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 163,457 pages of information and 245,911 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.

Staveley Coal and Iron Co

From Graces Guide


1922. Devonshire Ironworks at Staveley.
1922. Devonshire Works.
1937. Metal Spun Cast Iron Pipes.

of Staveley, Hollingwood, near Chesterfield.

1600s Quarrying for iron ore took place on the land at Staveley, from the 17th century.

A forge and furnace is known to have existed at Staveley in 1652 when George Sitwell of Renishaw Hall leased it from Lord Frechville of the Manor of Staveley.

1681 the first Duke of Devonshire became the owner after purchasing the Manor from Frechville.

1780s A new coke fired furnace was built by Walter Matler (or Walter Mather[1]) who leased the site later known as the ‘Old Works'.

1786 Three blast furnaces were lit, owned by Ward and Lowe.[2]

1800 On Matler's death the business passed to his daughter, whose second husband George Hodgkinson Barrow of Southwell went on to take responsibility for the works.

After 1811, when William Ward decided to wind up his interest in the Staveley Ironworks, George Hodgkinson Barrow of Southwell, became the sole proprietor.

1815 Barrow took over the ground leases from the Duke of Devonshire, paying £94 per annum and took on the responsibility of the Staveley Iron Works for a term of 21 years paying £150 rent and rising with small increments to £160 in 1830. This particular lease also covenanted Barrow to wash and cleanse not less than seventy tons of ironstone to be smelted every week and to make no less than 20 tons of metal each week. As well as the Staveley ironworks, he was responsible for branching into the coal trade to supply the coal for the ironworks (but it is not clear who was running the works on a day by day basis).

1818 Barrow took on the leases of Old Staveley or Lower Ground Colliery and the Collingwood Common Colliery.

By 1820 he was working six different ironstone pits in Staveley via Inkersall, Dogtooth, Blackshale, Pander Park and Norbriggs Delphos, extracting over 15,000 tons in 1825.

1822 Barrow leased Old Norbriggs Colliery

1823 Leased Norbriggs New Colliery

Also took on the Staveley Upper Ground, Handley Wood and Netherthorpe collieries.

1838 With the arrival of the North Midland Railway line, it would appear that George Stephenson had entered into negotiations for the Staveley lease, before it was offered to George Barrow who was initially reluctant to take it on at a high rent.

1840 A key factor in the future success of the company was the lease Barrow obtained from the Duke of Devonshire of all the mineral rights in the manor of Staveley. At around this time he passed the business to his brother Richard.

1843 Richard had to sign a new lease, that contained most of the covenants in the 1840 lease. He caused more pits to be sunk (Speedwell, Hopewell, Hollingwood, Springwell and Seymour) in the 1840s and 1850s. Richard Barrow also took a lease on the site later known as the 'New Works' and built two new furnaces.

1850 (?) The Ward and Lowe furnaces were acquired by Charles Barrow[3]

1860s The business belonged to Mr Richard Barrow

1863 Company registered. The Staveley Coal and Iron Co became a public limited company in 1863 under an initiative of a group of business men led by Henry Davis Pochin. At this time the ironworks was producing 20,000 tons of iron castings per year. Charles Markham (1823-1888) was appointed as managing director and chief engineer in 1863, which inspired continued growth and expansion of the company. Markham oversaw a massive expansion in the company, particularly in iron pipe production and coal mining. The company was registered on 29 December[4].

1864 Richard Barrow sold a number of properties to the company including the Collieries: Speedwell, Seymour, Hollingwood, New Hollingwood, and Springwell.

1865 After Richard's death, his brother John became chairman.

Over the next 25 years Markham's expertise, professionalism and tireless energy guided the company through a programme of improving the performance of the company's furnaces and expanding old pits and leasing new collieries (Campbell, Barlborough and Ireland). Markham himself strongly disliked trade union activity; it remained a characteristic of the company as a whole to resist the the perceived threat of unions. He opposed the the launch of a union of Derbyshire miners in 1865, leading to a miners' strike at Staveley which ended after 5 months with the capitulation of the workforce, leaving a legacy of bitterness.

1880 May have produced a few railway locomotives. [5]

1880 An article in The Engineer details the Pumping Engines at Staveley Old and New, see The Engineer 1880/10/08, p 269.

1888 On the death of Charles Markham, George Bond was appointed general manager. This led to a period of improved industrial relations.

1894 Cast iron production was 700,000 tons/year. Charles Paxton Markham, elder son of Charles Markham, held the chairmanship from 1894 to 1926.

In the early 1900s the company adopted a revolutionary pipe spinning process for iron pipe manufacture for which it acquired a European Licence in 1919.

By 1905 total production had increased to to 2.5 million tons.

With regard to the coal industry, there was increased domestic competition from collieries in North East England, Wales and elsewhere. During the period of C.P. Markham's tenure up to 1926, greater emphasis was placed on the development of the coal production side of the business, resulting in a sharp growth in output in the 1900s, following the modernising and improved efficiency of the company's pits. Joint ventures with other companies were made to invest capital in deeper coal workings, which included several companies in the South Yorkshire.

