Posted by: kbenoy | February 29, 2012

Adam Boulton: Part Four 1945-1967

To complete the Adam Boulton story I am going to talk about the last two decades that the Brick and Tile Manufactures were in business following on from my post last week about the impact of the Second World War.

Randlay Brick Works (image from Shropshire Star website)

The image above is from the Shropshire Star Website and shows Randlay Brick Works between Victorian times and the turn of the 20th century.

In 1946, the Directors of the company were

  • Mr W S Fairbairn (Chairman)
  • Mr R Stuart-White (Managing Director)
  • Mrs E M Thornes (daughter of Adam Boulton)
  • Mr F Evans
  • Mr R S Balfour

with Mr J E Bayley working as secretary.

Improvements were continuing on the works at Randlay including acquisition of an Excavator, “which had reduced the cost of processing the clay [and] also saved loss of production on account of bad weather conditions” [Minute 94].

In 1946 the electrification of the works was completed to “improve production [and] provide additional power required for the installation of new machines” [Minute 92].

In 1947, the “question of maintaining the labour force was discussed” and a rise in wages agreed – 1d per hour for men and youths over 18 and 3/4d per hour for women and youths under 18 [Minute 111]. The price of common bricks was still controlled so it was difficult for the company to cover the cost of the wage increases but it was hoped that the sale of other products would fill the gap.

In 1949 Mrs Thornes died and Mr Evans resigned from the board. They were replaced by Mrs Macdonald (daughter of Adam Boulton) and Mr C H S Johnson.

In 1950 the Directors discussed the need to purchase new clay land and it was decided that this should be investigated with a matter of urgency. It was found that the red clay coming from the main face was contaminated with lime and this was causing complaints from clients who had received and were using bricks on their sites. These complaints were bad for the business causing financial loss, loss of orders and loss of reputation. It was decided to stop accepting orders for red bricks and to fulfil any remaining orders using clay from another source [Minute 155].

In 1950 and 1951 the Directors considered a proposal for new works but this proved too costly. Instead, they considered expanding their current works financed by an increase in capital from £20,000 to £50,000 [Minute 164, 166].

In 1954 Mr R S Balfour died and the “great appreciation of the valuable services rendered to the company since its inception” was recorded in the minutes.

In 1962 The Managing Director attended a Public Enquiry regarding the proposed Dawley New Town [Minute 361]. By 1963 it was recognised that the Dawley New Town development could effect the business regarding the mineral workings and the factory operation [Minute 386]. Negotiations continued with New Town Corporation through 1964 while the company looked for a suitable site they might be able to move to and considered their position in the case of compulsory acquisition [Minute 402, 410].  By 1965 the company had gained legal representation in the matter [Minute 418].

At an Extraordinary General Meeting in December 1966 a resolution was passed “that the Directors be authorised, on behalf of the Company, to enter into and perform a contract with the Dawley Development Corporation for the sale to the Corporation of the Company’s interest in its freehold and leasehold lands, mineral rights and premises in or about Randlay at the price of £149,150”.

The business Adam Boulton & Co Ltd went into liquidation on 24 Apr 1967. Despite having a constant appetite for change and improvement the company could not withstand the loss of their works and the spread of housing in the form of Dawley New Town. Works such as these were not desirable with the town limits and housing needs seem to have been put before industry at this time.

To see some images of bricks produced at the Randlay Works see this website.

The Adam Boulton collection is available at Wolverhampton Archives and Local Studies under the reference D-SSW/2/AB.

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