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British Industrial History

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Partington Steel and Iron Co

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1918. Blast furnace blowing engine under construction by National Gas Engine Co for Irlam Works
1918. Blast furnace blowing engine under construction
Nov 1919.

Partington Steel and Iron Co of Irlam Works, Manchester.

1911 The Pearson and Knowles Coal and Iron Co established the Partington Steel and Iron Co to supply their steel needs as well as the Sheffield market and other steel users; the new undertaking would have 3 blast furnaces, 108 by-product coke ovens, a 6 Siemens Steel Furnaces and Rolling Mills; capacity of 3000 tons per week. The works was sited at the Partington basin on the Manchester Ship Canal. Pearson and Knowles took up some of the shares and the others were made available for public subscription[1][2].

1913 Further share issue; proposal to acquire further land adjacent to the works; 54 coke ovens had been built and a further 54 were in construction by Simon-Carves Bye-Product Coke Oven Construction and Working Company; the blast furnaces would be in operation by the end of the summer and the rolling mills during autumn 1913[3].

WWI: At the instigation of the Ministry of Munitions, a large expansion of the works was started, adding an extra 3 blast furnaces, 152 by-product coke ovens, 5 Siemens open hearth furnaces and rolling mills, 3 electric furnaces as well as steel casting plant, giving total capacity of 7000 to 8000 tons per week. After the war, a share issue was needed to pay for this. The company also had interests in iron ore companies in Northamptonshire and Staffordshire, and in a company which made use of blast furnace slag for road surfaces[4].

1918 The National Gas Engine Co supplied several 1500 HP blast furnace blowing engines for the Irlam Works. See illustration. Six-cylinder tandem vertical engines running at 120-200 rpm on furnace gas were coupled to blowing engines having four double-acting cylinders. The top power cylinders were 25" diameter and the bottom cylinders 24" diameter by 24" stroke. The blower cylinders were 49" diameter by 18" stroke, and the piston valves 21" diameter. The capacity of the blower was 24,000 cubic feet of free air per minute, and this quantity could be delivered against a pressure of 12 psi when running at 200 rpm, or a reduced volume of air could be delivered against a pressure of 15 to 16 psi. The admission and delivery of air was controlled by a piston valve furnished with "Trick" ports. The valves were operated by eccentrics, rocking levers and links.'[5]

1926 Director, Gordon H. Fraser died on 3rd February following an operation in London.

1927 After several years depressed trade, a scheme of arrangement was proposed to deal with the company's debts, including the debts of the subsidiary companies[6].

1927 Sir William Armstrong, Whitworth and Co retained its interests in Pearson and Knowles Coal and Iron Co and Partington Steel and Iron Co after the merger of other parts of the company with Vickers[7].

1928 Substantial write-down of the capital in the company[8].

1930 Amalgamation of the Pearson and Knowles group of companies with the Wigan Coal and Iron Co and formation of 2 new companies to hold the coal and steel interests separately. The coal business would be called the Wigan Coal Corporation Ltd. The iron and steel business would be called the Lancashire Steel Corporation. New capital would be raised which would be used for investment in expanding the Irlam plant[9].

1942 Voluntary liquidation; the company was controlled by Pearson and Knowles Coal and Iron Co, subsidiary of Armstrong Whitworth Securities[10].

Irlam Works continued under the auspices of the Lancashire Steel Corporation, and then British Steel. Production finally ceased in the late 1970s.

May have built locomotives.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times, 29 September 1911
  2. The Times, 23 October 1911
  3. The Times, 6 May 1913
  4. The Times, 8 December 1919
  5. [1] The Engineer, 5 July 1918
  6. The Times, Thursday, Jan 13, 1927
  7. The Times, 29 November 1927
  8. The Times, 16 July 1928
  9. The Times, 22 May 1930
  10. The Times, 1 January 1942
  • British Steam Locomotive Builders by James W. Lowe. Published in 1975. ISBN 0-905100-816