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 162,539 pages of information and 244,522 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.

Lilleshall Co

From Graces Guide
1851 Beam Blowing Engine made for Lilleshall ironworks by Murdoch, Aitken and Co
1851 Beam Blowing Engine
January 1872.
London 1891
1909. Gas blowing engines at the Barrow Haematite Iron and Steel Co Works.


1909. 1,100 B.H.P Gas Blowing Engine for Barrow Haematite Iron and Steel Co.
February 1911.
1912. Gas engine for Kamata, in Lilleshall’s works
1912. Lilleshall machine shop, Kamata flywheel/armature on vertical boring mill
1912, Kamata engine flywheel/armature
1931 Pumping engine at the Museum of Power
Flywheel on pumping engine at the Museum of Power
Exhibit at the Museum of Power.
Exhibit at the Museum of Power.
Exhibit at the Museum of Power.
Exhibit at the Museum of Power.
Engine No 2. 350 hp. Exhibit at the Museum of Power.

of Lilleshall, Shropshire

of St. Georges, Oakengates, Shropshire.

Lilleshall Company were coal and iron merchants, iron founders and manufacturers, steel manufacturers, and mechanical engineers. The company was noted for its winding, pumping and blast engines.

Earl Gower's formation of a company

1764 Earl Gower formed a company to construct the Donnington Wood Canal on his Lilleshall estate, to exploit its coal, lime and ironstone resources[1].

1785 Large-scale iron-making began with a furnace at Donnington Wood constructed by William Reynolds and Joseph Rathbone on land leased from Earl Gower, on the north side of the Donnington Wood Canal. Gower contributed £2,000 to the enterprise[2].

1796 John Bishton, agent to the 1st Marquess of Stafford, and his partners bought the works.

1801 John Bishton built two blast-furnaces.

Formation of the Lilleshall Company

1802 The partnership was replaced by the Lilleshall Company, in which the Marquess of Stafford's second son was a partner with four local capitalists, John Bishton the elder, James Birch, John Onions, and William Phillips[3]. John Bishton received 5/16 of the Company.

1807 The Snedshill ironworks, of which at least one furnace was managed by John Horton, was brought into the Lilleshall Company under a new partnership agreement[4].

1810 The Donnington Wood pig iron was of high quality; it was being used at the Soho Foundry, Smethwick at that time.

1825 Two new furnaces were started near the site of the Old Lodge.

c1830 Beam engine for the Lilleshall Co of Priors Lee pits; listed as made by St George's Ironworks [5].

1851 the Lilleshall Company built four blast furnaces at Euston Way, to double the company's pig iron production. Fuel came from 42 round coke ovens, with the hot blast provided by two beam engines.

1846-59 One Donnington Wood furnace was blown out but a third furnace was added at Old Lodge.

1859 The two remaining Donnington Wood furnaces were blown out and two more added at Old Lodge.

1861 Associated with the Donnington Wood furnaces was the nearby Yard, comprising a foundry and small engineering shop. It closed in 1861 when the New Yard engineering works (sometimes called the Phoenix Foundry) opened at St George's, in Wrockwardine Wood township. This marked the development of the Lilleshall Company as a major engineering concern[6]

1862 Built an exhibition railway locomotive and then built a number for their own use and for local collieries. [7]

In the 1860s the company built 8 pairs of blowing engines for blast furnaces, numerous steam hammers and saddle tank railway locomotives. Machines capable of handling the largest castings were installed.[8]

1866 Made a blowing engine for their blowing five cold-blast furnaces at their own works. Steam cylinders 40" dia, , blowing cylinders 86" dia, 8 ft 6" stroke [9]. See 1866 illustrations.

1868 Exhibited an express locomotive at the Paris Exhibition[10]

1873 Mr E. Jones, mining engineer of Lilleshall Iron and Coal and Engineering Co, delivered his inaugural address to the Institute of South Midlands Engineers[11].

1880 Lilleshall Iron Co posted prices for pig iron at Wolverhampton meeting of the iron trade[12].

1880 The Lilleshall Company, with its coal mines, blast furnaces, engineering and steel works, was incorporated.

1888 The last of the Old Lodge furnaces was blown out. Thereafter the company concentrated all its iron and steel making at Priors Lee.

