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British Industrial History

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Pearson and Knowles Coal and Iron Co

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1877 Rolling mill engine
1877.
1881

of Ince, near Wigan, and Dallam Forge, and Bewsey Forge, Warrington, coal miners and structural and general engineers.

1840 Company formed to acquire coal mine at Ince[1].

1848 Thomas Knowles (1824-1883), having started work in the mine at age 9, was appointed manager of Ince colliery by its owner, George Pearson[2].

c. 1854 Pearson took Knowles into partnership due to his business abilities

1871 Explosion at Pearson and Knowles' Moss Pit mine near Wigan (which coal field had suffered many such accidents in the past).

1873 Test at a Pearson and Knowles' mine of breathing apparatus to allow miners to work in atmosphere of "fire damp"[3].

1873 Took over the Dallam Forge, Warrington, and moved the ironworks to that site[4].

1874 The company Pearson and Knowles Coal and Iron Co was registered on 15 May, to acquire the properties of the firm of the same name (including five collieries) and the ironworks of the Dallam Forge and the Warrington Wire Iron Co[5].

1877 Rolling mill engines made by Pearson & Knowles featured in The Engineer, 11th May, 1877. The engine illustrated had a cylinder 30" diameter, 5 ft stroke. Flywheel 25' 6" diameter, weight 60 tons. There were four similar engines driving iron sheet mills and one driving a plate mill, at the Dallam and Bewsey forges.

1881 Thomas Knowles died[6].

1881 Advert.Engineers and Boiler Makers. Average Weekly Production of Finished Iron 1750 Tons. Registered Brands D - Warrington Dallam; W.I.W.

1891 Iron manufacturers, coal proprietors and engineers, makers of engines, boilers and pumps; bridges, roofs and tanks; blast furnace plant; constuctional ironwork; railway wheels and axles[7].

1894 "Have done a large part of the structural ironwork on the Manchester Ship Canal". Gives list. [8]

1898 Closure of the Ince foundry due to increased use of steel rather than wrought iron; concentration of puddling work at Warrington.

1898 Pearson and Knowles' Iron and Engineering Works at Warrington were noted as having operated for many years a mutual scheme for compensation of workers who suffered an accident; a similar scheme was operated by Pilkington Brothers at St Helens[9].

1899 Locomotives were first built. A total of at least twelve and possibly eighteen built at this company over the next years[10]

1907 Purchased the Moss Hall Coal Co and the Wigan Junction Colliery Co[11].

1908 Large number of fatalities in explosion at Maypole no.1 mine near Wigan.

1909 The "acquaintanceship" with Rylands Brothers (a wire-rope working firm according to Aberconway) had provided a constant custom for the ironworks; that company was now treated as an affiliated concern in the accounts[12].

1910 Purchased Rylands Brothers[13].

1911 The Company had established the Partington Steel and Iron Co to supply the steel needed by the rest of the Pearson and Knowles' company as well as supply the Sheffield market and other steel users; the new undertaking would have 3 blast furnaces; Pearson and Knowles took up some of the shares and the others were made available for public subscription[14][15].

1914 Ironmasters, engineers, colliery proprietors and wire manufacturers. Specialities: bar iron, WIW sheets and hoops, galvanized sheets and wire rods, railway wheels and axles, bridges and other engineering constructional work, bars, angles, tees and plates. [16]

1920 Offer from Sir William Armstrong, Whitworth and Co to acquire the ordinary shares of Pearson and Knowles Coal and Iron Co[17] which was largely accepted. Even so the company had to make an issue of debenture shares the following year[18].

1926 Managing Director, Gordon H. Fraser died on 3rd February following an operation in London.

1927 After several years depressed trade, a scheme of arrangement was proposed to deal with the company's debts, including the debts of the subsidiary companies[19].

1927 Sir William Armstrong, Whitworth and Co retained its interests in Pearson and Knowles Coal and Iron Co after the merger of other parts of the company with Vickers[20].

1927 See Aberconway Chapter IX for information on the company and its history.

1927 See Aberconway Chapter VII for information on the company and its history.

1928 Substantial write-down of the capital in the company, which had some profitable parts but had particularly been dragged down by the debts of Partington Steel and Iron Co[21].

1930 Amalgamation of the Pearson and Knowles group of companies with the Wigan Coal and Iron Co and formation of 2 new companies to hold the coal and steel interests separately. The coal business would be called the Wigan Coal Corporation Ltd. The iron and steel business would be called the Lancashire Steel Corporation[22]. The companies were formed under the auspices of the Securities Management Trust, formed by the Bank of England to facilitate reconstruction of the iron and steel industry[23].

The company became a holding company, essentially holding shares in Lancashire Steel Corporation and Wigan Coal Corporation Ltd.

Formation of Pearson and Knowles Engineering Co to handle the construction and general engineering activities that had been developed over the past 60 years.

1953 The company was voluntarily liquidated[24].

Serious Accident in 1913

'FIFTY-TON FLYWHEEL BURSTS. WORKMAN KILLED AND BUILDING WRECKED. The bursting of flywheel on Monday morning at the works of Messrs. Pearson's and Knowles, Warrington, caused havoc a hoop iron mill. The building was practically wrecked, and a workman named Fredk. Stockton, aged 23, was killed. Twenty others escaped injury. The wheel was about 20 feet in diameter, and weighed about 50 tons, and as the huge pieces flew about the mill the workmen had wonderful escapes.'[25]

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. The Times, 9 July 1913
  2. The Times, 4 December 1883
  3. The Times, 10 December 1873
  4. The Times, 9 July 1913
  5. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  6. The Times, 4 December 1883
  7. The Times, 25 May 1891
  8. The Engineer of 5th January 1894 p3
  9. The Times, 12 August 1898
  10. British Steam Locomotive Builders by James W. Lowe. Published in 1975. ISBN 0-905100-816
  11. The Times, 9 July 1913
  12. The Times, 29 September 1909
  13. The Times, 26 September 1910
  14. The Times, 29 September 1911
  15. The Times, 23 October 1911
  16. 1914 Whitakers Red Book
  17. The Times, 28 January 1920
  18. The Times, 26 October 1921
  19. The Times, Thursday, Jan 13, 1927
  20. The Times, 29 November 1927
  21. The Times, 16 July 1928
  22. The Times, 22 May 1930
  23. The Times, 20 December 1932
  24. The Times, Tuesday, Mar 17, 1953
  25. Derby Daily Telegraph, Tuesday 9th December 1913