"Charles Nelson"



On the Death of his Father George Nelson, his mother Sarah looked to her elder son Charles, to be put in with other staff, to assist in the management of the business at Stockton and others unrelated to the process of gelatine. His father had been involved in several businesses at the time of his death. At Warwick a timber business which was said to be his main business at that time – timber and building materials, slates and coal and others. He owned an estate at Stockton which at the time was believed to be a farm which he had bought for the Blue Lias rocks that lay beneath it. It was ultimately developed into Lime and Cement works carried out under the firm of Charles Nelson and Company. Those businesses were later put into Charles’s name when he became of age. At that time Charles had nothing to do with the Gelatine manufactory which remained entirely in the management of Thomas Dale. Sarah Nelson had two thirds of the partnership in that process with Mr Dale having the remainder. She took no part in its management of the gelatine manufactory. The leases to the Properties at Emscote belonged to Sarah Nelson however, inherited by way of her late husband George Nelson’s will.

Charles Nelson was involved within the Gelatine part of the business at a later period though for just eight years. Having not studied the process to the same degree as his younger brother George Henry, he kept the books during his time and was considered a good engineer, drawing plans for some of the buildings.

He is more associated with building the Blue Lias Cement and Lime Works at Stockton near Southam.

 Taken from Edward Montague Nelson sworn testimony Smith v Nelson Tuesday December 13th 1904 (May 2010)







"Aerial view of Stockton Cement Works 1930-1939 - PH350/2078 reproduced by kind permission of the Warwickshire County Record Office"

Nelson's Cement Works Stockton


Nelson's Cement Works Sign




Nelson's Selenitic and Instructions for Blue Lias Lime booklets will be a feature of a forthcoming book by John Frearson on Rugby Cement

Images by kind permission of John Frearson

"Lime & Cement Works at Stockton"

Nelson Wharf Stockton c1906

The postcard was hand tinted (faded) c1906



Chas. Nelson's "Cockerel" Narrowboat Design - Nelsons Cement Cock Brand Photography by John Frearson




Photography by ajl - from CR2999 - by kind permission of Warwickshire County Records Office

The Grand Union Canal Company - Bill for Tonnage July 1931 to Chas Nelson& Co Ltd. Document one of many dating from early 1930's to early 1940's housed at Warwick Records Office.


Bill for water supplied dated 7th Feb 1940 was £40-12s-6d plus £50 fixed rent.

Water usage for month was 1,083,630 gallons. Charged at 9d per 1000 gallons.

A bill for dredging the Nelson Arm on 6th November 1940 of £24-10s-2d

Chas Nelson 16 South Wharf.


Chas Nelson's Steamer Jason




Charles Montague Nelson (Son of Charles born 1861) & Emily Wood (Married April 1884)





The following has been reproduced by kind permission of the editors of Stockton's News Marion Stringer & Wendy Rumsey.


Issue 10 October 2008



Charles Nelson born 1834 was the eldest son of George Nelson of Warwick who was already an established business man. Charles did not take over the business on the death of his father in 1850 perhaps as he was only about 16 years old, but at 22 years of age took on the cement side of his father’s businesses leaving his younger brothers to manage the others. Charles, who had at least 10 children, died in 1877 of Bright’s Disease.


Nelson is listed in Whites 1856 Directory as manufacturer of Portland Cement of Warwick, and in 1860 at Stockton. In 1868 Charles Nelson is listed in Warwickshire Directory as a Blue Lias and Cement Manufacturer living at ‘The Fields, Southam’.

The works are known locally as Cali/Calley, with suggestions for the name being short for California either due to the quarry workings being likened to those of the ‘Gold Rush’ California, or, a connection with the sunflowers of California.


On the site there were many industrial buildings including offices, garages, silos, explosive hut, stables and a smithy along with its different workshops.

Health and Safety wasn’t paramount in those years and local men lost their lives working there.

Eight cottages were built and lived in at the works and some of the family names of those who lived there in the 1890’s were Baldwin, Bloxham, Scalon, Gasgoine, Ward, Bicknell and Dell. Nelsons also owned many of the houses in Stockton village thus being in the position of Landlord or Employer (usually both) to a lot of the villagers at this time.



