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British Industrial History

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Williams, Foster and Co

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copper and silver smelters, of Leadenhall Buildings, London, and works at Neath

1814 Grenfell and Williams bought out the Greenfield copper mill.

From 1821 to 1834 Henry Bath and Co conducted the Landore Copper Works, which subsequently were vested in Williams, Foster and Co.

1823 the Grenfell, Williams and Fox partnership took over the Rose Copper Works in the Swansea valley.

1823/4 Pascoe St. Leger Grenfell withdrew from the partnership which was expanded to include Sampson Foster and Joseph T. Foster of Norwich.

1828 Built the Morfa copper rolling mills. The site was adjacent to the Hafod works of Vivian and Sons with whom they amalgamated in 1924

1829 Fox withdrew from the partnership

By 1830 the firm had adopted the title Williams, Foster & Co.

1830 Grenfell, Williams and Foster established works which became famous as Williams Foster and Co.

Michael Williams became the leading partner in Williams, Foster and Co, with business activities in both England and Wales. Other partners were John Williams jr., William Williams and Colin Harvey, described as "merchants" of Cornwall; Samuel Stephens, Henry L. Stephens and Francis H. Rodd, "esquires" of Cornwall; Joseph T. Foster and Sampson Foster of Norwich; and John Sampson of Devon, "gentleman".

1833 Francis Rodd withdrew

1834 Williams, Foster and Co. built the Morfa Copper Works.

1835 John Michael Williams, son of Michael Williams, the senior partner, was admitted.

c.1835 Smelting probably started at Morfa around 1835.

1837 The partnership of Williams, Harvey & Co. for tin smelting in Cornwall was formed,

1840-4 Williams, Foster and Co were suppliers of copper to the Royal Mint[1]

By 1861 the capital of Williams, Foster & Co. "in consequence of the large profits made" had increased to £ 750,000; and the withdrawal around this time of Richard Harvey whose holding amounted to £150,000 left the Williams interest in almost complete control.

1861-62, a family dispute led to the dissolution of Williams, Foster & Co., leaving John Michael Williams the sole proprietor of the Morfa works.

From c.1870 Williams, Foster and Co and Vivian and Sons operated the White Rock Copper Works producing lead and silver

1875 Works were Landore Copper Works, Morfa Copper Works, and Rose Copper Works, Mines Royal Copper Works, Neath[2].

1880 Williams died "probably the most wealthy man in Cornwall".

The firm was first taken over by H. R. Merton and Co metal merchants in London

1888 The firm was transferred to a new company, Williams, Foster & Co. Ltd.

1888 The company was registered on 20 December.

1892 Late this year, the company took over the copper-smelting business of Pascoe Grenfell and Sons. [3], acquiring the Middle Bank Copperworks and the Upper Bank Spelter Works and forming Williams, Foster and Co and Pascoe Grenfell and Sons.

1924 British Copper Manufacturers was formed by the amalgamation of the major copper smelting firms in Swansea, Vivian and Sons and Williams, Foster and Co and Pascoe Grenfell and Sons.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. National Archives [1]
  2. Worrall's Directory of South Wales, 1875
  3. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  • Morgannwg, Vol. 23 1979 Enterprise and capital for non-ferrous metal smelting in Glamorgan, 1694-1924 [2].
  • [3] Coflein