The Company was set up in 1864 at South Shore, Gateshead by William Clarke, engineer (formerly with the Bedlington Iron Company and Armstrongs of Elswick) and Edward Benning. From 1870 their partners were Joseph Watson and Joseph Gurney. In 1874 they moved to the Victoria Works and Captain William Chapman joined them about that time, followed in 1884 by Charles Parsons, who remained with them until 1889. On 14 June 1893, the Company was incorporated as a limited company, becoming known as Clarke Chapman and Company Limited.
In 1968 it merged with International Combustion (Holdings) Limited, John Thompson Limited and Horseley Bridge Limited, thus acquiring a number of companies in associated engineering fields.
In 1970 the name was changed to Clarke Chapman - John Thompson Limited. However, in 1974 after acquiring International Combustion (Holdings) Limited's interests in the UK (International Combustion Limited and International Combustion (Riley) Limited), the name was changed again, to Clarke Chapman Limited.
In 1977, Northern Engineering Industries [NEI] was formed from Clarke Chapman Limited, Reyrolle and Parsons. NEI completed the merger with International Combustion (Holdings) Limited, including International Combustion Africa Limited, International Combustion Australia Limited, Metropole Industries Limited, Bardic Engineering Limited, International Combustion India Limited and Cheadle Plant Hire Limited.
Finally, in 1989, NEI and Rolls Royce plc merged, with Clarke Chapman becoming a part of the Rolls Royce Industrial Power Group. The Company moved from the Victoria Works in 1994, to a new site at the nearby Saltmeadows Road.
When the Company commenced in 1864, they manufactured winches and by 1868 had produced the first steam cargo winch to be put on the market. Their first electric winch was produced in 1886 and electric windlass in 1902.
From 1875 they also became boiler makers, designing and manufacturing locomotive cross tube vertical and vertical return tube multi-tubular boilers. Towards the end of the 19th century they turned to water tube boilers, beginning in 1895 with an improved 'Petersen' type which was sectional with cast iron headers. However, they later developed and patented (in 1901) the vertical straight tube type, moving on with improved feed water treatment and increasing steam pressure to a bent tube type used widely for power stations.
The 1880s saw the Company expanding its activities with the forerunner of the carburettor, Parson's turbine experiments and collaboration with Swan to develop carbon filament electric bulbs. The first marine generating plant was supplied to the Admiralty in 1884; in 1886 searchlight projectors for use on board ship; and in 1887 portable generating plants and search lights for ships passing through the Suez Canal. This lighting/power work very quickly became a specialised branch of marine work and an Electrical Installation Department was formed to deal exclusively with it.
Later developments saw the Company moving into nuclear engineering and large cranes. The 1968 merger with International Combustion (Holdings) Limited, John Thompson Limited and Horseley Bridge Limited led to the creation of five divisions, three manufacturing and two service. The Marine Engineering Division produced marine deck auxiliaries (winches, windlasses, capstans, cranes etc); the Crane and Bridge Division produced bridges, overhead travelling cranes, dockside steelworks, shipyard cranes etc; the Power and Process Plant Division supplied steam generating equipment to various industries, to conventional power stations and to the nuclear industry; the Group Headquarters Division had an appraisal/planning function; and the Advanced Technology Division was responsible for research and development.
DS/CC1/1-27, 216 Company Structure/Admin
DS/CC1/28-55 Shares and Debentures
DS/CC1/74-109 Financial records
DS/CC1/110-112 Legal records
DS/CC1/113-126, 218, 222 Property
DS/CC1/127-160 Employees, wages, accidents
DS/CC1/161-163 Employers' Associations
DS/CC1/164-166, 212 Publicity
DS/CC1/167 Agency agreements
DS/CC1/168-175, 217 Patents
DS/CC1/176, 223 Specifications
DS/CC1/178-189, 195, 200, 210, 220 Orders
DS/CC1/190, 219 Contracts
DS/CC1/193 Outfits registers
DS/CC1/194 Maintenance instructions/parts books
DS/CC1/196-204, 211 Costs/Output
DS/CC1/224-288 Companies in which Clarke Chapman invested or considered investing
DS/CC1/289-326 Subsidiary companies