1888 The Snedshill Iron Co was absorbed. [13]

1890 Lilleshall Iron Co Ltd at Shifnal, and at St Georges, Wellington (mechanical engineers). Lilleshall Co Ltd, at St Georges, Wellington; Snedshill, Wellington and Priors Lee, Shifnal(iron master and manufacturers) and Lilleshall, Newport (iron merchants); Snedshill, Wellington (iron founders, steel manufacturers)[14].

1890 Negotiations over wages with the Shropshire blast-furnace men was conducted by Mr Perrott of Lilleshall Co[15].

1891 'The new engine-house in connection with tbe extension works of the Cambridge University and Town Waterworks at Fulbourn was opened on Monday week. The engines have been supplied by the Lilleshall Co., of Staffordshire.'[16]

1893 Whiston Alfred Bristow, later chairman of Low Temperature Carbonisation Ltd, joined Lilleshall Co at the age of 15[17].

1895? Supplied vertical twin-cylinder winding engine for Rockingham Colliery.

1895 Operated as coal merchants at several places in the county and at Dudley.

1898 Horizontal Engine with gear drive for Metropolitan Water Board (Southfleet Station).

1900 Two engines for Borough of West Ham (Abbey Road).

1902 Installed a large compound blowing engine of their own manufacture at their Priors Lee Works. HP steam cylinder 42" dia., HP 70", two air cylinders 95" diameter, all 5 ft stroke. [18]

1908 Advert: Electrical Blowing Gas Engines, Large Powers[19]

1911 Built several large gas engines to work on producer gas[20]. Received a repeat order from William Roberts (Tipton) for a steam blowing engine[21]. Supplied 4 engines for a Mond Gas installation in Japan as part of a power station to supply the electric railways[22]

1912 Supplied pump for Kent Waterworks plant at Dartford[23]

1912 Produced 2130 HP Nuremberg-type gas engines for the railway power station, Kamata, near Yokohama.[24]. See illustrations above.

1922 The Lilleshall Company owned collieries at Priors Lee Hall, Shifnal and in Shropshire.

1923 Two Horizontal Rotative Engines for The West Cheshire Water Board (Prenton Station).

The Company was a private one in which Lord Granville's family had large interests[25].

1929-31 Three pumping engines supplied to Langford Pumping Station, Essex (see photo).

1931 The New Yard works at St. George's closed.

c.1948 The Lilleshall Iron and Steel Co was incorporated to hold the iron and steel interests prior to nationalisation

1951 Lilleshall Iron and Steel Co was nationalised under the Iron and Steel Act; became part of the Iron and Steel Corporation of Great Britain[26]

After de-nationalisation

1954 Lilleshall Iron and Steel Co was denationalised; sold to Lilleshall Co[27].

1961 Structural and mechanical engineers, manufacturers of rolled steel products, glazed bricks, sanitaryware, Spectra-Glaze and concrete products. 750 employees. [28]

1985 Lilleshall Fasteners was renamed Lilleshall Industries

1987 After a period of declining trading, acquired Serco-Ryan and A. D. Wood Group; continued steel stock holding activities. Name changed to Lilleshall plc[29]

1993 The company had 3 main areas of activity:[30]

1994 acquired Trutite Fasteners.

