British Wrought Iron Association

The purpose of the British Wrought Iron Association to set up a fund on a tonnage subscription, improve discipline within the trade, general reorganisation and national control of prices. The majority of wrought iron producers in Great Britain were members of the association and they were required to submit regular returns giving details of product production and home and export sales. These figures were sent to and collated by Smith, Son & Wilkie on behalf of the British Wrought Iron Association. The figures were used as part of a quota scheme to ensure fair trade and sales across the members and improve discipline and control prices. Each member of the association was allocated a percentage of the trade, with this percentage being calculated on his proportion compared with the aggregate tonnage of all types of finished wrought iron delivered to customers during a set period. To set up the quota scheme, questionnaires were sent out to all the member companies to establish the starting values for the scheme.

List of Wrought Iron makers in Great Britain and the code used by the Council of British Wrought Iron Associations
G. 20 – Colvilles Ltd, Dalzell Steel Works and Ravenscraig, Glasgow
David Colville and Sons was founded 1871, became a limited company in 1895. In 1916 they purchased Glengarnock Iron and Steel Co. In 1930 they became a public company. In 1931 the Lithgow brothers merged their holdings in James Dunlop and Co to form Colvilles. In 1951 they were nationalised under the Iron and Steel Act and in 1967 they became part of British Steel. (see [26/11/2011]

G. 21 – Etna Iron & Steel Co Ltd, Motherwell
Brandon Works was renamed Etna Iron & Steel Co Ltd in 1887. In 1954 they were transferred to Colvilles to allow rationalisation of the Scottish steel industry.

G. 22 – William Martin, Sons & Co, Dundyvan Iron Works, Coatbridge
Partners Hugh Martin, William Martin and Hugh Lumsden Martin dissolved the business in 1946. (Edinburgh Gazette, Sep 13 1946 p. 858)

G. 23 – Pather Iron & Steel Co Ltd, Wishaw
Pather Iron & Steel Co Ltd was established in 1880 by a local syndicate called Twelve Apostles. The company remained independent but suffered with strong competition from larger companies such as Colvilles. In 1935 they went into voluntary liquidation and were the last steel producer in Wishaw. (see [25/11/2011])

G. 24 – Scottish Iron & Steel Co Ltd, Glasgow

G. 25 – Smith & McLean Ltd, Glasgow
In 1872 Smith & McLean took over the Gartcosh Iron & Steel Co and developed it into an important steel works. Smith & McLean also owned Clyde Galvanizing Works at Mavisbank and Port Glasgow, the Iron and Steel works at Milnwood and Gartcosh Rolling Mills Iron & Steel Works. By 1930 Colvilles had acquired the majority shareholding in Smith & McLean Ltd and by 1953 they had acquired the whole share capital. (see [25/11/2011])

North-East Coast:
K. 22 – Raine & Co Ltd, Gibb Chambers, Newcastle-on-Tyne
Raine & Co Ltd was started by brothers Benjamin and George Raine in 1885 when they took over the old Crowley works at Winlaton Mill and moved later to Derwenthaugh. (see [23/12/2011])

K. 23 – W Richards & Sons Ltd, Middlesborough

K. 24 – South Durham Steel & Iron Co Ltd, Middlesborough
In 1898 Christopher Furness and Mrs W C Gray bought the Moor Steel and Iron Works, the Stockton Malleable Iron Works, and the West Hartlepool Steel and Iron Works, which became the South Durham Steel & Iron Co. In 1951 the company was nationalised under the Iron and Steel Act and in 1967 became part of British Steel. (see [26/11/2011])

K. 25 – Samuel Tyzack & Co Ltd, Monkwearmouth Iron & Steel Works, Sunderland
The company was established in 1857 and by 1914 was employing 400-500 men in the production of iron and steel. (see [26/11/2011])

M. 22 – The Lancashire Steel Corporation Ltd, Irlam
The Lancashire Steel Corporation was established in 1930 to acquire Pearson and Knowles Coal and Iron Co Ltd, the Partington Steel and Iron Co Ltd and the Wigan Coal Corporation Ltd. In 1930 they became a public company and two years later they acquired Whitecross Co of Warrington and Pearson and Knowles Engineering Co Ltd and many others followed. In 1951 they were nationalised under the Iron and Steel Act and by 1967 it was one of the 14 largest steel companies that became British Steel. (see [30/11/2011])

M. 23 – H Lees & Sons Ltd, Park Bridge Iron Works, Ashton-under-Lyme
H Lees & Sons was established in 1783 and in 1884 it became a Private Company. By 1961 they employed over 200 people. (see [30/11/2011]

M. 24 – Monks, Hall & Co Ltd, Bedstead Works, Atherton’s Quay, Warrington
Monks, Hall and Co were founded in 1874 and in 1878 became a Public Company. By 1914 they were employing 1200 people. In 1933 Monks, Hall & Co and Lancashire Steel Corporation jointly purchased William Robertson of Warrington. In 1951 they were nationalised under the Iron and Steel Act. (see,_Hall_and_Co [30/11/2011])

M. 25 – Thomas Walmsley & Sons, Atlas Forge, Bolton
In 1866 Atlas Forge was founded. Thomas Walmsley & Son was the last company to roll wrought iron using steam driven hand mills. (see [30/11/2011])

