One of old Dan and Ann Adamson’s fifteen children living at the Grey Horse Inn at Shildon Lodge, also called Daniel Adamson, was born in 1820 – he could just remember being present at the opening day of 1825. In 1833 at the age of 13, after attending a Quaker school in Old Shildon, Adamson was apprenticed to Timothy Hackworth, with whom he later (1841) served as a draughtsman and engineer. Afterwards, he served under Hackworth’s successor, William Bouch, as draughtsman and superintendent of stationary engines at the Shildon Engine Works, until when, in 1847 at the age of twenty seven, he became general manager of the works.
In 1850, Adamson became manager of Heaton Foundry in Stockport, near Manchester. A year later, at Newton Moor near Dukinfield, he established an iron works, Daniel Adamson and Co, specialising in engine and boiler making. Initially, he followed designs created by Hackworth, but he improved the design and manufacturing process over the next 36 years, exporting ‘Manchester Boilers’ worldwide, and building a business, the Newton Moor Iron Works, which by 1890 employed some 600 people. He had many other business interests across the north of England and he championed the Manchester Ship Canal (1890 Institute of Mechanical Engineers Obituary and Grace’s Guide to British Industrial History, available here.