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British Industrial History

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Harford, Partridge and Co

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Late 1600s: 2(3) forges at Lydbrook were operated by Paul Foley (c.1645-1699) in association with his brother Philip II,

1762 Richard Reynolds of Bristol (presumably the elder Richard Reynolds), iron master, and John Partridge the Elder, of Ross, ironmaster, and his son John Partridge the Younger, leased the Lydbrook forges as the Reynolds and Partridge partnership (later Harford, Partridge and Co).

1763 the same partnership leased Monmouth forge for 21 years

1768 A Bristol company, which was probably Partridge and Reynolds, erected a forge near Lydbrook on the site of the Vaughan forge.

1770 Coal was introduced for iron making in place of charcoal, which rapidly led to renewal of tin plate making in South Wales; of 8 charcoal forges in the area, the company owned 5 - at Machen, Gelliwastad, Bassaleg, Caerleon, and Monmouth[1]

1783-4 Harford Partridge and Co supplied iron window frames, etc, for Badminton Church[2].

By 1786 Harford, Partridge and Co owned Melingriffith Ironworks.

1788 The Vaughan Forge's lease was renewed, when "Richard Summers, James Harford the Elder, John Partridge the Younger, Philip Crocker, Truman Harford and James Harford the Younger (the firm of Harford, Partridge and Co, Iron Masters, Bristol)... took the lease on 25 March 1788 from William Vaughan for 21 years".

1792 The Nantyglo Ironworks were built between 1792 and 1794 by Thomas Hill of Blaenavon in association with Harford, Partridge and Co of Bristol[3].

1793 The original partnership at the Ebbw Vale Ironworks was dissolved; Jeremiah Homfray continued the operation.

1794 The partnership gave up the leases of the Lydbrook forges

1796 Homfray was joined at Ebbw Vale by Harford, Partridge and Co, Quakers from Bristol[4].

1796 Financial disagreements between the partners led to the closure of the Nantyglo Ironworks.

1804 Harford, Davis and Co were bankers in Bristol[5]

1808 "Notice Is hereby given that the Partnership which lately subsisted between the undersigned James Harford, John Partridge, Philip Crocker, Thomas Prichard, Richard Summers Harford, Samuel Harford, Richard Jones Tomlinson, John Harford, Richard Blakemore, William Green, Elisabeth Weaver, Alicia Calder, and Sarah Davies, in the Business of Iron and Tin-Plate-Manufacturere, carried on at Melin Griffith, Pentyrch, Caerphilly, and Machan, in the County of Glamorgan, at Ebbw Vale, Bafaleg, and Monmouth, in the County of Monmouth, and also in the Business of Iron and Tin-Plate-Merchants, in the City of Bristol, under the Firm of Harford, Partridge, and Co. and in the Businese of Iron-Founders, also carried on in Bristol aforesaid, under the Firm of James Harford, and Iron Foundry Company, was dissolved by mutual Consent, On the 1st Day of July 1808.[6]. Partridge and Co continued several of their activities.

1810 John Partridge left his nephew, Richard Blakemore, 6 of his shares in the Harford Partridge partnership. Blakemore went onto form Blakemore and Co with principal interest in the major South Wales iron and tin making sites.

1811 Matthew Wayne and Joseph Bailey purchased the iron-works at Nant-y-glo.

1815-18 Harford, Davis and Co were in business in Bristol[7].

1818–1820: Sirhowy Iron Works and Collieries was acquired by James Harford of Harford, Partridge and Co of Ebbw Vale and, from this date on, were operated as part of the Ebbw Vale Ironworks in the valley to the east.

1836 Advert: 'CAPITAL IRON-FOUNDRY.
TO be SOLD by private Contract, an IRON-FOUNDRY adjoining Old Market-street, in Bristol, established nearly a century ago by Messrs. Harfords, Davies, and Company, and their predecessors, comprising 2,750 square yards, with a House fronting the street for the residence of a manager; an Air Furnace, two cupolas blown by a fan-blowing machine 5 feet diameter, and capable of blowing two more cupolas, worked by a steam engine sixteen-horse power, which also works a Blacking Mill and Boring Mill, containing a roll lathe and three boring bars; a Lathe for cutting large Screws, and two small lathes on a cast iron bed, lofts over, with a vice bench, extensive pattern shop, lathe and circular saw, which are also worked by the engine ; drying stove, with carriage templates and core ranges ; a large cylinder pit, double gib crane, large hardening stove, four smiths' shops, containing three iron hearths, with patent hollow backs; three smitheries, containing eight chain-makers' fires, an hydraulic machine for proving the chains, warehouses, counting-houses, yard, four houses occupied as shops, and five others for the accommodation of the workmen. The Foundry is fully equal to working 20 tons of iron per week, and in excellent repair.
The situation is most convenient, and an abundance of coke, sand, and limestone of superior quality in the neighbourhood ; added to which, its proximity to South Wales furnishes a ready supply of Iron of every kind.
For further particulars and to treat for the purchase apply to Messrs. Isaac Cooke and Sons, Solicitors, Bristol, at whose offices a ground plan of the whole premises may be seen.'[8]

1842/3 Messrs Harford’s business in the USA was in commercial difficulty due to defaults on credits in Maryland, USA. The Ebbw Vale Ironworks was taken over by Trustees. The iron business was severely damaged which led to the bankruptcy of Harford, Davies and Co. of Ebbw Vale, with the prospect of making 2000 - 3000 workers redundant, which caused much concern locally[9].

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. The Engineer 1886/05/14
  2. National Archives [1]
  3. Roundhouse Farm, Nantyglo [2]
  4. In the Footsteps of the Iron-makers 4 - The Darby Trail [3]
  5. National Archives [4]
  6. London Gazette 5 December 1809
  7. National Archives [5]
  8. Aris's Birmingham Gazette - Monday 11 July 1836
  9. The Times, 21 June 1843
  • The development of tin plating at Lydbrook, by Pat Morris, Gloucestershire Society for Industrial Archaeology Journal for 2004 pages 19-30 [6].