Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

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Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 149,887 pages of information and 235,419 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.

Eastwood, Swingler and Co

From Graces Guide

of Victoria and Railway Iron Works, Derby


1867 James Eastwood (1808-1874) with his son amalgamated their business, James Eastwood and Sons (of Derby), with that of their neighbours, Messrs. Swingler and Son, the two works being carried on under the style of Eastwood, Swingler and Co.

1870s Produced large iron girder bridges for the approaches to Manchester Central Station over Castlefield Junction.

1873-4 Both senior partners (James Eastwood (1808-1874) and Thomas Swingler) died.

1886 The company was registered November 30, to acquire the business of the firm of the same name as ironmasters. [1]

April 1925 Firm in voluntary liquidation [2]

June 1925 The works had been acquired by Thomas W. Ward Ltd of Sheffield. [3]

December 1927 The works were acquired by Derby Corporation for the use of tram and bus sheds, and a sale was organised of all Eastwood, Swingler & Co plant and tools, including office furniture [4] The sale particulars can be found in the Derby Daily Telegraph, 3 December 1927 p6.

The following information is condensed from a 2012 article by Tony Ruff[5]:-

James Eastwood learned his trade at the Ambergate forge run by his father for Sir Francis Hurt.

He worked briefly at the Codnor Park Ironworks, and later in Manchester, before moving to the Mersey Steel and Iron Co.

In 1847, he returned to Derbyshire and went into partnership with ironfounder Thomas Frost, who died in 1853.

Thomas Swingler had established the Victoria Foundry by 1855, while Eastwood built his Railway ironworks on neighbouring land.

In 1867, James Eastwood and Thomas Swingler and their sons Reuben Eastwood and Henry Swingler became partners, their buisiness producing a wide range of ironwork for railways.

From the June 1898 Proceedings of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers:

"These extensive works, which cover an area of 28 acres, comprise rolling mills for the manufacture of all descriptions of iron; foundries in which castings of all sizes and metals are made and forges for the manufacture of wheels and axles.

"The vast capabilities of this establishment may be easily recognised by the fact that Messrs Eastwood Swingler and Co have carried out contracts for roofing the Customs Houses at Port Louis, Mauritius; built bridges in Trinidad, Dominica and St Vincent, West Indies; the large market hall in Singapore; bridges for the Peruvian and Australian Governments, including the beautiful bridge over Morphett Street in Adelaide; the mole at Valparaiso.

"The Chilean and New Zealand Governments have had bridges erected by this company, including the one spanning the Clarence River and the Waimakariri Gorge bridge at Canterbury, New Zealand.

"Their work can be seen on the Japanese and Swedish Railways, in St Petersburg, Romania, Turkey, Chile, Central and South America, in the Argentine Republic, and, in addition, on all the railways in India, including the new station at Kurrachee – one contract alone for the Indian Government consisting of an order of 235 bridges of various spans for the Kandahar Reserve Railway.

"Amongst a few of the various and important contracts carried out in this country may be mentioned the large goods warehouse at St Pancras, the extension of the London Road Station, Manchester, which, including the basement and bridges in connection therewith, consumed more than 7,000 tons of ironwork; the new station at Victoria, Manchester, for the Cheshire Lines Committee; the new Exchange Station Liverpool, for the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company; the whole of the bridges for the Cheshire Lines Committee's Railway from Manchester to Liverpool, including the very large viaducts at Castlefields, Manchester; the large lattice viaduct carrying the Great Northern Railway over the Erewash Valley at Ikeston, (the Bennerley Viaduct), together with a considerable number of small bridges for this line.

"They also constructed the large bowstring bridge (now the Lady Bay Road bridge at West Bridgford) over the River Trent at Nottingham, and numerous bridges over the line from Nottingham to Melton Mowbray and many other equally important contracts.

"At the present time, the company has in hand two very large warehouses for the Midland Railway at Bradford and Sheffield which, when complete, will represent more than 10,000 tons of ironwork.

"The firm has also manufactured and erected the greater proportion of the bridges on the new Derbyshire lines for the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway Company.

"Messrs Eastwood Swingler have never throughout the many vicissitudes with the iron trade over the last 20 years been obliged to close any of their departments owing to scarcity of work. The firm is capable of sustaining employment of about 1,200 men."

The senior partners died within a year of each other in 1873-4.

The buisness went into liquidation in 1925.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  2. Nottingham Evening Post, 8 June 1925 p6
  3. Nottingham Evening Post, 8 June 1925 p6
  4. Derby Daily Telegraph, 5 December 1927 p4
  5. [1] Derby Telegraph: 'Site's history of engineering started years before engine maker's time' by Tony Ruff: Derby Telegraph, posted October 20, 2012