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British Industrial History

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Butts Hill Iron Works

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in Frome, Somerset

For a period the proprietor was James Oxley (Frome).

1886 Advertisement: 'BUTTS HILL IRON WORKS, FROME. Highly Important SALE of MACHINERY and PLANT. MESSRS HARDING and SONS are instructed by the Proprietor, who is giving up the engineering portion of his business, to SELL by AUCTION, on the Premises, Butts Hill, Frome, .... the whole of the valuable ENGINEERING MACHINERY & PLANT Comprising;— Very powerful lathe, with 6-ft. faceplate; 12-ft. self-acting planing machine; .... 10 horse-power beam engine, with 14 horse-power boiler, with pipes to and from boiler to engine; 3 “Lloyd’s" patent blowers; 4 smith's forges and troughs; smith's tools, anvils and vices; massive iron screw punching machine; 2 large foundry cranes and crane ladles; derrick and crab, in yard; several pulley blocks, chains and ropes; 2 cupolas and setting; weighing machine, to weigh one ton; 10-qr malt mill; cask-washing machine; large quantity of wood and iron patterns; pattern makers saw bench, with tilting table; 2 powerful machines with emery wheels for grinding hard rollers; large number driving belts; considerable quantity of deal planks; large quantity cast and bar iron, bessemer steel, etc.; 2 large wooden tanks; office furniture, sir. N.B.—Nearly all the foregoing machines are by 'Haley...... The FOUNDRY PREMISES at Butts Hill TO BE LET from Midsummer, 1886[1]

NOTE: There have been several foundries in Frome. One of these was Selwood Iron Works at Butts Hill, whose proprietor in 1860 was Abraham Haley. This was probably the same foundry as Butts Hill Iron Works, and it is noted that the above sale notice includes machines by Haley.

One source states that Robert Lee, millwright and engineer, had premises in the area known as The Butts. In 1834 he moved to London and his property was advertised, which included a factory of 60 by 20 ft of three storeys and attics, and a foundry 75 by 32 ft, with windows arranged so that it could be made into three storeys. Both had been built within the previous 10 years. The property was vacant for some years, 'but was probably that subsequently known as the Selwood Iron Works, run by Abraham Haley in the 1860s and 70s. .... One of his buildings, probably the factory run by Lee c.1824, survives [1976], and is interesting in that it is of standard cloth-factory pattern, and probably designed with possible change-of-use in mind.'[2]

The 1884/1889 O.S. map shows Butts Hill Iron Works about 100 yards south of the junction of Butts Hill and Keyford. Rossiter's Lane was immediately south of the works buildings. The 1903 O.S. map shows and 'Engineering Works' at this location, while the 1929 O.S. map shows a 'Motor Works'. It was a fairly small site, with a maximum length of about 80 by 30 yards, with some walls hard up against and behind houses at the western end of Keyford Terrace.


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. Wiltshire Times and Trowbridge Advertiser - Saturday 12 June 1886
  2. 'Wiltshire & Somerset Woollen Mills' by Kenneth Rogers, Pasold Research Fund Ltd., 1976