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British Industrial History

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Springvale Furnaces

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of Bilston

Also known as Spring Vale Iron Works

The first blast furnaces were in use at Springvale by about 1780

1834 Fiat of Bankruptcy awarded against James Broad and John Broad of Spring Vale Iron-Works, Sedgeley[1]

1854: 'Mining Apparatus. —Mr. George Jones, of Spring Vale Iron Works, Sedgley, has patented a new landing apparatus to be used in working mines. In carrying out this invention, a square frame is erected around the mouth of pit or shaft, and to it are attached two lids or doors connected by cranks and rods. These parts are put in action by a lever, which may be worked either band or machinery, the motion of the lever causing the lids or doors simultaneously to open or shut, as may required. [A model of the apparatus was exhibited, as announced in our paper, at the Swan Hotel, in this town, some months ago.][2]

Early 1850s: Alfred Hickman acquired the blast furnaces at Spring Vale near Bilston, which he expanded.

1866 Advert: 'SPRING VALE IRONWORKS, NEAR BILSTON. PRELIMINARY ANNOUNCEMENT. To be SOLD by AUCTION, early in February next unless Disposed of in the meantime by Private Contract), the above extensive and valuable IRONWORKS, now In the occupation of Messrs Murcott, Wright and Co. Further particulars will given in future papers, and in the meantime application may made to Mr. Thorne, Solicitor, King street, Wolverhampton.'[3]

1866 The Hickman family bought the Springvale Works. The Hickmans not only made iron but they installed ball furnaces, puddling furnaces and mills to process the iron. The company also had a policy for securing their supplies and they bought up ironstone and limestone quarries, in Wales, Derbyshire and, most notably, at Corby.

In the 1860s-1880s, six new blast furnaces were built. The iron produced from these furnaces was of good quality and the works was producing a large amount of iron. Alfred Hickman was one of the pioneer users of the Bessemer steelmaking process.

1882 Hickman set up the Staffordshire Steel and Ingot Iron Co Ltd adjacent to Springvale for the purpose of manufacturing ingot, iron and steel by the Gilchrist process.

1893 Sir Alfred Hickman was recorded as being the only ironmaster left in the trade in Bilston.

In 1897 the Springvale Furnaces and the Staffordshire Steel & Ingot Iron Co. amalgamated to become Alfred Hickman Ltd. (10)

In the early 1880s, 29,944 tons of iron were being produced at Spring Vale per year.

1897 The Staffordshire Steel and Ingot Iron Co was amalgamated with the Springvale works to become Alfred Hickman Ltd. At this time, the works was known as Springvale Furnaces Ltd. The three brick furnaces which were in use at this time were known locally as the 'Hot Holes'.

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. Wolverhampton Chronicle and Staffordshire Advertiser - Wednesday 5 March 1834
  2. Wolverhampton Chronicle and Staffordshire Advertiser - Wednesday 29 November 1854
  3. Wolverhampton Chronicle and Staffordshire Advertiser - Wednesday 19 December 1866
  • [1] Black Country History