Henry John Marten

Henry Marten was born in Plaistow on 3 Feb 1827, the second eldest son of Robert Giles Marten. His father and grandfather both died in 1839 when he was only twelve. He was educated at a private school in Margate, Kent. He seems to have gained a rapid career start, being appointed chief Water Engineer for Wolverhampton at the tender age of 19.

Henry John Marten in 1891

Henry John Marten in 1891

His grandfather had been a Director of the East London Water Company and an early employer of both Marc Brunel and his son Isambard Kingdom Brunel. We can only assume that these family connections coupled with some precocious ability catapulted him into this position. The devastating cholera outbreaks in Wolverhampton and Bilston in the early 1840’s moreover meant that knowledge of the latest water collection and filtration techniques would have been at a premium. The young Henry Marten seems to have been working as early as the age of 15 or 16 as an apprentice to Thomas Wicksteed, someone who had just such experience. Thomas Wicksteed appears to have been engaged at the time working in Hull, but because of his long association with the East London Water Company must also have known Henry’s grandfather well. Another strong influence on this early career break may have been the Scottish engineer and President of the Institute of Civil Engineers (est 1819) James Walker. James Walker had been employed by his grandfather to work on the London Commercial Docks in Rotherhithe and also to advise on the Thames Tunnel. All these were ideal connections for a career in engineering.

A good account of Henry Marten’s early career can be found at the Wolverhampton Local History web site. He built a strong reputation in Wolverhampton and Dudley and was called back later in his professional career to advise and report in the 1870’s. In the 1851 census he is recorded as living at Tettenhall Waterworks together with his engineer brother Edward Bindon Marten. Henry lived variously in Tettenhall, Penn and Codsall – all close to Wolverhampton – for the rest of his life

His career nonetheless moved away from Water Engineering with his marriage in 1854 to Frances Dimmack the only daughter of Edward Bagnall Dimmack, a wealthy Iron founder. Henry rapidly became a business partner of his father-in-law. He eventually took over the business on his father-in-law’s death in 1875, by which time the Parkfield Iron Works was in decline and was soon wound up.

Plaque in Codsall Church

It was about 1875 that he acquired  a large house in Codsall called “The Birches”. In the last fifteen years of his life he returned to working and being a consultant for water projects on the Severn Commission.  He apparently had an exhausting business schedule, also running an office in Storey’s Gate in Westminster. This led to serious ill-health and the last year of his life he spent three months abroad convalescing.

In 1880 he remarried to Martha Shaw, a widow from Derbyshire. Henry died aged 65 in Codsall on 3 Nov 1892. His wife survived him until 1900.

Family of Henry John MARTEN and Frances Anne DIMMACK

Husband:Henry John MARTEN (1827-1892)
Wife:Frances Anne DIMMACK (1834-1862)
Children:Edward Dimmack (Teddy) MARTEN (1855-1917)
Henry (Harry) MARTEN (1856-1930)
Henrietta Frances Anne (Nettie) MARTEN (1857-1927)
Florence Eliza (Floss) MARTEN (1858-1922)
Ellen Louisa (Nelly) MARTEN (1859-1907)
Robert Humphrey (Tib) MARTEN (1860-1933)
Francis Alfred (Frank) MARTEN (1862-1891)
Marriage10 Aug 1854Snowhill Chapel, Wolverhampton, Staffordshire

Husband: Henry John MARTEN

Name:Henry John MARTEN1
Father:Robert Giles MARTEN (1792-1839)
Mother:Eliza WARMINGTON (1793-1865)
Birth3 Feb 1827Plaistow, Essex
Educationbtw 1839 and 1840 (age 11-13)Mill Hill School2
Education1841 (age 13-14)Church Field Academy, Margate with brother Alfred George
Apprenticeshipc. 1843 (age 15-16)Apprentice to Thomas Wicksteed, Water Pioneer, Wolverhampton, Hull and East London
Occupation1845 (age 17-18)Working on waterworks in Hull, under apprenticeship to Wickstead
Occupation1846 (age 18-19)Appointed chief Water engineer in Wolverhampton (aged 19)
GraduationApr 1852 (age 25)Associate Member of of the Institute of Civil Engineers
GraduationNov 1854 (age 27)Member of the Institute of Civil Engineers
Occupation1856 (age 28-29)Resigns as Wolverhanpton water engineer to become EB Dimmack’s partne
Residence1870 (age 42-43)Parkfield House Wolverhampton
Occupation1871 (age 43-44)Landowner, Iron Founder and Civil Engineer
Residence1875 (age 47-48)Business Headquarter at 4 Storey’s Gate
Death3 Nov 1892 (age 65)The Birches, Codsall, Staffordshire, buried Wolverhampton
Obituary1893 (age 65-66)Electronic ISSN: 1753-7843