Over the years families in the cottages changed and Mr. Arthur Neal has supplied us with some of those he remembers - Mr. & Mrs G. Berry - (Mr. Arthur Neal’s Great Grandparents). Mr. & Mrs Lou Warner, Mr. & Mrs Billy Bicknell, Mr. & Mrs Percy Redgraves, Mr. & Mrs Haymes, Mr. & Mrs Wal French and Mrs Baldwin and their respective families. Also he can recall the Townsend family, Mr. & Mrs George Williams and family, Mr. Pat O’Shea, and Norman & Lucy Crowther.

The Houses were lived in up until the 1960’s when Mrs French, the last person to occupy the hamlet long after the works had closed, died.

The only means of transporting the loose lime and bagged cement was by canal. This was taken to Weedon on the Grand Union Canal for trans shipment to rail.

Nelsons had their own boats and at one time had a large fleet. Many of the boats were given Greek mythological names. In 1870 a dock was built at Stockton to deal with repairs to the boats and this was later extended to allow craft to load and unload within the works. The boats brought in the coal which was burnt in large quantities in the lime and cement making process.

1n 1905 18,000 tons of raw materials and finished products were transported by canal for Nelson’s. Its cement was marketed under the ‘Cock’ brand name and the cock emblem painted on a all the company boats.


Mrs Freda Spraggett nee Lockley writes ‘When we went to school we came out at 12noon, dashed home to have our first course of lunch, then take our fathers dinner also Uncle Jacks (Barratt) and Uncle Teds (Worrall) and walk up to Cali. If the boss wasn’t about my father used to meet us. Uncle Teds was put in the dining hall, and the other two were taken where they worked. We hurried back home to have our second course then back to school for 1.30pm, this we did in all weathers. The pay was poor for the workmen, if they asked for a rise it would have probably been three farthings an hour extra, less than a penny, or even less than that. My Father used to do a full day’s work and if the night man couldn’t come he would come home for his tea and then have to do the night shift as well,

for this he got about £2 a week’.



Memories from Stan Hodges (formally of George St.) :--Cali, or to be correct, Charles Nelson & Co Cement and Lime Manufacturers, was a firm founded in the 19th century. This could have been said to have been the ‘life blood’ of Stockton. I would say that 90% of the working population of the village up until the second world war worked there, and during the 1st war a good many women worked there, in the works and down the quarry, replacing the men who had gone to war.

In the early days stone was taken from a quarry on the south side of the Rugby Rd. (A426) opposite where the recycling place now is. Then towards the end of the 19th century a quarry was opened nearer to Stockton just south east of the village (now a well known fishing venue). The stone was washed and loaded into trucks, hauled out of the quarry by steam cranes, to be taken up to the works on a mineral railway line by steam locomotives, one of which I remember was called Game Cock. The big heaps that stand above the quarry is the clay which had been washed off the stone and was blown through pipes to form those heaps which were known in my childhood days as Mount Blyth. Mr. George Blyth was the Managing Director of the firm and lived in Stockton House (now kings house by the cross roads) The brand of the cement was Cock Brand Cement and because only clean stone was used it was reckoned to be the best in the country, with a trade mark of a bantam cockerel on a blue background.

The lorries were painted all blue with the bantam emblazoned on the doors. It was delivered to all parts by rail, road and canal. The factory itself was pretty well self sufficient. It generated its own electricity, there was a Fitters shop, Blacksmiths shop, electricians shop, smelting shop, stores with everything from machine tool parts to oily rag, engine sheds for maintaining the loco’s and an explosives store where the dynamite for blasting in the quarries was kept and stabling for the heavy horses, which were used to haul the wagons from the railway sidings to the works.

Many of the houses in the village were provided by the works and were occupied by their workers. Widows of the workers were allowed to stay in the house but had to pay a small rent.

When I left school in 1941 I went to work for Nelsons as Office Boy and every Friday morning I had to collect rent from these widows. Nelsons also provided a “Reading Room and Club” for the employees, known as Nelsons Club,( this still remains in Napton Road).