South Yorkshire & Derbyshire:
P. 21 – The Buttlerley Co Ltd, Butterley Iron Works, Derby
The company was founded in 1790 and began as Benjamin Outram and Co. In the same year he was able to purchase Butterley Hall with financial help from Francis Beresford. In 1805 Benjamin Outram died and the name was changed to the Butterley Company. In 1814 they produced the iron work for the Vauxhall Bridge in London and in 1838 they produced two locomotives for the Midland Counties Railway. By the peak in the 1950s the company employed about 10,000 people. (see [10/12/2011])

P. 22 – The Coghlan Steel & Iron Co Ltd, Hunslet Forge, Leeds
The Coghlan Steel & Iron Co Ltd began in 1899 and made Carbon and Alloy Steel. (see [10/12/2011])

P. 23 – Hull Forge Iron & Steel Co Ltd, East Riding Iron Works, Hull

P. 24 – Midland Iron Co Ltd, Midland Iron Works, Rotherham
In 1862 there was a boiler explosion at Midland Iron Co Ltd causing the deaths of 9 workers. ( [24/11/2011])

P. 25 – The Sheepbridge Coal & Iron Co Ltd, Chesterfield
Established in 1854 as Dunston and Barlow Co, Ltd, in 1864 they became the Sheepbridge Coal & Iron Co Ltd. In 1951 they were nationalised under the Iron and Steel Act. (see [10/12/2011])

South Staffordshire:
T. 15 – John Bagnall & Sons Ltd, Toll End, Tipton, Lea Brook Iron Works Wednesbury
The company was established in 1800 and in 1873 became a limited company. By 1914 they employed 400 workers. In 1951 they were nationalised under the Iron and Steel Act. (see [23/12/2011])

T. 16 – John Bradley & Co Ltd, Stourbridge
The foundry and rolling mill was established in 1800. In 1819 John Rastrick joined the company and later developed and built the locomotives Agenoria and Stourbridge Lion. (see Industrial Archaeology Recordings [23/12/2011] and Black Country Bugal, An Historic Gem From the Region’s Industrial Past, Found Deep in a Black Country Hedgerow by Nick Harrison 19/01/2007 [29/12/2011])

T. 17 – George Gadd & Co Ltd, Church Lane Iron Works, Tipton

T. 18 – Harts Hill Iron Co Ltd, Brierley Hill

T. 19 – N Hingley & Sons Ltd, Netherton Iron Works, Dudley
Founded by Noah Hingley in the early 1800s his work also included Harts Hill Iron & Co Ltd. In 1937 he established his chain works at Netherton and by 1909 were producing up to 10,000 tons of anchors and chains per year. Hingleys made anchors and chains for Cunard including the SS Titanic. (for more details see P/420 Dudley Archives and Local History Service [24/11/2011])

T. 20 – Johnson’s Iron & Steel Co Ltd, Hall End Iron Works, West Bromwich
In 1937 they were a listed exhibitor at at British Industries Fair. (see [23/12/2011])

T. 21 – E Parkes & Co Ltd, Atlas Iron Works, West Bromwich
The company was established in 1862 and in 1911 was incorporated as a limited company. (see [23/12/2011])

T. 22 – Patent Shaft & Axletree Co Ltd, Wednesbury
In around 1830 James Hardy designed and patented a new type of axle and purchased a forge at Leabrook. Production had still not begun in 1838 when Charles Geach recognised the idea would be suitable for the railway. With the support of 12 men including Hardy, he bought the works and the patent and formed the Patent Shaft & Axletree Co Ltd. In 1852 the company purchased Victoria Iron Works and in 1964 it became a limited company. In 1902 the company became part of the Metropolitan Railway, Carriage, Wagon & Finance Company. (see [23/12/2011])

T. 23 – Joseph Penn & Co Ltd, Cradley Heath
In 1906 there was a gas explosion at the company that killed two people and injured 12. (see p/126 Dudley Archives and Local History Service [24/12/2011])

T. 24 – F W Ratcliffe & Co Ltd, Anchor Iron Works, Oldbury

T. 25 – Shropshire Iron Co Ltd, Hadley



  1. I am trying to locate the name of the British maker for a pair of wrought iron gates, 112″w x 88″ hi, made around 1910. Very high quality, clearly done by a master. They are marked “BB” on a railing, along with what looks like a crown or a heart with a foot. Any idea on the maker? Many thanks to everyone!

    • Hi Tracey,
      I’m not aware of any companies that match that description but I will keep a look out in the records we have. If you haven’t already, I would recommend looking at as it contains a vast amount of information about British Industrial History and might contain the information you need.
      Thanks Kimberley

  2. Hello Tracey

    This is Stuart McMaster retired engineer.

    ‘BB with Crown’ could be the branding stamp used by N. Hingley & Sons Ltd of Netherton. Hingleys produced several grades of wrought iron of which their Best Best grade with Cown was one of them.Reference to a paper written by a Paul Belford entitled Black Country Iron might be helpful.

    Regards Stuart

  3. I am trying to trace manufacturers of pavement lights in Dublin, Ireland: ‘MACLEAN & CO. GLASGOW METAL’ to see are they still manufacturing perhaps under a new name? Mary McDonald

    • Hi Mary,
      A company called Smith & McLean Ltd of Glasgow were members of the British Wrought Iron Association but I don’t know if they are the same company you are trying to trace. I don’t have any details after 1932 as this is when the records in this collection end. For details of the records we hold please see our catalogue

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: