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New Britain City

New Britain City Hall is located at 27 West Main Street, New Britain CT 06051; phone: 860-826-3303.

Beginnings [1]

First settled in 1686 by an overflow of Berlin colonists who drifted northward into the area known as the Stanley Quarter, New Britain had been called 'the daughter of Berlin and the grand-daughter of Farmington. Later settlers went further south and formed the Great Swamp Settlement. In 1754 the district became the New Britain parish of Farmington. In 1785 the town of Berlin was incorporated and in 1850 the Town of New Britain was organized from a section of Berlin. Part of that town became the City of New Britain in 1870, and in 1905 the town and the city were consolidated.

The city's industrial development received its first impetus about 1800 when James North and Joseph Shipman started the manufacture of sleigh bells. Yankee peddlers marketed the bells and created a demand for other articles of light hardware. Locks, tools, saddlery hardware, cutlery and light metal articles were produced by numerous small shops for the peddler trade, but the lack of adequate water power delayed the growth of factories until about 1832, when steam power was introduced in the Stanley Lock factory.

  1. Workers of the Federal Writers' Project, Works Progress Administration, Connecticut: A Guide to its Roads, Lore and People, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1938.
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