In other areas the development of new processes to extract chemicals from coal and coke production, such as tar, sulphate of ammonia, concentrated sulphuric acid and carbolic acid, led to Markham taking on an ambitious programme to build new furnaces in 1908 and a new chemical plant in 1911-1912.

The Devonshire Chemical Works were constructed on an extensive scale to utilise on-the-spot the "waste" products — that is to say, the gas of the coke ovens. This helped to lead to a period of enormous profits for the company during the First World War, with their collieries, blast furnaces and pipe shops being as modern as any in the country.

1912 A plant for distilling tar was erected, from which are now obtained naphtha, creosote oil, refined naphthalene, anthracene, tar acids, and pitch.

1913 the manufacture of sulphuric acid was begun.

WWI plant was erected for the manufacture of nitric acid, nitro benzole, and aniline oil.

1915 Charles Paxton Markham became managing director; he arranged the acquisition of the Broad Oaks engineering works at Chesterfield.

1925 The Staveley Coal and Iron Company, gave notice that, owing to bad trade, its Dowell Colliery will be closed for an indefinite period.[6]

By this time the property had developed into a large and very prosperous concern, having four modern and five old open-top blast furnaces. The boilers were fired by blast-furnace gas.

1926 With the death of C.P. Markham, the company lost some of its drive. It did, however, have a large and diversified business which continued to perform during the economic downturn of the Depression era. Its pipe production suffered from competition with Stanton Ironworks, but the blast furnaces and collieries still produced high output figures and the chemical works and engineering plant produced good business returns.

by 1926 the Company owned seven collieries in Derbyshire, with an output of 2,500,000 tons, and employed 7,000 men. It controls the Doncaster Collieries Association, with an output of 5,000,000 tons, and has other coal property in South Yorkshire.[7]

c.1926 Took on the business of Markham and Co

1926 January: Developments are also announced at the collieries and works of the Staveley Coal and Iron Co, Ltd., Mr. G. N. Turner the general manager speaking to the Barlbro Colliery officials on Saturday, said that the sinking at the " Do-Well " colliery had not been as successful as was anticipated, but the directors hoped to open the pit again if trade improved. They had also sunk a shaft at the Pebley pit of the Barlbro Colliery down to the deep soft coal, which would enable the men to get to their work more quickly. The company installed a huge gas engine at its Devonshire Works, Staveley, which was the largest at the time, of its kind in the world.[8]

1926 Re-lit thirty coke ovens, which brought the number of operating coke ovens to sixty-five.[9]

1937 British Industries Fair Advert for Coal. Pig Iron. Cast Iron Pipes. Sand Spun, Metal Spun and Vertically Cast, Flexible Joints. Tarred Slag. Chemicals and By-products. Salt. Bricks and Tiles. Wood Wool, etc. (Building, General Heating and Cooking Section - Stand Nos. B.613 and B.512). [10]

WWII The company's production lines was geared up to help the war effort.

1946 The coal industry was nationalised.

1948 Staveley Iron and Chemical Co was formed as a private company.

1951 Subsidiary Staveley Iron and Chemical Co was nationalised under the Iron and Steel Act; became part of the Iron and Steel Corporation of Great Britain[11].

1953 The directors, bruised by the negotiations for compensation of their nationalised coal properties, decided not to bid for Staveley Iron and Chemical Co when it was to be sold by the Holding and Realization Agency. Subsidiary companies included:

1954 Valuations had been completed for compensation in respect of the nationalisation of Arkwright Coal Co, Doncaster Amalgamated Collieries and Newstead Colliery Co. Subsidiary companies included:

and machine tool companies in Canada.

1954 Acquired W. H. Smith and Co, electrical engineers of Manchester[12]

By the 1960s, the use of industrial steel scrap had largely replaced the need to smelt iron ore.

1961 Iron founders, producers of pig iron, manufacturers of sand spun, metal spun and vertically cast iron pipes and fittings, industrial acids, coal tar products, electrolytic products, light hydrocarbon oils, intermediates for dyestuffs and fine chemical manufacture, coke, wood wool, bricks, producers of moulding sand, ganister, ironstone mine owners. 5,000 employees. [13]

1961 Name changed to Staveley Industries[14]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Burke's Peerage
  2. Aberconway chapter 2
  3. Aberconway chapter 2 - it is not clear who this refers to
  4. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  5. British Steam Locomotive Builders by James W. Lowe. Published in 1975. ISBN 0-905100-816
  6. The Engineer 1925/12/18
  7. Aberconway Chapter 2
  8. The Engineer 1926/01/15
  9. The Engineer 1926/11/26
  10. 1937 British Industries Fair Advert p540; and p418
  11. Hansard 19 February 1951
  12. The Times, Dec 02, 1954
  13. 1961 Dun and Bradstreet KBE
  14. The Times, Mar 09, 1961
  • [1] Derbyshire Record office
  • [2] Derbyshire Record office
  • [3] NEDIAS newsletter