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Lombe
Londesborough
96

tember 1777 (Hill, Boswell, iii. 164). The building, now known as the Old Silk Mill, is still in existence, and is used for its original purpose.

Lombe's patent was granted for fourteen years, and naturally expired in 1732, but on 28 Jan. of that year he petitioned parliament for an extension, alleging that he had been put to great expense in training workmen, and that, the Sardinian authorities had prohibited the importation of raw silk, so that a supply had to be obtained elsewhere. The petition was referred to a committee, and evidence was produced showing that the machinery had rendered the manufacturers of this country independent of Italy for the supply of organzine, and that the price had been greatly reduced. There was a considerable opposition to the petition on the part of the cotton and worsted spinners, who were desirous of using certain parts of Lombe's machinery for making yarn, but had been prevented by threats of actions for infringement. The facts are set out in 'The Case of the Manufacturers of Woollen, Linen, Mohair, and Cotton Yarn … with respect to … a Bill for preserving and encouraging a new Invention in England by Sir Thomas Lombe.' The debate on the bill is reported at some length in 'Parliamentary History,' 1732, p. 924, and is of considerable interest, being the first instance of an application to parliament to prolong a patent beyond the fourteen years' limit fixed by the statute of monopolies. The petitions and evidence are given in the 'Commons' Journal,' xxi. 782, 795, 840, &c. The bill was thrown out, but eventually an act (5 George II, cap. 8) was passed granting a reward of 14,000l. to the inventor, one of the conditions being that he should deposit models of his machinery in some public institution. Models were accordingly placed in the Tower, and they are mentioned in 'An Improved History of the Tower' (published, without any author's name, in 1815), but have long since disappeared. A good description of Lombe's machinery, with drawings, is given in Rees's 'Cyclopædia,' art. 'Silk.'

Lombe was an alderman of Bassishaw ward in the city of London, and was chosen sheriff in 1727. He was knighted on 8 July of the same year, when he attended at court to present a congratulatory address from the city to George II on his accession.

He died on 8 Jan. 1739 at his house in Old Jewry, leaving a fortune of 120,000l. (Gent. Mag. 1739, p. 47), which was bequeathed in equal shares to his widow and his two daughters, Hannah and Mary Turner. In his will he desires his widow 'at the conclusion of the Darby concerns to reward the principal servants there as she shall think fit to the value of 500l. or 600l.' His daughter Mary Turner married on 24 April 1749, James, seventh earl of Lauderdale. Hannah married in 1740 Sir Robert Clifton, bart., M.P. for East Retford. Lady Lombe died on 18 Nov. 1753 (ib. 1753, p. 541).

John Lombe (1693?–1722), Sir Thomas's half-brother, born probably at Norwich about 1693, was employed by the latter to proceed to Italy and make himself acquainted with the processes of silk-throwing. He was referred to by Alderman Perry in his speech in the House of Commons when Sir Thomas Lombe's petition was being discussed as one 'whose head is extremely well turned for the mechanics.' According to the only authority (William Hutton, Hist. of Derby, pp. 191–209), John returned from Italy about 1717, bringing with him some Italian workmen to assist him in starting the new factory. Hutton goes on to say that the silk-throwers of Piedmont were so enraged at Lombe's success, and at the deception which had been practised upon them by the faithless Englishman, that they despatched a woman to Derby to gain Lombe's confidence, and to administer a slow poison. In this she was successful, and her victim, after lingering for two or three years in great agony, is said by Hutton to have died on 16 March 1722, and to have been buried with great pomp at All Saints' Church, Derby, on the 22nd of the same month, when thousands of people attended the funeral. Hutton worked as a boy in the Old Silk Mill, but he was not an eye-witness of these events, which took place before he was born, and his story must be received with caution. The registers of All Saints record the burial of John Lombe on 28 Nov. 1722, and an endorsement on his will at Somerset House gives the date of his death as 20 Nov. Hutton's story did not appear until 1791. Sir Thomas Lombe makes no allusion to his brother's death in his petition to parliament for the renewal of his patent. John Lombe's will was proved in London in July 1724.

[Authorities cited in text; Edinb. Rev. xliii. 78; Nichols's Lit. Anecd. ix. 380; Zamboni's Monografia dei Setificio Veronese, 1855, p. 35; Betham's Baronetage, iv. 142 (pedigree), and the wills of Henry, John, Thomas, and Lady Elizabeth Lombe, in Somerset House. Smiles, in his Men of Invention and Industry, pp. 107–20, seems to have chiefly followed Hutton and an article in the Mechanics' Magazine 17 May 1867, which is inaccurate in some particulars; information from the vicar of All Saints, Derby.]

R. B. P.


LONDESBOROUGH, Baron. [See Denison, Albert, 1805–1860.]