Joy family of Leeds

This industrial, WM dynasty originated with David Joy (1747-1810), who originally worked at Leeds Infirmary, but being keen on research developed the production of oil from crushing such as rape seeds and linseeds. He established his seed crushing business in 1789 and in 1807 his sons Edward Joy I and William Joy joined the business then at Thwaite Mills. Joy oil products were used by George Stephenson (1781-1847) in his Locomotive No. 1 used at the opening of the Stockton & Darlington Railway, 1825, and his Rocket, 1829 for the Liverpool & Manchester Railway. Various members of the family were trustees of WM chapels in Leeds including Brunswick, Headingley and Meanwood, as well as Ilkley. The monument formerly in Oxford Place WM chapel to Edward Joy I (1789-1862), who was interred in Adel Churchyard, stated that 'he consecrated himself unto the Lord and lived a life of domestic happiness, useful benevolence and honourable reputation'. He died on 5 January 1862.

David Joy (1825-1903), one of Edward Joy's six sons, was born on 3 March 1825. He was apprenticed to the Leeds engineering firm of Fenton, Murray & Jackson at the Round Foundry. By repute he was the chief designer of Jenny Lind built by the Foundry in 1847 for the London, Brighton & South Coast Railway, which established a long-lasting British locomotive design, He patented a hydraulic organ blower in 1857, the first large-scale example being used on the Leeds Town Hall organ (1858-90), a steam hammer in 1860 and the Joy valve gear in 1879. Among various posts held, he was locomotive superintendent of the Nottingham & Grantham Railway and then of the Oxford, Worcester & Wolverhampton Railway, 1850-1853; manager of de Berque's bridge building yard in Manchester from 1857; and from 1874 manager and then secretary of the Barrow Shipbuilding Yard. He died at Hampstead on 14 March 1903, being interred in the churchyard there.

Three of Edward Joy I's sons entered the business: Walker Joy, Edward Joy II and William Glover Joy, being partners from 1844 until 1888. William Glover Joy, a Leeds WM, was a Liberal councillor and alderman and Mayor in 1869; also a member of the first Leeds School Board in 1867. Subsequently the firm of Edward Joy & Sons came into the ownership of another brother, George Outhwaite Joy (1832-1907), an Anglican, and his sons Herbert Joy and Alexander Outhwaite Joy (b.1888).

  • Alexander O. Joy, The Origin and History of an old firm in the old country through seven reigns, George III to George VI (Leeds, 1948)
  • Howard W. Bishop, 'Just an old oil can', in Old Run: Journal of the Middleton Railway Trust, 209 (December 2010) pp.27-29
  • Mark Smithers, Locomotive Builders of Leeds: E.B. Wilson and Manning Wardle (2018)


See also

Entry written by: DCD
Category: Person
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