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British Industrial History

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Wilden Iron and Tin Plate Co

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of Stourport

18th Century: Members of the Baldwin family had developed iron forges at Shrewsbury.

1788 One of their descendants, Thomas Baldwin (1751-1823), moved from Shrewsbury down the River Severn to Stourport in Worcestershire, to take advantage of its location on the emerging canal system. At some point, Thomas established the company Baldwin, Son and Co

The successful iron foundry which he established there was expanded by his sons George Pearce Baldwin (1789–1840) and Enoch Baldwin (1793–1857).

By 1830 Wilden Ironworks had been taken over by a Mr. Lewty, who traded under the name of Wilden Iron and Tin Plate Co.

1832 Mr.Lewty employed about fifty men; a friendly society was set up, caring for workers in sickness and for holidays, but demanding strict standards of behaviour[1].

1840 W. T. Lewty was in business at Wilden in 1840 but was then declared bankrupt. Stourport ironmaster, George Pearce Baldwin, took over the Wilden Iron and Tin Plate Co[2].

1840 After George Pearce's death, his brother Enoch went into partnership with his two eldest nephews, Pearce (1813–1851) and William (1817–1863).

1841 In a letter from Wilden Iron and Tin Plate Co per Thomas W. Lewty [?] (near Stourport) to Boulton and Watt (Soho) dated 8 March 1841: Want estimate of a 25 horse engine, etc[3].

1845 W. T. Lewty was referred to as "of Wilden Ironworks" in 1845; he was also director of railway companies[4].

1847 The partnership of Wilden Iron and Tin Plate Co of Wilden and Birmingham, was dissolved as regards C. Jones of Birmingham[5].

1848 The partnership of Enoch, Pearce and William Baldwin formed E. P. and W. Baldwin[6].

1849 The partnership of Wilden Iron and Tin Plate Co of Wilden and Birmingham, was dissolved as regards J. Neal[7].

1850 E. P. and W. Baldwin were Tin-plate manufacturers of Horsley Fields, Wolverhampton but no presence in/around Stourport was recorded[8].

1854 E. P. and W. Baldwin acquired the wrought iron and tin plate works at Wilden in 1854.

1863 Following the founders' deaths the company passed to the control of Alfred Baldwin and his two surviving older brothers, George (1826–1881) and Stanley (1828–1907). However, the latter's bad management and drinking, combined with a trade depression, brought the firm close to bankruptcy in the late 1860s.

1870 Matters improved only after 1870 when, in September, Alfred Baldwin raised £20,000 and bought out his brothers to take sole control of E. P. and W. Baldwin, located at Wilden Ironworks. Alfred and his family moved from Bewdley to Wilden House overlooking the forge[9].

1871 Alfred was described as tinplate and iron founder, worsted spinner and landowner, employing 400 hands[10].

1875 Advert: E. P. and W. Baldwin of Wilden Iron and Tin Plate Works, near Stourport[11].

1886 Alfred registered a separate company, Alfred Baldwin and Co Ltd, to erect and operate a tin-plate works near Pontypool, Monmouthshire. Shares issued.

1886 Because of the depression of trade, not least due to the wider use of steel, and the better transport links to the new works in South Wales, notices of dismissal were given to all employees of Wilden Ironworks in order to re-arrange the workforce. The forge would close and manufacture of coke iron for tinplate would cease at Wilden but all other parts of the works would remain open (i.e. manufacture of steel tin plates, button plates and other special brands); coke and charcoal iron sheets, as well as steel sheets, would continue to be made at Swindon[12].

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. Wilden Works History [1]
  2. Wilden Works History [2]
  3. Miscellaneous general correspondence dealt with in the drawing office 1829—1843, W, of Boulton Watt and Co [3]
  4. North Wales Chronicle, 21 October 1845
  5. The Times, 21 April 1847
  6. Times, 18 July 1889
  7. The Times, 1 September 1849
  8. Post Office Directory of Birmingham, Staffordshire & Worcestershire, 1850
  9. Biography of Alfred Baldwin, ODNB
  10. 1871 census
  11. The Times, 23 March 1875
  12. Berrow's Worcester Journal, 11 September 1886
  • Biography of Stanley Baldwin, ODNB