), 9 Canal Ironworks, Blackburn, UK, were makers of engines for mills, collieries and waterworks.

Yates and Thom Gradeguides advert

And the original engine for the Peak Tram which was opened for public service on 28 May 1888. Construction had begun іn September 1885.

Initially a static steam engine was used to power the haulage cable “built by Yates and Thom, each provided with a Wheeler surface-condenser, of the Admiralty pattern, and may be worked either condensing or non-condensing. The condensers are fixed in the basement below the engine-room, as also are all the steam and other pipes, thus leaving the engine-room free and open.” (1)

Peak Tram upper station showing smoke emitting from steam engine boilers 1890-1895

Peak Tram upper station showing smoke emitting from the steam engine boilers

This company history comes courtesy of Gracesguide a marvellous source of the UK’s industrial history.

1826 Company established. Exhibit at Manchester’s Museum of Science and Industry.

1892 1100 HP vertical cross compound engine for Horrockses Crewdson Ltd; Fishwick Mill, Preston

1894 Engines for the Portsmouth Electric Supply works.

1900 Supplied three Lancashire boilers for the Gloucester electricity supply works.

c.1901 Supplied six twin cylinder vertical engines driving 1500 kW alternators to Stuart Street Power Station, Manchester

1905 The company was registered on 18 July, to acquire the business of the firm of the same name, engineers, ironfounders and boiler makers.

1906 1750 HP Horizontal four cylinder triple expansion engine for Durban Mill, Hollinwood

1907 Name Plate. Engineers, Millwrights and Boilermakers. Exhibit at Manchester’s Museum of Science and Industry.

1912 Supplied a winding engine to Astley Green Colliery.

1914 Supplied a winding engine to Sutton Manor Colliery.

1925 1800 HP Horizontal cross compound engine for No. 2 Mill, Leigh Spinners Ltd., Leigh


HF: In 1928, the company became Foster, Yates and Thom when it was acquired by Joseph Foster & Sons.

The company continued to manufacture boilers until 1964, with the remainder of the works closing in 1973.


  1. Source: Twentieth century impressions of Hong-kong, Shanghai and other Treaty Ports of China, Arnold Wright, Lloyd’s Greater Britain Publishing Company, 1908

This article was first posted on 7th November 2014.


  1.  http://www.gracesguide.co.uk/Yates_and_Thom
  2. Gracesguide.co.uk 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

Related Indhhk articles:

  1. The Peak Tram
  2. The Peak Tram – additional information
  3. Peak Tramways – additional locations and alterations
  4. Peak Tram: The Ward Leonard System installed 1926
  5. Peak Tram – Abt Passing Loop
  6. Proposed Second  Peak Tram – 1908 – the route

One comment

  • Colin Farrow

    I have a stainless steel 50 kilo square mixer Model No. 3 No. 40/193. Is this model and any spares still available and could you please give me a current price for this product which operates on a 3 phase electrical motor.
    Regretably I do not wish to purchase one of your enormous steam engines or engage in setting up a new peak tramway which looks such a credit to your company judging by the visuals on your website showing your early beginnings.

    Colin Farrow
    At one time trading as Norfolk Soap Manufacturing Co. Gt. Melton, Norwich,

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