From Mr. Joe Bennett (formally of Elm Row )

The Wagoner. One of the more unusual jobs at the old Cali works was one of the Waggoner. For many years this was the responsibility of Mr. Tom Bennett.

In brief this was the daily care and working of the three Shire/heavy Horses who continued to be used until cement production ceased in the early 1940s. The horses were always worked two at a time in a tandem style (one behind the other) their task being to pull the loaded cement trucks, which were to travel by rail, from the loading ramp, along the siding, coupling them into a train to which the main line locomotive would connect, and transport away. At the start of the day the Waggoner would feed and harness the horses ready for their days labours. After work the horses would be fed and in the summer led down to the field known as the ‘Grinsid’ (the same field that housed the explosives hut) and turned out for the night. In winter the horses would be stabled at night, the stables being adjacent to their field and Mr Ellis Lymath, the Blacksmith’s shop.

In the early days of cement production at Cali there would have been more horses used in the works and the Blacksmith shop must have been very busy. We must remember that these were not just Farriers but also skilled metal workers who would have to make and repair all types of ironware for the company. The Waggoner must have been very committed to his work as horses, especially hard working horses, need a great deal of time and attention seven days a week, every week. Sadly job of the Waggoner no longer exists today except in the memories of a few people who remember Cali as it was - now part of our local history.


The Ladder Bridge



There was until not so many years ago a ladder bridge over the canal which provided a footpath between the works and Broadwell. Most of the youngsters from Stockton learnt to swim there doing the doggy paddle between the barge mooring posts, in the warm water which was discharged there from the cement works, ( not a thing to be done now though kids).

Photo from Stan Hodges (Southam) shows his Great Grandmother Liza Bicknell (centre) This is also Marion Stringers Great-Great - Grandmother. (anyone know the

other two?) Women working in the quarry 1914/18 war this was contributory to them getting the vote in 1918.


This is only a little of the history of the cement works, we hope to follow with the connection to the houses built and owned by Nelsons in and around Stockton and also some history of the Grand Union Canal. If you can add to any of this in any way please contact us. Editors


The Silent Ones

“The Silent Ones” operated the rotary kilns. Those photographed below are Japper Griffin, Mr Waters, Mr Wooley, Molly Cox, Sid waters, Jack Scott, Tickey Bicknell, Viv Spraggett, unknown, George Bicknell, Mr Shaw, Mr V Gulliver, Mr Gent, Mr Warner, Mr Faudrey with dog.

Photo from Marion Stringer. (The name on the board being held by Mr. Faudrey has the words ‘The Silent Ones’ on. Were they called this because of the fact that the noise from the rotary kilns was that loud it was impossible to hear one another speak?)


Reproduced by kind permission of the editors of Stockton's News Marion Stringer & Wendy Rumsey. Oct 2010







Charles Nelsons Cement works, they used large horses to move and shunt wagons to the branch line. This was managed by a man called a 'Waggoner whom had to look after the horses as well.

There were 3 narrow gauge loco's at the works built by Peckett.

Works Number Date Gauge Name notes
678 1897 1ft 9in GAMECOCK Scrapped in 1949
785 1899 1ft 9in NIRAS Scrapped in 1949
918 1901 1ft 9in JURASSIC Scrapped in 1949


GAMECOCK (Peckett 678 1897) the first example of the class, seen here at the

Stockton Limeworks of Charles Nelson & Co Ltd


Diagram showing main difference between the Gamecock, Jurassic 12ft 0in and Jurassic 12ft 6in classes


Images of the Official Photographs of the Jurassic and Gamecock Class

Images and text courtesy of Adrian Eade Oct 2010


Composite - Chas Nelson Gunpowder Wagon




"Nelson's Stockton Cement Works 1910-1919 Reworked by ajl - PH350/2079 reproduced by kind permission of the Warwickshire County Record Office"

Nelson Wharf Stockton c1910


Postcard Image courtesy of Alan Griffin June 2014




Blue Lias Lime- Portland Cement...1890's Spennell's Directory - Nelson's "Cock" Brand Cement Water Tower at Stockton

