Scope and Content

Contains: analysis book of annual financial statements 1887-1923; audited financial statements 1887-1937; branch accounts 1919-1938; particulars of accounting methods [1912-1914] ; administration book 1914; analysis of the rise in costs and prices for both goods and labour at the Steam Plough Works 1913-1918; correspondence file of B Smith, Leeds, accountant to Theo. Davis, London 1933; report on the business position of John Fowler and Co (Leeds) Ltd 1935; correspondence concerning individual employees 1874, 1884, 1900-1930; inventory of the Steam Plough Works 1895; report of the toolshop roof, Steam Plough Works 1926; graph of the number of ploughing tackles despatched per annum 1868-1917 compiled 1918; minute books, reports and correspondence of branch and subsidary companies 1900-1940; commercial records 1868-1932; partnership book containing transcripts of records relating to firm's partnerships 1863-1883; partners correspondence 1863-1864; proposed articles of partnership 1864; articles of agreement of partnership and associated papers 1864-1931; volume of litigation 1922-1940; company book containing Acts of Parliament 1862-1931; memorandum and articles of association and associated papers 1886-1931; papers relating to shares 1886-1932; papers relating to debentures 1886-1887; papers relating to profit sharing scheme [1903]; company records relating to branches and subsidaries of John Fowler & Co (Leeds )Ltd 1913-1940; papers relating to investments 1887-1940; business agreements international, Europe, Asia, Africa, America and Australia 1873-1935; correspondence, accounts and plans relating to land and property in England, Wales, France, Germany, Czechoslavakia and Hungary, India and Hawaiian Islands 1868-1938; letters patent and patent specifications 1852-1895; patent licences, assignments and agreements 1855-1924; patent litigation 1850 - 1864, 1885; engineering drawings: main series, S series, diesel engine series, tool room hand sketch book , Vulcan Foundry Ltd [c1860 - 1960]; drawings registers 1860-1912, 1926-1965; records of experiments and trials 1963, 1852, 1914-1921; technical particulars and dimensions books 1885-1891; engineering correspondence 1888; register of modifications to Challenger TC 1953-1963; register of plough designs 1883-1926; technical notes on problems of cleaning plough mold board 1920; technical particulars books 1908-1909; general product register 1909-1936; engine registers 1895-1938; locomotive registers 1923-1968; engine details books 1893-1919; locomotive building book 1928-1943; volume of publications 1874-1912; individual advertising and servicing publications 1882-1936, 1950-1964; 'Group' house journal of the Marshall organisation 1948-1950; 'Mettle' house journal of the Marshall Organisation 1951-1961; 'Marshall Fowler News' house journal of John Fowler Works, Leeds and Sprotborough Works Doncaster 1971; publicity photograph albums c1881, 1948; albums of printing block proofs [1860-1870], 1901-[1930's]; individual printing block proofs 1890's-1940's; printing block register c1886-1924; photograph albums c1862-[1960's]; individual prints [c.1910]-1944; material amassed by Theo. Davis for his history of the firm 1847- 1945; press cuttings album 1883-1947; booklet for Field Day and Steam Ploughing Exhibition 1887; records relating to steam ploughing machinery with regard to Fowlers 1921; photographs of Fowler diesal engines 1945-1946; press extract concerning electrical machinery 1948; personal records of partners, directors and associates 1856- 1933

Administrative / Biographical History

The early business history of John Fowler is somewhat confused, especially as the later publications of John Fowler and Co., (Leeds) Ltd., claim that the firm's origins date to 1850. Indeed John Folwer did begin in business in 1850, but in Bristol not in Leeds, by forming a partnership with a fellow Quaker, Albert Fry, as agricultural implement manufacturers and traders. On the dissolution of the partnership in 1856, Fowler moved to 28 Cornhill, London to concentrate on his consuming interest in steam cultivation machinery. Here he was a sole trader with no manufacturing works of his own, using variously the firms of Kitson, Thompson & Hewitson (of Leeds), Robert Stephenson & Co., (of Newcastle)., Ransomes & Sims (of Ipswich) and Clayton, Shuttleworth & Co., (of Lincoln) to supply him with goods. In 1860 Kitsons, now restyled as Kitson & Hewitson, became sole suppliers and Fowler simultaneously began construction of his own works, the Steam Plough Works alongside Leathley Road, Leeds on land adjacent to and purchased from Kitsons. The link between the two firms grew when William Watson Hewitson joined Fowler in partnership, as Fowler & Hewitson in 1861. Next year with the Steam Plough Works completed all production was moved there from Kitsons. Hewitson, however died in May 1863 leaving Fowler to continue alone, now trading as John Fowler & Co., though assisted by his brother, Robert Fowler, who ran the London office in Cornhill. John Fowler suffered a nervous breakdown in mid 1864 and to help ease his load he entered into a partnership with Robert Fowler on August 2nd 1864. Unfortunately, while still recuperating he sustained a fall on a fox hunt from which he died on 4th December 1864. John Fowler & Co., was then continued by Robert Fowler and Robert Eddison under the careful terms of Fowler's will, being subsequently joined by David Grieg, Reginald Wigram and Barnard Fowler as fellow partners. In 1886 the limited company of John Fowler & Co., (Leeds) Ltd was formed, merging with Marshall, Sons & Co., Ltd of Gainsborough in 1947 to form Marshall-Fowler Ltd. Production finally ceased at the John Fowler Works, as the Steam Plough Works had been re-christened, in early 1974 but John Fowler & Co., (Leeds) Ltd., still remains a registered company, although now very much in abeyance.


AC Accounts

AC6 Other Accounts

AC7 Financial Statements

AC8 Branch Accounts

AC9 Accounting Papers

AD Administrative and Commercial Records

AD2 General Administrative and Commercial Records

AD3 Labour Records

AD4 Premises Records

AD5 Materials Records

AD6 Records of Branches and Subsidiaries

AD7 Commercial Records

CO Legal Records of companies and businesses

CO1 Partnership Records

CO2 Limited Company Records, including capital

CO3 External agreements

CO4 Real Estate Records

CO5 Patenting Records

DO Drawing Records

DO1 Drawings

DO2 Drawing Registers and Indexes

ET Technical Records - Experimental and Reference

ET1 Records of Experiments and Trials

ET2 Technical Reference to Fowlers Products

ET3 General Technical Reference Records

MP Manufacturing and Production Records

MP1 Registers and Lists of production

MP2 Manufacturing working papers and details

P Publications, Promotions and Advertising Records

P1 General Compilations

P2 Individual Advertising and Servicing Publications

P4 House Journals

P7 Records of Special Advertising and Promoting

P8 Printing Proofs and Artworks

P9 Registers and Indexes

PH Internal Photographic Records

PH2 Albums

PH3 Individual Prints

SP Social and Personal Records

SP1 General Records including firm histories

SP2 Records of Work Events

SP3 Records of Products

SP4 Personal Records

Conditions Governing Access

Open for consultation

Acquisition Information

Material deposited on permanent loan January 1972, (T72/14); July 1972 (T72/23); October 1972 (TT72/33); November 1972 (T72/36); October 1973 (T73/26); March 1974 (T74/11)


Compiled by Caroline Gould 13 November 2002

Other Finding Aids

A detailed catalogue is available at the Museum of English Rural Life

Conditions Governing Use

Please contact the Archivist

Related Material

A detailed catalogue is available at the Museum of English Rural Life

Geographical Names