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 163,364 pages of information and 245,904 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.

Newton, Chambers and Co

From Graces Guide
1873. Seen in a house in Rochester, Kent in 2019.
March 1896.
August 1898.
September 1902.
March 1903.
October 1903.
February 1904.
September 1909.
December 1910.
January 1911.
February 1913.
April 1913.
1918. Coke Oven Installations.
March 1919.
Nov 1919.
November 1920.
Dec 1921.
March 1922.
1943 April.
May 1943
Jan 1945.
March 1946
1949. Izal Factory.
August 1953. Thorncliffe News.
December 1954. Redfyre.
December 1956

Newton, Chambers and Co of Thorncliffe Iron Works and Collieries, near Sheffield. (1914)

of Thorncliffe, near Sheffield. Telephone: Ecclesfield 40071. Cables: "Newton, Sheffield". (1929);

of Moorside, Sheffield; and Thorncliffe, Chapeltown, Sheffield; of Thorncliffe, near Sheffield. Telephone: Ecclesfield 38171. Cables: "Newton, Sheffield". London Office: Grand Buildings, Trafalgar Square. Telephone: Whitehall 4130. (1947)

1789 George Newton and Thomas Chambers entered into a partnership. It went on to become one of England's largest industrial companies of that era. [1]

1792 George Newton and Thomas Chambers formed an iron business, in partnership with Miles Maskew (1752-1823). George Newton was a businessman, Thomas Chambers a craftsman in iron and their partnership had the aims of smelting and casting iron, in various forms, Maskew was a London Tea Merchant who provided the necessary financial backing for the new company.

1792 They bought the mining rights to the Thorncliffe valley from the Earl Fitzwilliam and set up their works on the Thorncliffe site near Chapeltown, to the north of Sheffield.

1793 Company founded. The works were at the Phoenix Foundry, Sheffield, which went into production casting iron goods.

As the Thorncliffe collieries, ironstone workings and blast furnace operations were developed, the Phoenix Foundry in central Sheffield became less important to the business.

1800 George Newton moved his family from Sheffield to Chapeltown to be nearer the new works

By 1802 April: the Phoenix foundry was no longer required.

The Napoleonic wars with France began just as the country was entering a period of economic stagnation. Under pressure from his own partner in London, Miles Maskew had to withdraw, leaving Chambers and Newton in need of new partners and additional capital. This want was met by Henry Longden (1754-1812), funded by his uncle John Turner from Sheffield.

Longden, Newton and Chambers later became Longden, Newton, Chambers and Scotts as Robert Scott and John Scott, London merchants joined the business, and provided further funds to extend operations.

1811 Longden withdrew - the company became Newton, Scott, Chambers and Co. though Longden’s son remained engaged in the works. John Scott’s share was bought by his brother Robert Scott.

1815 The partners met with William Murdoch, the inventor of coal-gas lighting, this being seen as providing a growth in work for their foundry. Coal, from the company’s mines, was provided as charge for beehive coke ovens which were built on the site.

1820 A new partnership was signed, along with a new 21 year lease from Earl Fitzwilliam.

1820 A tragic casting accident killed Isaac Newton (1792-1820) and eight of the casting workmen.

1820 'Last Wednesday, in the afternoon, about 4 o’clock, while the workmen at the iron-foundry of Messrs. Newton, Scott, Chambers, and Newtons, of Thorncliff iron-works, between Barnsley and Sheffield, were employed in casting a shaft in an upright position, supposed to contain from 5 to 6 tons, the metal exploded with a tremendous report, by which terrible accident three men were killed upon the spot, and from 20 to 30 others were severely burnt, two of whom had expired on Thursday night.'[2]


1820 'Awful Catastrophe. We have this week to communicate the melancholy result of a most fatal accident, which occurred about four o'clock on Wednesday afternoon, at the Thorncliffe Iron works, near this place. The workmen were engaged, in the midst of the thunder-storm, in casting for a steam-engine a large iron shaft, of upwards of five tons weight : when they were pouring the metal into the mould prepared for its formation, it suddenly exploded; the consequence was, three men were killed on the spot, and a great many were severely injured, three of whom, we learn, have since died. All the managing partners were present, and with the exception of Mr. Isaac Newton, providentially escaped ; in attempting to retreat, he had the misfortune to fall : the event proved fatal - after lingering under the most exquisite torture, be expired the following morning at ten o'clock. There are some others who were burnt on this melancholy occasion, of whose final recovery the most serious doubts are entertained. As no other cause can be reasonably assigned for this remarkable phenomenon, it is conjectured, by the proprietors, that it had its origin in the electric fluid being attracted by the sulphurous steam which emanated from the casting.- (Sheffield Mercury)'[3]. Or perhaps simply an explosion due to steam generated in damp sand?