Earl Granville - Ironmaster

His Ironworks.
Earl Granville takes a deep interest in all that relates to the trade, and is well and constantly advised of the various changes, commercially and otherwise, that are continually taking place. His lordship has extensive ironworks in Shropshire and North Staffordshire. There are in the former county four blast-furnaces at Priorslee constantly occupied in making best grey forge-iron, which is mostly consumed by his own works at Snedshill and the leading Staffordshire firms. There is a group of five furnaces at the Lodge in Shropshire making cold-blast iron, which supplies Snedshill, his lordship's own Phoenix engine-shop, Staffordshire, Sheffield, and Leeds with this marvellously superior iron.
Wherever strength is required in casting, such as engine-beams or cannon, the cold-blast is invariably used as a mixture at every noted engine-shop in this and other countries ; for strength this iron is a sine qua non as a mixture. It is also absolutely necessary for chilled rolls and all kinds of chilled work, and is particularly adapted to the great chilled rollers which constitute the heavy crushing machinery of powder-mills at these national manufactories in different parts of the world.
In Shropshire also is his lordship's Phoenix Foundry, a large and well-equipped establishment, where locomotives (colliery,) steam-engines of all classes and sizes, steam hammers, presses, with all and every kind of heavy machinery is turned out to perfection.
His lordship is also the principal partner of the Snedshill Ironworks, in the same county, where the best boiler-plates are made, " Snedshill" brand for this class being unrivalled in quality. These works have 39 puddling furnaces, extensive wire-mills, gobbing fires, and all the appliances for making best charcoal iron. His lordship's partners here are Mr. T. Horton, Mr. Samuel Horton, Mr. Bullock, and another.
On the Lilleshall Estate the coal and ironstone are more abundant than in any other in Shropshire; a hospital is established for the workmen schools and a church have been erected by the noble proprietor and his co-partners; and, to the honour of the company, great facilities are afforded the workmen in cheap cottages with gardens about the estate. The workmen are happy and contented, and we never hear of strikes, and rarely of disagreements, with the employers and the men of this great Estate.
In North Staffordshire his lordship has eight blast furnaces, formerly at Shelton; but believe now the whole of these great smelting-works are being reconstructed at Etruria, which is contiguous. Near the same spot is the Shelton Bar Ironworks, one of the largest in Staffordshire, where plates, bars, angles, tees, and channel iron of the largest dimensions are made. This work has 95 puddling furnaces, with a very large and valuable stock of rolls adapted to all specialities in tees, angles, channel iron, &c., &c.
His lordship has altogether 17 blast-furnaces, with very extensive collieries and clayband ironstone pits, in the above counties. If we take into account the Snedshill Iron Works, the Shelton Bar Ironworks, and the great Phoenix Engine Shop, there can be no doubt that his lordship is the most extensive iron-master England.'[31]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Aristocrats and the Industrial Revolution: The Leveson-Gowers by Judith Watkin
  2. Lilleshall: Economic history, in A History of the County of Shropshire: Volume 11: Telford (1985), pp. 155-164. URL: Date accessed: 28 October 2010
  3. 'Lilleshall: Economic history', A History of the County of Shropshire: Volume 11: Telford (1985), pp. 155-164 [1]
  4. 'Wombridge: Economic history', A History of the County of Shropshire: Volume 11: Telford (1985), pp. 291-296. [2]
  5. The Steam Engine in Industry by George Watkins in two volumes. Moorland Publishing. 1978. ISBN 0-903485-65-6
  6. The industrial archaeology of Shropshire, by Barrie Stuart Trinder, published by Phillimore, 1996
  7. British Steam Locomotive Builders by James W. Lowe. Published in 1975. ISBN 0-905100-816
  8. The industrial archaeology of Shropshire, by Barrie Stuart Trinder, published by Phillimore, 1996
  9. [3] Engineering 16 Nov 1866, p.366
  10. The Times March 2, 1868
  11. The Times, 28 August 1873
  12. The Times, 14 October 1880
  13. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  14. Kelly's Directory of Herefordshire & Shropshire, 1895
  15. Birmingham Daily Post, 6 February 1890
  16. Bury and Norwich Post - Tuesday 24 March 1891
  17. The Times, 31 March 1949
  18. 'The Engineer' 13th February 1902
  19. The Times, 9 December 1908; p.19
  20. The Times January 11, 1911
  21. The Times, March 8, 1911
  22. The Times, March 15, 1911
  23. The Times October 30, 1912
  24. Engineering 20th September 1912
  25. The Basic Industries of Great Britain by Aberconway: Chapter XX
  26. Hansard 19 February 1951
  27. The Times, 15 December 1954
  28. 1961 Dun and Bradstreet KBE
  29. 1988 Annual report
  30. 1993 Annual report
  31. Cornishman - Thursday 25 July 1878