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British Industrial History

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Harrison, Ainslie and Co

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of Lindal-in-Furness, Lancs

of Newland Furnace, Ulverston (1888)


1714 Company established. The Furness district of Lancashire had rich deposits of haematite which had been used for iron-making since the 13th century.

1735 An iron-smelting company was established by Richard Ford (1697-1757) near Ulverston, known generally from its location as the Newland Iron Co. Ford was later joined by his son William Ford (1728-69), and then William's son-in-law George Knott (1744-89).

1752 they leased 22,000 acres in Argyllshire, Scotland, initially to gain a plentiful supply of timber for charcoal.

1753 They built a blast furnace at Bonawe, Scotland, which ran for 110 years - see Lorn Furnace Co.

1780s A quay for ore-exporting was built at Barrowhead, which was the start of the great port at Barrow-in-Furness.

1785 The firm became Knott, Ainslie & Co. when William Ford's other son-in-law, Henry Ainslie, joined the business.

1789 On Knott's death, Matthew Harrison (c.1753-1824) became manager and eventually the principal owner of the firm: Harrison, Ainslie and Co

1818 Started iron-smelting at Backbarrow - presumably Harrison, Ainslie and Roper.

1828 Iron-smelting at Duddon, also near Ulverston.

By 1839 the company was also working the iron ore mines on Lindal Moor

1846 the firm was active in promoting the Furness Railway, opened in 1846.

By 1849 their three pits together yielded the largest output of iron ore in Furness.

1850 A leading exporter of Iron ore.

By 1860 70-80% of the firm's profits came from mining, though they also had an ore-yard, nine schooners, three sloops, a water-mill, and four charcoal furnaces in the area.

1863 Benson Harrison, son of Matthew Harrison, died.

1866 Production ceased. The equipment was moved to England in 1878.

From the middle of the 19th century the Furness 'charcoal bar' was overtaken by Bessemer steel, and gradually the local haematite was worked out. Flooding of mines also became a serious problem.

1879 The firm was constituted as a joint stock company

1893 A new company was registered with a nominal capital of £100,000.

1900 The company bought up the Barrow Haematite Iron Co. and the Wigan Coke and Iron Co

1903 The company went into liquidation.

1904 A new company was floated with a capital of £150,000, registered at Lindal, Lancashire.

1904 The company was registered on 5 October. [1]

1914 Ironmasters, manufacturers of cold blast charcoal pig iron, "Lorn" brand; hematite iron ore for all purposes, low phosphorous red hematite ore. Employees 600. [2]

1917 The company was dissolved.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  2. 1914 Whitakers Red Book
  • Archives of the British chemical industry, 1750-1914: a handlist. By Peter J. T. Morris and Colin A. Russell. Edited by John Graham Smith. 1988.