1831 "NOTICE is hereby given, that the Partnership between us the undersigned principals and legal representatives of principals, who have carried on trade as Iron-Masters, Coal Getters, and Venders, Grocers, Drapers, and Farmers, in the firms of Newton, Scott, Chambers, and Company, the Thorncliffe Company, or any other firm or title, at and near Thorncliffe, Mortomley, and Chapeltown, all in the Parishes of Ecclesfield and Tankersley, and County of York, and in London or elsewhere, and in every other trade or business in which have we been concerned, so far as relates to Joseph Chambers, deceased, was dissolved by his death on the 28th day of February 1824, and so far as relates to the remaining parties, is dissolved by mutual consent as from the 1st day of July last. As witness our hands this 28th day of October 1831[4].


1831 the old partnership was dissolved and a new company, Newton, Chambers & Co. was established, consisting of:

John Chambers (1805-1869), grandson of the founding Thomas, joined the partnership

1856? Supplied a beam pumping engine.

1869 George Dawson, after marrying into the Chambers family and a successful commercial career with the firm, became a partner.

1873 Thomas Chambers Newton and George Dawson, both of the Thorncliffe Iron Works, near Sheffield, in the county of York gave notice in respect of the invention of " improvements in kitchen ranges."[5]

1881 Public company. The company was registered on 24 October, to take over the ironworks, collieries and business of the firm of the same name. [6], George Dawson became the Managing Director of the company.

1893 Introduced Izal, the new non-poisonous disinfectant [7].

1894 Awarded a silver medal for their stable fittings (Thorncliffe Ironworks). [8]

By the end of the nineteenth century the company was not only mining coal and ironstone but building blast furnaces, coke ovens and chemical plant. Heavy section iron, cast in the foundry was used in two iconic structures: Tower Bridge, crossing the river Thames in London and the Eddystone Lighthouse.

1901 Boiler makers. [9]

1905 See 1905 Industries of Sheffield and District

1912 Newton Fire Extinguisher Co incorporated as a limited company to carry on the fire engineering department of Newton, Chambers and Co. Ltd.

1914 Colliery owners, manufacturers of pig iron, gas works plant, tanks, bridges, all kinds of castings; proprietors of disinfectant Izal. [10]

1920 The Rockingham and Thorncliffe coke oven and by-products works were put into a separate company: Thorncliffe Coal Distillation Ltd[11]

1927 See Aberconway for information on the company and its history. Was one of the main companies making stove-grates.

1927 - May. The firm blow out their No. 1 blast-furnace towards the end of last week and lit their re-built. No. 2 furnace. Their third furnace has recently been dismantled. The work of rebuilding the No. 2 furnace was carried out by the firm itself, and a number of new features are embodied in the construction particularly as regards the methods of charging and filling. [12]

1929 Amalgamation with Hoyland Silkstone Coal and Coke Co[13]; 7 pits with 3,960 employees.

1929 The centrifugal castings business carried out at Thorncliffe Ironworks was combined with that of the Sheepbridge Stokes Centrifugal Castings Co[14]

1929 Listed Exhibitor - British Industries Fair. Manufacturers of Insecticides, Disinfectants, Coal Tar Oils and Chemicals. (Stand No. K.107) [15]

1932 Working arrangement with Wellman, Smith, Owen Engineering to consolidate their interests in the iron and steel industries; purchased shares and nominated directors to Wellman's board[16].