Wife: Frances Anne DIMMACK

Name:Frances Anne DIMMACK3
Father:Edward Bagnall DIMMACK (1808-1875)
Mother:Anne THOMPSON (1801-1881)
Birth1834Bilston, Staffordshire4
Baptism25 Jun 1837 (age 2-3)Oxford Street, Bilston – Non conformist
Death26 Mar 1862 (age 27-28)Penn Fields, Staffordshire
Burial31 Mar 1862Wolverhampton

Child 1: Edward Dimmack (Teddy) MARTEN

Name:Edward Dimmack (Teddy) MARTEN
Birth6 Jun 1855Penn, Staffordshire
Educationbtw 1868 and 1874 (age 12-19)Mill Hill School
Education1879 (age 23-24)St John’s College Cambridge; Civil Engineering
Occupationc. 1890 (age 34-35)Engineer for Severn Commissioners
Residence1891 (age 35-36)Living with Father Henry in Codsall
Residence1901 (age 45-46)Cheltenham
Occupation1901 (age 45-46)Civil Engineer; Cheltenham
Household1901 (age 45-46)Single living with widowed Sister Netty
Retirementbtw 1912 and 1917 (age 56-62)Ill health/paralysis
Death12 May 1917 (age 61)Cheltenham
Obituary15 May 1917 (age 61)The Times

Child 2: Henry (Harry) MARTEN

Name:Henry (Harry) MARTEN
Spouse 1:Hannah CLEGG (1857-1890)
Spouse 2:Fanny Jane SHELLARD (1854-1912)
Birth8 May 1856Penn, Staffordshire
Education1873 (age 16-17)St John’s College Cambridge
Occupation1881 (age 24-25)Confidential Clerk
Occupation1895 (age 38-39)Engineer working for Severn Commissioners
Residence1901 (age 44-45)Avonside House, Bitton, Gloucestershire
Death14 Jul 1930 (age 74)Cheltenham

Child 3: Henrietta Frances Anne (Nettie) MARTEN

Name:Henrietta Frances Anne (Nettie) MARTEN
Spouse:William Howard LEWIS (1854-1898)
Birth26 Apr 1857Penn, Staffordshire
Residence1901 (age 43-44)Cheltenham
Residence1920 (age 62-63)Stoke House, Stoke by Clare Suffolk
Death11 Aug 1927 (age 70)Cambridge

Child 4: Florence Eliza (Floss) MARTEN

Name:Florence Eliza (Floss) MARTEN
Spouse:Henry EVANS (1840-1923)
Birth8 May 1858Penn, Staffordshire
Death22 Jan 1922 (age 63)Hagley5

Child 5: Ellen Louisa (Nelly) MARTEN

Name:Ellen Louisa (Nelly) MARTEN
Spouse:Rev Robert Brooks EGAN (1855-1903)
Birth25 Jul 1859Penn Hall, Staffordshire
Death14 Oct 1907 (age 48)Maida Vale

Child 6: Robert Humphrey (Tib) MARTEN

Name:Robert Humphrey (Tib) MARTEN
Spouse:Annie Ffreebairn (May) MONTEITH (1865- )
Birth3 Aug 1860Penn Fields, Staffordshire
Education1885 (age 24-25)Caius College Cambridge
Occupationbtw 1900 and 1930 (age 39-70)Surgeon
Death8 Apr 1933 (age 72)Australia

Child 7: Francis Alfred (Frank) MARTEN

Name:Francis Alfred (Frank) MARTEN
Birth14 Mar 1862Penn Fields, Staffordshire
Death1 May 1891 (age 29)Pacoco, North Burma

Last updated on 19 January 2023 by JJ Morgan