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British Industrial History

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Lilleshall Iron and Steel Co

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London 1891

of Lilleshall, Shropshire

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.

1802 The partnership was replaced by the Lilleshall Company, in which the Marquess was partner with four local capitalists, which took over the works; John Bishton received 5/16 of the Company.

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.

1830 The Donnington Wood and Old Lodge ironworks together produced 15,110 tons.

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

1851 the Lilleshall Co 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.

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 opened in Wrockwardine Wood township.

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[3].

1880 Lilleshall Iron Co posted prices for pig iron at Wolverhampton meeting of the iron trade[4].

1880 The Lilleshall Co, with its coal mines, blast furnaces, engineering and steel works, was founded. The Company was a private one in which Lord Granville's family had large interests[5].

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

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)[6].

1893 Whiston Bristow, later chairman of Low Temperature Carbonisation Ltd, joined Lilleshall Iron and Steel Co (sic) at the age of 15[7].

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[8]

1954 Lilleshall Iron and Steel Co denationalised; sold to Lilleshall Co[9].

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. The Times, 28 August 1873
  4. The Times, 14 October 1880
  5. The Basic Industries of Great Britain by Aberconway: Chapter XX
  6. Kelly's Directory of Herefordshire & Shropshire, 1895
  7. The Times, 31 March 1949
  8. Hansard 19 February 1951
  9. The Times, 15 December 1954