Photography by Ian Robinson


Jason & Alexandra Nelson arm Warwick & Napton Canal (Beverly Otway collection)


Jason & Alexandra (Dennis Ashby collection) c1907 (courtesy of Richard Thomas)


Jason & Alexandra (Dennis Ashby collection) c1907 (courtesy of Richard Thomas)


Chas Nelson Road Transport



Water Tower at Nelson works, Stockton & Track to Nelson's, Stockton by Andy F Remains of Charles Nelson Lime Works by Ian Robinson



Nelson Quarry and Spoil Charles Nelson Lime/Cement Works Photography by Ian Robinson




The Nelson Club at Stockton Past and Present. RH photograph by Andy F


The Nelson Club at Stockton Hill


The Nelson Club at Stockton



Driveway to The Fields House Southam Photography by Andy F




Griffin Cement Works Stockton

A small family business set up by William Griffin in 1841 and existed until 1910

Documented by Simon J Bartlett


Charles Nelson died within a few months of the following.

The Notice to Quit was not acted upon by the Nelson family





Letters with kind permission from Simon J Bartlett




Portland cement its manufacture, testing, and use (1899) D B Butler - Municipal Sanitary Engineering 1898



Nelson's Coloured Portland Cement Brochure


Nelson's Blue Lias Lime -1866 advertisement in The Builder



Nelson's Trademark


60Years Reputation
Stockton.Nr Rugby

Paperweight c1910



The Nelsons


A Brief History of The Nelsons Of Warwick




Compiled for the benefit of Warwickians and Others by Anthony James Leahy


Rediscovering the Gelatine Factory



The Gelatine Factory

A comprehensive account 1899

from Round About Warwick


George Nelson



Nelson's Emscote Mills 2009



T B Dale


Charles Nelson's

Cement Works at Stockton


The Nelson Brothers


William Nelson


George H Nelson


Sir E Montague Nelson

E M (Sam) Nelson


A Visit to

Messrs. G. Nelson, Dale & Co. 1880



Nelson Works

Tomoana New Zealand


Guy Montague Nelson

Nelson Village

Charles St, Warwick


The Lawn at Emscote


Nelson's Lozenges

 packaging & adds

Nelson's Club

Isinglass Wars

Swinborne v Nelson


Nelson's 1950's

Warwick Advertiser account 1953



Descendants of George Nelson


George Wyatt A city trade jubilee



Nelson's Heritage Walk


Gelatine and its uses


Davis Gelatine


Sir E Montague Nelson's Scrapbook Circa 1882

Nelson Gym

Nelson Patents


The Nelsons of Warwick Timeline





Walter Nelson




Home Comforts


Mary Hooper



Mary Hooper Letters

 Mary Hooper Book Collection


Nelson's Home Comforts

Mary Hooper


Wives and Housewives

Mary Hooper


Little Dinners

Mary Hooper


Cookery for Invalids

Mary Hooper


Every Day Meals

Mary Hooper


Hints on Cookery

Mary Hooper

Good Plain Cookery

Mary Hooper


Handbook for the

Breakfast Table

Mary Hooper


Weekly Telegraph

Cookery Book

Mary Hooper

Our Dog Prin

Mary Hooper

Ways & Tricks of Animals

Mary Hooper


Lily's Letters from the Farm

Mary Hooper

Charles Wentworth Wass

Round About Warwick

Mary Hooper Books Wanted

Fleur De Lys

The Pie Factory at Emscote

Nelson Story

In Brief


Nelsons Story


Nelson's Home Comforts

From Beginning To End


Cookery & Home Comforts

Mrs Wigley

Rock's Royal Cabinet

Leamington & Warwick 1880



Anthony Leahy



Anthony Leahy


Art & Photography

Anthony Leahy


A Major Arcana

Kathleen Forrest


The Drumroom

Anthony Leahy





Compiled for the benefit of Warwickians and Others by Anthony James Leahy




 A Walk in Warwick





Book Wanted Handbook For The Breakfast Table

Book Wanted Wives and Housewives A Story For The Times


3 The Butts