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British Industrial History

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John Spencer and Sons

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1852.
June 1880.
1881
1902. Plan of Works.
1912

of Newburn Steel Works, Newcastle-on-Tyne. (1908)

1810 The business was founded by John Spencer, who made files using water power in a mill previously used for corn. Spencer & Sons, otherwise known as Spencer's steel­works, operated for 119 years and supplied all the original requirements of Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns for the construction of the early rail locomotives and later supplied many of the shipyards.

1847 The original manufacturer of volute springs for railway use under Baillie's patent.

1851 Award at the 1851 Great Exhibition. See details at 1851 Great Exhibition: Reports of the Juries: Class V.

1867 Founder John Spencer died. Business taken over by his three sons: John Spencer, Michael Spencer and Thomas Spencer.[1]

1888 The company was registered on 30 April, to acquire the business of iron and steel manufacturers and engineers of the firm of the same name. [2]

c.1904 Made steel plates for the RMS Mauretania

1909 The local electricity company installed a 750kW Parsons turbine to extract power from the steam exhausted by the rolling mill's engines[3]

1912 (Advert)London Office Victoria Mansions, 32 Victoria Street, London S.W.

1913 Public shares issue[4]

1914 Steel manufacturers. Specialities: steel castings up to 40 tons, steel ship and boiler plates, the latter up to 13 ft wide, steel forgings by 1,000 and 2,000 ton hydraulic presses; springs, tool steel and files. Employees 1,800. [5]

In the decline of the 1900s, Spencer's steelworks faced a battle for survival and were eventually forced into volun­tary liquidation in 1924 with the loss of 2,000 jobs. The rolling mills were dismantled and sold to a Sheffield firm but the manufacture of forgings, castings, railway wagon springs, etc continued at Newburn.

1927 Mr R. S. Dalgleish, one time Sheriff of Newcastle, shipowner and head of Cowpen Dry Docks and Shipbuilding Co and others, acquired the forging department

1928 Firm (may have been) reconstituted as John Spencer and Sons (1928) Ltd

1929 Started again to make railway axle springs and other materials

1937 Manufacturers of laminated and coil springs, straight axles and light forgings. [6]

1937 Grant from the Nuffield Trust Fund to reconstruct and modernise the axle forging plant[7]

1960s Works closed

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. The Engineer 1905/05/05
  2. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  3. The Times, Mar 10, 1909
  4. The Times, Mar 11, 1913
  5. 1914 Whitakers Red Book
  6. 1937 The Aeroplane Directory of the Aviation and Allied Industries
  7. The Times, Mar 02, 1937