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British Industrial History

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Stanton Ironworks

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of Stanton-by-Dale, Ilkeston, Derbyshire.

The Stanton Ironworks was once Ilkeston's largest manufacturing concern and consequently the town's biggest employer of local labour in the area.

Evidence has been found that iron production has taken place in the area since Roman times and the remains of medieval bloom furnaces have been uncovered at Stanley Grange near to West Hallam.

1788, a small blast furnace had been built and operated in the area between Stanton by Dale and Dale Abbey which, although in operation for little more than 15 years, laid the foundations for one of the largest industries in the area.

1846 Stanton Ironworks was started by a Chesterfield man, Benjamin Smith and his son Josiah Timmis Smith, who brought three blast-furnaces into production alongside the banks of the Nutbrook Canal.

1855 Incorporation as the Stanton Iron Works Co[1]

Between 1865 and 1867, Benjamin Smith's original three furnaces were replaced with five new furnaces. This site becoming known as the Old Works. Smith's furnaces produced about 20 tons of pig iron per day but the company soon experienced financial difficulties and there followed a series of take-overs during the middle of the 19th century.

During this period the business was taken over by the Crompton family. This family owned the company for over eighty years.

1870 The Franco-Prussian War created a huge demand for iron and the works expanded rapidly with the construction of new furnaces and foundries (the New Works) alongside the Erewash Canal in the early 1870s.

1877 First factory to install electric arc lighting at the initiative of another member of the Crompton family, Rookes Evelyn Bell Crompton who designed a mechanised foundry. To be economic, the plant had to run both day and night. As a solution, he imported generators and arc lamps that were being used to great effect by the Belgian engineer Zenobe Gramme in Paris. This was a new factory to produce cast pipes. It was owned by George and John Crompton.

1900 The Stanton Ironworks Company Ltd was registered on 6 July, in reconstruction of a company of the same name[2]

1924 W. Burgin, London manager of the works passed away on the 9th of March. He had worked for the company for the last twenty years.[3]

1925 J. M. Paul, the company's blast-furnace manager, passed away.[4]

1926 June. The large works of the Stanton Ironworks Company at Stanton Holwell and Riddings, Derbyshire, closed owing to lack of fuel, throwing 7000 employees idle. [5]

A Brief History of The Firm

1917 Abstract from 'Basic Blast Furnaces' The Engineer 1917/11/02 p 392.

"It was established in 1855 with an office staff of four, and three small furnaces, a small foundry, iron fields at Stanton and in the neighbourhood parish of Dale Abbey, and the Ironstone Bell pits at Babbington. The partners were Messrs George and John Crompton - brothers and partners in the firm of bankers of Crompton and Evans - Mr Newton and Mr. Barber. At first the pig iron was made entirely from local ore, but in 1865 Northamptonshire ores were introduced into the company's mixtures, and a little later iron mines in Leceistershire and Northamptonshire were acquired and developed.

In 1878 the pipe foundry, now probably the largest in Great Britain, if not in the world, was started under the management of Mr James Chambers, whose son Mr Frederick, is the present manager. Ten years prior to this date the company sunk its first colliery at Teversal, the Pleaseley Colliery followed in 1873, and The Silverhill in 1878. As indicating the progress of the firm it may be mentioned that in the twenty years immediately prior to 1914, the output of coal had increased by 94 per cent, the ironstone output by 38 per cent, the pig iron output by 29 per cent and the cast iron pipe output by 184 per cent. The company has now some 7000 people on its pay roll - 3000 at Stanton, the same number at the collieries and 1000 at the ironstone mines." November 2nd 1917.



See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. The Engineer 1917/11/02
  2. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  3. The Engineer 1924/03/21
  4. The Engineer 1925/09/18
  5. The Engineer 1926/06/25
  • [1] A brief history of Stanton ironworks