Marshalls of Gainsborough auction

Words by:
William Gregory MRICS Golding Young and Mawer
Featured in:
September 2017

Antiques and collectables belonging to one of the last members of Marshalls, the Gainsborough engineering family, were sold at auction in Lincoln last month.
Nigel Marshall was the great great grandson of William Marshall, who founded the engineering works Marshalls of Gainsborough in 1848. A former solicitor, Mr Marshall lived at The Old Rectory in Lea, Gainsborough until his death in February this year.

For a century Marshalls of Gainsborough was a leading engineering concern, manufacturing at the Britannia Works (now Marshall’s Yard).

In 1848, William Marshall bought the defunct engineering works of William Garland and Son at Back Street Foundry in Gainsborough and renamed it the Britannia Iron Works. The company produced road steam engines, threshing machines and agricultural machinery. After William’s death in 1870, his sons James and Henry Dickenson Marshall took over the company and by 1881, 1,137 men and 137 boys were employed there.

During the First World War, the workforce grew to 5,000 to cope with the production of munitions and after the war, the company went back to producing traction engines, steam rollers and tractors. Business declined in the 1970s and the company closed its doors for the last time in the 1980s.

Nigel Bernard Dickenson Marshall, born in 1935, was the last Marshall of his branch of the family. Following his death aged 81, the contents of the Old Rectory have now been sold, including many items with an association with the Marshall family, who for a long time played an important part in Gainsborough life.

Among the items featured in the sale were 40 railway clocks from different railway regions including GNR, The Midlands Railway, SER, GWR and LNS and a German tinplate static engine, dating from the early part of the 20th century, by DRGM.

There was also a Chinese square section vase decorated with birds and flowering prunus branches, an Italian figure of a boy by Gemito and a rare early nineteenth-century pearlware jug of the Horncastle Volunteers dated 1806.

Meanwhile, collectors were also out to bid on an album of cricket autographs including those of Donald Bradman, Herbert Sutcliffe, a number of members of the Australian touring party and other famous cricketers from the 1940s and ’50s, with the album finally selling for £200.

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