Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

Registered UK Charity (No. 115342)

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 163,167 pages of information and 245,637 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Davy Brothers

From Graces Guide


January 1866.


January 1880.


June 1880.
1882. Sheet mill engines for Morewood and Co at Woodford Ironworks, Soho, Birmingham.
1883. Reversing rail mill engines, Blaenavon steel works.
1905 12,000 HP rolling mill engine at Sheffield’s Kelham Island Museum


Model of 3000 Ton Forging Press. 1906.


1907 Davy steam hammer at Masson Mills
1914. 2000 ton tyre forging press.
1919. Cogging Mill for Steel, Peech and Tozer.
1921. Darnall Works.
December 1929.

Maker of steel mill plant

of Soho Foundry and Engine Works, 1 Pear Street, Norris Fields, Sheffield

later moved to the Park Iron Works, Foley Street, Sheffield

1830 Company established by Joseph Davy, David Davy and Dennis Davy

1840 Built the first railway locomotive in Sheffield, for the Sheffield and Rotherham Railway. It had a 2-2-2 wheel arrangement, but the leading and trailing wheels were driven from the centre wheels by 4" belts. This system was invented by William Vickers.[1]

At some point between 1847 and 1852 they moved to Park Iron Works, Sheffield.

1856 Yorkshire Agricultural Society, Grand Show at Rotherham: 'Messrs. Davy, Park Iron Works, exhibit a six-horse portable steam engine, of strong make and well adapted for all purposes of a farm yard. We must say that although there are other engines in the field which have more finish about them than this engine, we believe that this will show itself inferior to none. There is one remarkable feature the history of this identical engine — namely, that it is only five days ago since it was commenced!!' [2]

1861 On the death of Joseph Davy, the partnership between him, David Davy and Dennis Davy, as Davy Brothers, was dissolved; the business was then continued by David Davy[3]

1864 Letter: 'Sir, — Your paragraph respecting a large anvil block in this morning's paper came under my observation, and I should feel obliged if you would say that it is to form the bed for one of a number of hammers now being made by my firm for Messrs. Burys and Co.; and it may perhaps be worth your while to chronicle the fact that nine-tenths of the hammers put down here for the last three years emanate from the same source. I am, sir, yours truly, For Davy Brothers, ALFRED DAVY. Park Iron Works, ......' [4]

1871 Dissolution of the Partnership between Alfred Davy, David Davy, Abraham Davy the younger, Abraham Davy, and Walter Scott Davy, of the Park Iron Works, in Sheffield, Steel Rollers, and Millwrights, trading under the firm of Davy Brothers, as regards Alfred Davy. The other partners continued to trade as Davy Brothers; whilst Mr. Alfred Davy was to trade on his own account[5]

1872 Davy Brothers Ltd was incorporated as a public Limited Company to acquire the Park Iron Works. The company was registered on 10 October, to acquire the business of the firm of the same name as engineers, boiler makers and steel rollers. [6]

1891 Advert. Engineers and boilermakers. [7]

1901 Directory: Davy Bros of Park Ironworks, Foley Street, Sheffield. Makers of Lancashire, Cornish and marine boilers up to 200lbs working pressure and up to 12ft 6in diameter. [8]

1901 Directory: Patent steam hammers. Any size to 50 tons. [9]

1904 The "River Don engine" was one of 4 engines built to the same design at Davy Bros, Park Iron Works, Attercliffe, between 1904 and 1905. Its purpose was to drive the new Armour Plate Mill at the Grimesthorpe Works of Cammell, Laird and Co and was subsequently moved to the River Don Works. Now preserved and run on steam at Kelham Island Museum. Another of these engines went to John Brown's Atlas Works, one went to Japan but the destination of the 4th is not known.

1905 See 1905 Industries of Sheffield and District

4,500 ton forging press for Witkowitz armour plate works, Moravia [10]

1911 5,000 ton forging press plant at Terni. [11]

1914 Specialities: Steel Works Plant and Machinery, High Speed Hydraulic Forging Presses, Steam Hammers etc. Employees between 800 and 1000. [12]

c.1921 Large new works opened at Darnall, Sheffield

1927 Advert for rolling plant machinery. [13]

1932 Received an order worth £202,000 from the Russian Government for a complete plant for producing railway wheels on a patent process of the Edgewater Steel Co of Pittsburgh. Work to be carried out in conjunction with Taylor Brothers of Manchester[14]

1934-5 A receiver was appointed for a time to reorganise the company[15]

1936 Acquired British Chilled Roll and Engineering Co of Middlesbrough[16]

1937 Change of name to Davy and United Engineering Co reflecting the agreement with United Engineering and Foundry Co of Pittsburgh that both companies would manufacture and sell the products of the other in their respective areas; also exchange of directors[17].

Park Iron Works

The 1903 O.S. map[18] shows the Park Iron Works as a collection of buildings of various shapes and sizes along the southern bank of the River Don. The western end was on Leveson Street, overlooked by Attercliffe Road Station. The southern face of the main building was on Foley Street. This street joined Effingham Street, which then bounded the southern flank of the works. There was an internal railway system, but there was no connection to the main railway systems. The northern corner of the works coincided with a wide weir on the River Don. On the opposite side of the river were the Crescent Steel Works and Norfolk Bridge Steel Works.

The book 'Sheffield Steel' by K C Barraclough (Sheffield City Museums, 1976) includes several Davy Bros works photos. One is an exterior view taken from the junction of Foley and Leveson Streets c.1900. This shows the south western end of the works, dominated by a tall two-bay building whose loading bay opens onto Leveson Street. One of the c.1900 interior shots shows assembly work being undertaken in one of these bays, which is served by a rope-driven overhead crane. These buildings were demolished in 2007, as can be seen in an online photograph [19]. Although the old buildings have gone, the boundary wall along Effingham Street may be original, being built of random stone blocks, capped with what appear to be slag blocks.

Another c.1900 photo shows an apparently older machine shop, with a less than ideal layout. The building is low, with a wooden roof structure, and individual wall- or post-cranes are installed to serve the large machine tools. These were evidently used in conjunction with a narrow gauge railway running through the shop.

Note that Park Iron Works was originally occupied by Booth and Co.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. 'British Steam Locomotive Builders' by James W. Lowe. Published in 1975. ISBN 0-905100-816
  2. Sheffield Daily Telegraph - Tuesday 05 August 1856
  3. The London Gazette, 12 February 1861
  4. Sheffield Daily Telegraph, 15th December 1864
  5. London Gazette 9 May 1871
  6. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  7. 1891 Post Office London Trades Directory
  8. White's Directory of Sheffield and Rotherham, 1901 p848
  9. White's Directory of Sheffield and Rotherham, 1901 p1004
  10. [1] US Special Agents' Series, Issues 33-40: Machine Tool Trade in Austria-Hungary, Denmark, Russia and Netherlands, 1910
  11. The Engineer of 22nd September 1911 p312
  12. 1914 Whitakers Red Book
  13. Mechanical World Year Book 1927. Published by Emmott and Co of Manchester. Advert p99
  14. Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Friday 30 September 1932
  15. The Times, Jul 11, 1935
  16. The Times, Sep 17, 1936
  17. The Times, 24 March 1937
  18. The Godfrey Edition map: Yorkshire Sheet 294.08: Sheffield 1903 [2]
  19. [3] ‘Picture Sheffield’ website: Photo showing demolition of works in 2007