Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Turner and Newall

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October 1963. Gaydon made from Melmex Melamine.

Turner and Newall, makers and suppliers of insulating materials, of Spotland, Rochdale (1937)

1920 Formation of Turner and Newall Ltd[1] by merger of 4 companies[2]:

1925 Became a public company.

1926 T and N acquired interests in asbestos mining in Southern Rhodesia, South Africa and Swaziland.

1926 Turner and Newall purchased some ordinary shares in Ferodo Ltd, the leading UK manufacturer of brake linings, clutch facings and other friction materials[3].

1927 Turner and Newall acquired the remainder of the ordinary shares in Ferodo Ltd; also acquired more shares in the American company Ferodo and Asbestos Incorporated of New Brunswick[4].

1928 Purchase of Bells United Asbestos Co Ltd (BUA), a group of companies manufacturing asbestos-cement building products: pressure pipes for water supply systems, asbestos textiles and asbestos papers and paper laminates for electrical insulation. BUA had factories in Harefield in Middlesex, Erith in Kent and Widnes in Lancashire. BUA also held an interest in Raybestos-Belaco Ltd, a company formed in 1922 jointly with the Raybestos Company of Bridgeport, Connecticut, itself a subsidiary of Raybestos-Manhattan.

1928 Turner and Newall (40%) and Distillers Co (60%) formed the Carbon Dioxide Co Ltd to handle sales of the gas produced by T&N's Washington Chemical Co Ltd and some of Distillers' works. Acquired almost all of the Preference shares of Ferodo Ltd[5].

1929 The former Bell's companies had supplied products direct to the market whilst Turner's did not; Bell's stopped supplying directly; a new company was established, Turners Asbestos Cement Co Ltd (TAC), to administer the Trafford Park works and former BUA companies. Asbestos Cement Building Products Ltd, a marketing organisation, was set up to handle sales. The first Board of Turners Asbestos Cement Co Ltd. was appointed on 8 August.

  • Acquisition of Siluminite Insulator Co Ltd, a producer of electrical insulating and arc resisting mouldings, the manufacturing and marketing of which was taken on by Turners Asbestos Cement Co Ltd.
  • Acquired 7 insulation companies.

1930 Acquired the Quasi-Arc Co and Hobdell, Way and Co.

  • Merger of T and N asbestos mines in Southern Rhodesia and the Union of South Africa with the mining properties of the Rhodesian & General Asbestos Corporation Ltd.
  • Turners Asbestos Fibres Ltd. (TAF) set up to sell asbestos fibre.

1932 Reorganisation of the business with the 9 subsidiaries that dealt in the sale and application of insulating material grouped under Newalls Insulation Co; the subsidiaries included[6]:

1933/4 In a company rationalisation Turners Asbestos Cement Co became wholly responsible for operating the factories at Widnes and Erith and for the sale of asbestos-cement products, the subsidiary companies previously responsible becoming non-operational.

1934 Acquired control of the Bell mine in Thetford, Quebec, Canada, by securing a majority interest in its parent company, the US firm of Keasbey and Mattison, including factories at Ambler, Pennsylavnia and St. Louis, Missouri, USA.

1935 TAC bought factory at Rhoose, South Wales, and built factory at Dalmuir, near Glasgow, Scotland (opened in 1937).

1936 Keasbey and Mattison became a wholly owned T and N subsidiary.

1937 Manufacturers of asbestos and magnesia. [7]

1941 TAC took over asbestos-cement factory at Tamworth, Staffordshire.

1947 Formation of Turner and Newall (Canada) Ltd.

1949 Completion of new factory in Montreal, Canada; formation of Turner and Newall (Overseas) Ltd in Canada.

1950 Sale of plant and machinery of Siluminite Insulator Co Ltd.

1953 Acquired small shareholding in Cassiar Asbestos Corporation Ltd, owners of Cassiar mine in British Columbia and since 1967 of the Clinton mine in the Yukon.

1960 New Ferodo factory opened in Caernarvon, N.Wales.

1961 Purchase of Stillite Products Ltd, of Stillington, County Durham and its subsidiary: Mineral Wood Products Ltd, of South Bank, Middlesbrough.

  • TBA acquired stock, items of plant and the goodwill of George MacLellan & Company.
  • Purchased British Industrial Plastics (BIP) with plants in the Midlands plus a small subsidiary in Maryport, Cumberland.

1962 TAC Dalmuir factory closed.

  • TAC opened new factory in Ditton, Lancashire.
  • Formed Asbestos Cement Pipes Ltd, by joining forces with Cement Ltd. of Dublin.

1963 Liquidation of Keasbey and Mattison.

1964 Asbestos Cement Pipes Ltd opened pipe making plant at Drogheda in the Irish Republic.

1965 TBA acquired most of the plant and the goodwill of Albion Asbestos Co. Ltd., a small manufacturer of asbestos textiles.

  • Merger of T and N company, Glass Fabrics Ltd, Dungannon, Northern Ireland, with TBA.

1966 T and N acquired from Cape certain textile and related interests.

  • Acquisition of the Engineering Components Ltd group of companies, head office in Slough and factories in Slough, Abergavenny, Chingford, Reading, Heckmondwike and Cleckheaton.

1967 TAC set up asbestos-cement sheeting plant at Ballyclare, N.Ireland.

1968 Turner and Newall ceased making calcium silicate products with an asbestos content. [8]

1969 Turners Asbestos Cement (Northern Ireland) Ltd, formed a new joint company with Cement Ltd, to run Ballyclare operation; T and N took a large minority interest in Cement Ltd's asbestos-cement sheet plant at Athy, the Republic of Ireland.

  • New BIP factories built in Whiston, Lancashire and Maryport, Cumberland; other BIP facilities were in Oldbury, near Birmingham and Streetly.

1970 T and N absorbed insulation contractors: C. L. Whitaker and Co Ltd, of Grimsby.

  • TAC absorbed J. W. Roberts's operations and formed TAC Construction Materials Ltd.

1972 TAC Ltd evolved into Tenmat Ltd.

1973 The company had nine principal manufacturing subsidiaries in the United Kingdom, of which six were concerned with asbestos products:

Name of subsidiary Reference products made Factories operated (Numbers employed)
TAC Construction Materials Asbestos cement; millboard; insulation products; jointing Trafford Park (1,256), Widnes (1,270), Erith (595), Rhoose (210), Tamworth (174), Ditton (105)
Turners Asbestos Cement (Northern Ireland) Asbestos cement Ballyclare (46)
Ferodo Friction materials Chapel-en-le-Frith (1,571), Caernarvon (816)
Raybestos-Belaco Friction materials Wellingborough (111)
Turner Brothers Asbestos Co Yarns; textiles; jointing; packings Rochdale and Hindley Green (1,600)
Newalls Insulation Co Insulation products Washington, Co Durham (204)


1977 Turner and Newall took over Storey Brothers in an agreed bid[9].

1983 Closures and sales of some companies reduced borrowings and helped stabilise the company[10]

1986 Acquired Moore Plastics Co, makers of composite materials, of Slade Green, Kent[11] and a large interest in Associated Engineering Group[12]

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. [1] International Ban Asbestos Secretariat
  2. Competition Commission report [2]
  3. The Times, 20 December 1926
  4. The Times, 19 December 1927
  5. The Times, 15 December 1928
  6. The Times, 29 September 1932
  7. 1937 The Aeroplane Directory of the Aviation and Allied Industries
  8. [3] [4] Competition Commission Report
  9. The Times, 13 August 1977
  10. The Times, May 05, 1983
  11. The Times, September 11, 1986
  12. The Times, December 08, 1986