WWII The Thorncliffe works came under the control of the Admiralty in 1939. A new workshop was constructed at Warren Lane, a short distance away from the Thorncliffe works, which was used to build army vehicles and became the largest manufacturer of Churchill tanks for the war effort. The infamous traitor, William Joyce (Lord Haw Haw), in one of his radio broadcasts threatened to "dot the I" on the Izal name with a bomb. It was intended to destroy the source of the Churchill tanks. A near miss followed but the works remained intact.

1947 British Industries Fair Advert for Industrial Hygiene. 'The Izal System of Industrial Hygiene'. Manufacturers of Chemical Products for use in Hygiene Including: Disinfectant Fluids and Powders, Insecticidal Fluids and Powders, Liquid Soaps, Cleansers, Antiseptic Toilet Rolls, etc. [of Thorncliffe] (Chemicals etc. Section - Olympia, Ground Floor, Stand No. A.1149) [17]

In 1947 Newton, Chambers and Co started producing the American brands of Koehring excavators under the Newton Chambers Koehring, name, NCK.

1948 The nationalisation of the coal and steel industries saw the group sell off its interests in these fields (N.C. Thorncliffe Collieries Ltd and N.C. Thorncliffe Coal Distillation Ltd) but many others remained, in particular tar distillates, the basis of many products manufactured by its Izal subsidiary.

1949 Introduced an excavator with name NCK which was made in a factory previously used to make Churchill tanks; the consultancy arrangement with US Koehring Group gave access to the latest technology[18].

1952 All types of gas plant[19]

1958 The engineering part of the group designed and supplied coal-gas and chemical plant. Took over Ransomes and Rapier, in 1958, to add to its portfolio and so became a major maker of excavators, drag-lines and other construction equipment. The group also set up Redfyre as a marketing company for coal-burning grates which were made in its foundry. Changes, in particular the Clean Air Act, saw the company move into light fabrications and oil-fired central heating equipment. [20]

1960 Acquired Ronuk, makers of polishes and dyes[21]

1961 Manufacturers of blast furnaces, coke ovens, gas, steel and chemical works; excavators and Redfyre burning fires and back-boilers. Specialists in the manufacture of various germicides including Izal, Sanizal, Zalpine toilet rolls. 4,000 employees. [22]

1961 The company was a member of group that offered to subscribe to new shares in Hadfields as a way of injecting cash into that company[23].

1968 Failed in an attempt to take over Jeyes Sanitary Compounds Co[24]

1968 Mechanised foundry for up to 20 tons. (Newton Chambers Engineering). [25]

1970 Closed the iron foundries which had been loss making for 6 years[26].

1972 Planned to close Ransome and Rapiers' Ipswich works and move the business to Thorncliffe but the group was taken over by industrial holding company Central and Sheerwood who kept the Ipswich site open[27].

1973 The oil-fired boiler market collapsed in the autumn, with the increase in oil prices.

1973 Izal was sold to Sterling-Winthrop[28].

1977 Licensed process for dry-quenching of coke from Russia[29].

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. [1] Wikipedia
  2. Evening Mail - Wednesday 26 July 1820
  3. Yorkshire Gazette - Saturday 29 July 1820
  4. The London Gazette 8 November 1831
  5. London Gazette 22 April 1873
  6. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  7. The Times, 21 August 1893
  8. The Engineer 1894/08/03 p113
  9. White's Directory of Sheffield and Rotherham, 1901 p849
  10. 1914 Whitakers Red Book
  11. The Engineer 1921
  12. The Engineer 1927/05/13
  13. The Times, Dec 17, 1929
  14. The Times, Oct 01, 1929
  15. 1929 British Industries Fair p125
  16. The Times, 25 May 1933
  17. 1947 British Industries Fair Advert 272; and p200
  18. The Times, 20 May 1949
  19. [2] Historic England
  20. The Steam Engine in Industry by George Watkins in two volumes. Moorland Publishing. 1978/9. ISBN 0-903485-65-6
  21. The Times, 30 April 1960
  22. 1961 Dun and Bradstreet KBE
  23. The Times 20 April 1961
  24. The Times Oct. 11, 1968
  25. The Engineer of 25th October 1968 p622
  26. The Times, 7 November 1970
  27. The Times, 2 November 1977
  28. The Times, 8 September 1973
  29. The Times, 8 September 1977
  • [3] Hemingfield Colliery