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French Wall's iron works, of Smethwick
There was an estate in Smethwick called The French Walls from at least 1660.
In 1771 Sir John Peshale sold the estate to John Turner, merchant of Birmingham, and a lease was granted to John Jennens.
1790s A gun manufactory was operated at French Walls in Smethwick. John Whately ordered a 20 h.p. engine in 1791, to power the forge and the gun barrel grinding and boring mill. However it appears that the engine was not erected until late 1795/early 1796, when his brother Henry was running the works .
1796 Henry bought a 9 h.p. engine from Cox and Hall of Nottingham to power the forge, leaving the 20 h.p. engine to power the grinding and boring mill. The engines were placed in an unusual side by side arrangement, both connected to a large drum, which appears to have been connected to the forge apparatus. Both engines were fed from a common boiler, although a second was added in 1799 .
The property was passed before 1798 to Henry Piddock Whateley. He granted a lease to Edward Croxall of Shustock (Shustoke) county of Warwickshire, and Joseph Gibbs, a button maker of Birmingham for the French Walls property, and a farm, and land in Harborne and Handsworth.
In 1810 part of French Walls farm was advertised to let in "Aris's Birmingham Gazette".
1812 When the land was mortgaged to Isaac Spooner and Matthias Attwood, the property included a mill and a steam engine in Smethwick.
In 1815, "All those substantial and excellent buildings known as the French Walls Flour Mill" were auctioned. They were described as three miles from Birmingham on the banks of the Birmingham Canal. There were twenty dwelling houses in the lots of sale, and among these were three houses, described as having been the out buildings that used to belong to the homestead of French Walls Farm.
1836 Patent granted to Alexander Stocker of Bordesley Iron Works, Birmingham and Henry Downing of French Wall's iron works, Birmingham (gentlemen) for improvements in manufacturing rivets, screw blanks, and other articles .
Mid 1830s James Watt (Junior) took the French Wall's Works into his own hands and ran it in conjunction with the Soho Foundry, though as a separate concern, until old age forced him to give it up in 1842 .
The French Walls works provided the Soho Foundry with boiler plates and uses (semi-finished forgings for engines) as well as turning out merchant iron and steel. Scrap from the Foundry was returned to the French Walls for reworking .
1850 A further 6.5 acres were acquired to the west, divided from the original site by the Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Stour Valley Railway 
1857 Muntz died and the business was carried on by his eldest son, G. F. Muntz the younger