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British Industrial History

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Royal Phoenix Iron Works

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Parkgate Street, Dublin

Established as the Phoenix Iron Works in 1808 by Richard Robinson.

1839 'ROYAL PHENIX IRON WORKS. This extensive iron foundry has been open so the public during the last few days, for the benefit of the Mendicity Institution. Independent of the good which will result to the suffering poor for whom the collection at the entrance is intended, a visit to this establishment must be a treat of real enjoyment to all who take an interest in the more curious and complicated works of art. The ingenious process of moulding and casting, from the most delicate and richly finished articles to the largest factory wheels, as well as the infinite variety of interesting and extraordinary purposes to which steam-power of the highest rate can be applied in such a concern, are alike worthy of attention, and meet the eye in every direction.' [1]

1839 Advertisement: 'MOST INTERESTING EXHIBITION PHENIX IRON WORKS. THE Public are respectfully informed that Mr. Robinson, having in the kindest manner acceded to the very general wish expressed, to allow his extensive manufactory to be exhibited for another week, the Works will accordingly continue open to Public view every day during this week from Ten to Four o'Clock.
Admission, One Shilling - Children, sixpence. The receipts to be applied in aid of the almost exhausted funds of the Mendicity Institution.
To such as may not have seen the ordinary process of large Iron Works, Bar Iron heated, slit, and rolled into hoops, or Metal melted, and run into moulds, it is submitted that the sight will prove a most attractive one, and Parents, during those holiday times, cannot give their Children a greater treat, or a more instructive lesson, than by bringing them to see this truly wonderful exhibition.' [2]

1843 'The Right Hon. the Lord Mayor visited Alderman Gardiner's establishment in Queen-street, on Saturday, to inspect some new tobacco presses of a rare construction which were cast in the foundry of the late Richard Robinson, Esq., of the Phoenix Iron Works. These presses, which cost the worthy alderman 1,000l., are so constructed as to bring by a species of brass screw a pressure of ten tons weight on a quantity of tobacco without any manual labour whatever. His lordship partook of an elegant dejeune which was prepared for the occasion, and proceeded on his route through the markets, after expressing himself highly pleased with his visit, and the hospitality of the worthy alderman.' [3]

On Richard Robinson's death in 1843, William Robinson became the proprietor. However, after several years W. Robinson was confined to a lunatic asylum for a number of years. On his return to society he instigated legal action concerning control of the business. The reporting of the proceedings is obscured by the fog of legal jargon.

1849 Royal Visit to Dublin: 'The first object calculated to attract particular notice on crossing the King's Bridge was the brilliant appearance of the gateway of the Royal Phoenix Iron works, upon which the initials V. and A. with the crown between, blazed out with a dazzling effulgence.'[4]

1860s - 1870s Proprietor Edward Toomey

1863 Made a 'high pressure' steam engine to drive the machinery at the new wooden wheelmaking works of Hutton and Sons of Summer Hill, Dublin [5]

1873 Supplied mash tuns, iron columns, machinery and engines for the new Greenmount Distillery, Dublin [6]

1878 'TO IRON FOUNDERS AND OTHERS. TO BE DISPOSED OF, at the Royal Phoenix Ironworks, several engines and boilers to match, lathes, planing and drilling machines, punching presses and iron rollers, putty mill, scrab(crab?) winches, single and double purchase, shafting, pulleys, and wheels, patterns of all descriptions, bellows, hearths, anvils and all tools necessary for smithy purposes. Foundry fixtures of all kinds, tools for boiler shop, viz:- Furnace, templets, and force pump, steam valves, mill machinery, leather belting and buckets, two sets of three through (throw) pumps, columns and pipes, beams, scales, and weights ; oil cisterms, tanks, timber, granite, quoins and bricks, with numberless other items. The above WILL BE SOLD privately in convenient loys to suit purchasers.[7]

1880 Advertisement: 'CITY OF DUBLIN. TRUSTEES' SALE OF EXTENSIVE PREMISES, PLANT, STOCK. &c.
IMPORTANT TO IRON FOUNDERS, ENGINEERS, DISTILLERS, &c. JAMES CONNOLLY and SON have been instructed by the Trustees of the late Edward Toomey TO DISPOSE OF BY PUBLIC AUCTION, On the Premises, on WEDNESDAY, 4th February, 1880, Their Interest in all that and those the extensive concerns known as the Royal Phoenix Iron Works, adjoining the King's-bridge at Parkgate-street, and close to the terminus of the Great Southern and Western Railway, together with the superior Dwellinghouse, Out-offices, Pleasure Grounds, Gardens, &c., the entire containing 3a 6r 38p statute measure, with a handsome entrance from Parkgate-street, the river Anna Liffey being its boundary in the ?.
There are also eight two-storied Cottages for workmen, with foundry workshops, forge, &c. where a considerable trade was successfully carried on for many years; there being also a great facility of water carriage up and down the river Liffey for the export and import of heavy articles connected with the trade.
The above premises are held under lease for ever at the extremely low rent of £84 per annum, the cottages alone producing a rental of £150.
The plant and stock consists of the usual machinery adapted to the trade, comprising steam engines, from 1 to 16 horse power, and several large steam boilers, lathes, planing, drilling, punching, and rolling machines, steam hammer, anvils, and smiths' tools in general; also a quantity of boilermakers' tools, furnace for bending plates, levelling blocks, bellows, hearths and troughs, cranes, core boxes, beam ladles, moulding boxes, core barrels, brass furnace, &c, for foundry uses; also wheel patterns and models of all descriptions, crab , winches, double and single purchase pulley, blocks and chains, wrought iron shafting pulleys and wheels, steam gauges and boiler mountings, &c, &c.
Sale to commence at 11 o'clock with the machinery; interest of premises at 2 o'clock pm.
Purchasers to pay 6 per cent on chattels and 3 per cent on premises.
For further particulars and Conditions of Sale apply to Mr JOHN SWANSY. Solicitor. 5 Bachelor's walk, Dublin, who has the carriage of Sale, or to JAMES CONNOLLY AND SON, AUCTIONEERS AND VALUATORS, PARSONSTOWN. N.B.-The Premises and Stock can be viewed any day previous to the Sale.' [8]


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. Freeman's Journal, 5 January 1839
  2. Freeman's Journal, 8 January 1839
  3. Freeman's Journal, 30 January 1843
  4. London Standard, 8 August 1849
  5. Freeman's Journal, 8 December 1863
  6. Freeman's Journal, 18 November 1873
  7. Freeman's Journal, 20 July 1878
  8. Freeman's Journal, 24 January 1880