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 162,522 pages of information and 244,521 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.

Hepworth Iron Co

From Graces Guide

Hepworth Iron Co, manufacturer of clay products including bricks, of Hepworth, Yorkshire.

of Hazlehead, Yorkshire

c.1857 Business established to manfacture clay products at Hepworth

1897 Hepworth Iron Co incorporated as a public company to acquire the business

1908 Became a private company

1921 Contract from General Post Office for supply of clay conduits for telephone cables underground; company then concentrated on salt glazed pipes and sanitary pipes.

1938 Ceased brick production to concentrate on the manufacture of conduit and clay pipes.

1952 Hepworth Iron Co (Engineering) Ltd incorporated as a subsidiary engaged in high precision engineering and manufacture of hydraulic equipment.

1954 Hepworth Refractories Ltd incorporated as a subsidiary to take over the manufacture of products for steel foundries.

1955 Hepworth Coal and Clay Ltd incorporated as a subsidiary to take over the coal and clay producing assets of the company

1958 Reduction in demand for conduit by the GPO; Hepworth concentrated on sanitary pipes; acquired Gibbs and Canning

1959 Acquired Standard (Buckley) Ltd and the pipe departments of Sneyd Brickworks Ltd

1959 Converted into a public company again[1].

1960 Acquired Albion Clay Co and Herbert Heaton (Clayware) Ltd[2].

1961 Acquired 2 more pipe makers Fred Temperley and Sons Ltd and J. Duckett and Son Ltd[3]. Acquired through subsidiaries Herbert Brook (Fireclay) Ltd and La Brecque Engineering Co Ltd.

1962 Acquired old established pipe maker Thomas Knowles Ltd[4]. Acquired 80% of the shares of Lochside Coal and Fireclay Ltd[5].

1963 Acquired North Bitchburn Fireclay[6] and 75% of John Crankshaw Co of Horwich[7] Invested in a new large clay piping making facility[8].

Hepworth Iron diversified in several directions - initially manufacturing plastic pipes for rising mains (for which clay cannot be used), then extending this side of the business into plastic joints and couplings, initially through a joint venture with a Dutch company to market rigid PVC products in the UK[9].

1964 Of Hazelhead, Stocksbridge, Sheffield. Acquired from Honeywell Controls Ltd., Greenford, Middx, exclusive rights to apply the full range of "Versa-Trace" electro-hydraulic tracer systems to machine tools in the United Kingdom.[10]

1964 Acquired the whole of the issued share capitals of Ketch Plastics Ltd. of Litchfield, Gwent Pipe and Firebrick Company Ltd., of Pontnewydd, Monmouthshire, and Oak Brick Company Ltd., of Pontypool In addition it has acquired from the National Star Brick Company Ltd., the fixed assets comprising the Llantarnam Pipeworks and from Powell Duffryn Ltd. the fixed assets comprising the Aberaman Pipeworks.[11]

A subsidiary company - The Lochside Coal and Fireclay Company Ltd. - has acquired the whole of the issued shared capital of Loudon and Russell Ltd. of Newmains, Wishaw, Lanarkshire and also the fixed assets of the Cumbernauld Pipeworks from the Glenboig Union Fireclay Company Ltd.[12]

Another subsidiary - The North Bitchburn Fireclay Company Ltd. - has acquired from Crossley Building Products Ltd., the fixed assets comprising the Fir Tree Pipeworks.[13]

1966 New factories opened but there were teething problems[14]. Acquired 60 percent of Bartol Plastics[15]

1967 Acquired Walker and Hoare (Engineering) Ltd and Mould Tools (Fareham) Ltd, tool makers, to extend the company's range of machine tool interests[16]

1967 Acquired Ulster Fireclay Group[17].

1968 Hepworth Iron Co effectively took over Ellistown Pipes[18]. Then concentrated production at two centres - the original premises at Penistone and the Ellistown works in the Midlands.

1969 Acquired pipe interests from Doulton pottery group[19]. The tunnel kiln capacity had doubled due to acquisitions and internal investment[20]. Discussions with General Refractories about a merger; would create a large clay-using group from the 2 largely complementary companies. Hepworth had grown rapidly through investment in tunnel kilns and by acquiring companies which could be improved in that way, and companies with major clay assets[21]. General Refractories would bring a major interest in refractories and a substantial stake in industrial sands, including top quality silica sand used in the manufacture of glass.

1970 Hepworth Iron, through its subsidiary Bartol Plastics Ltd, was a major supplier of plastic pipes for use within dwellings as well as a significant supplier of plastics pressure piping.

1970 A new company, Hepworth Ceramic Holdings, was formed as a holding company[22] to effect a merger between Hepworth Iron and General Refractories Group Ltd.

1971 Hepworth Iron acquired Fordham Plastics Ltd, maker of plastic cisterns, and extended its product range to plastic baths. Later added PVC-framed windows, polybutylene hot and cold water supply systems and kitchen sinks to the product range.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times, 15 September 1959
  2. The Times, 29 September 1960
  3. The Times, 28 September 1961
  4. The Times, 21 August 1962
  5. The Times, 6 December 1962
  6. The Times, 3 January 1963
  7. The Times, 4 February 1963
  8. The Times, 21 August 1963
  9. The Times, 9 September 1963
  10. The Engineer 1964/10/02
  11. The Engineer 1964/09/11
  12. The Engineer 1964/09/11
  13. The Engineer 1964/09/11
  14. The Times, 11 July 1967
  15. The Times, Oct 21, 1966
  16. The Times, Aug 18, 1967
  17. The Times, 5 October 1967
  18. The Times, 26 April 1968
  19. The Times 23 January 1969
  20. The Times, 16 August 1969
  21. The Times, 3 October 1969
  22. The Times, 4 February 1970