Matthew Boulton

Matthew Boulton, entrepreneur of the Industrial Revolution, is buried at St Mary's, Handsworth near Birmingham. On 17th October 2014 a cast iron floor stone was unveiled to his memory in St Paul's chapel in Westminster Abbey. This is where the large statue of his business partner James Watt, the famous engineer, was originally sited (the statue has been removed but a stone on the floor records the inscription that was on it). The memorial, by Gary Breeze, reads:


He was born on 14th September 1728 in Birmingham, a son of Matthew, toy and buckle manufacturer, and his wife Christiana (Piers). Later he joined his father's firm, where they also made gold and silver items. In 1756 he married Mary Robinson but she died a few years later. His second wife was Anne, Mary's sister, and they had two children Anne and Matthew. The Lunar Society, of which he was a founder member, met at his house and James Watt joined them. Boulton had multiple interests including astronomy and chemistry and he had invented a steam engine. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. He also ran the Soho mint to supply copper coinage to the government and was an investor in canals and a benefactor in the local community. Boulton and Watt steam engines powered much of the industrial revolution at home and abroad. He died at Handsworth on 17th August 1809.

Further reading

"Matthew Boulton" by H.W. Dickinson, 1937

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004

The world's oldest working steam engine is at the Thinktank Birmingham Science Museum


14th September 1728


17th August 1809


17th October 2014


Scientist; philanthropist; engineer


Chapel of St Paul

Memorial Type


Matthew Boulton
Matthew Boulton by Carl Frederik von Breda

[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Matthew Boulton
Matthew Boulton memorial

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2023 Dean and Chapter of Westminster