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British Industrial History

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Stephen Thompson and Co

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of Manor Ironworks, Wolverhampton

1868 Bradley works was shown as belonging to the firm of Stephen Thompson in "The Iron Trade in South Staffordshire and East Worcestershire"; it had 9 puddling furnaces and 2 rolling mills[1].

1878 Company established as the Tin Plate and Sheet Works by Stephen Thompson in partnership with Thomas Huxley[2] under the business name Stephen Thompson and Co[3] at the Manor Ironworks.

1883 During a dispute about wages affecting most of the iron works in the area, Stephen Thompson's was the only works that kept running during the strike[4].

1886 Stephen Thompson died, leaving a large fortune. The business was carried on by his executors: Sarah Thompson[5], Stephen John Thompson[6], John Thompson[7], William Evans, William Thompson and Samuel Thompson.

1887 The Executors sold the Manor Ironworks for £33,000[8].

1888 17 acre site at Wolverhampton located beside the London and North Western Railway and the Birmingham Canal hosted a forge and forge train, 4 rolling mills, heating, annealling and pickling furnaces. The works were said to be celebrated for the tinning of exceptionally large plates, as well as tinning more ordinary sizes. The tin plate and sheet trade is "practically an English monopoly for thr supply of the whole world"[9].

1888 A new company was formed Stephen Thompson and Co to take over the business of the same name, with capital of £50,000, of which £20,000 had been applied for by the directors, their friends and the employees; £30,000 was offered to the public including £10,000 as debentures. The shares were offered to the public, in what was said to be a rare opportunity to participate in a Public Joint-Stock Company in this safe and profitable trade, most of the participants in which were said to be private companies. The managing director, John Thompson, was said to be throughly acquainted with the business but not profiting from the sale of the predecessor company. Other directors were Samuel Loveridge of T. and C. Clark and Co chairman, George H. Birkbeck of Gower Iron and Tin Plate Co, and Joseph Coventry of Redbrook Tinplate Co and Sim and Coventry, London. John Thompson's address was given as Highfield Boiler Works, Wolverhampton. Any directors' remuneration would be entirely related to dividends paid[10].

Attempted to register the word "Manor" as a trade mark but the application was refused[11].

1889 An open offer of shares in a new company: Baldwin Hatton and Thompson was announced. The company was to be formed in order to acquire Stephen Thompson and Co, as well as E. P. and W. Baldwin and Hatton, Sons and Co and some other tinplate companies[12]. The purpose was to avoid "injurious rivalry" not to raise prices[13] although a later article admitted the aim was to make "larger profits"[14]. However, although it was reported that the amalgamation was going ahead[15], this does not seem to have happened as Stephen Thompson and Co continued as a separate entity and E. P. and W. Baldwin was incorporated into Baldwins when this was formed in 1902.

1891 Report of the ordinary general meeting of the company (held in private) followed by an extraordinary general meeting at which the proposal to sell the works to the manager, John Thompson, failed to achieve the necessary three-quarters majority. The view was expressed that the works could carry on with a little new capital and new management[16].

1904 Joseph Sankey and Sons acquired the business of Stephen Thompson and Co[17].

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Birmingham Daily Post 29 February 1868
  2. possibly born c.1822, Sedgley
  3. The Times, 10 January 1888
  4. Birmingham Daily Post, 9 July 1883
  5. presumably his wife, born c.1821, Sedgley
  6. presumably his son, born c.1853, Sedgley
  7. presumably of Highfield Boiler Works, Wolverhampton, who became managing director
  8. Birmingham Daily Post, 17 December 1887
  9. The Times, 10 January 1888
  10. The Times, 10 January 1888
  11. The Times, 22 Decmeber 1888
  12. The Times, 18 July 1889
  13. Berrow's Worcester Journal, 18 May 1889
  14. Berrow's Worcester Journal, 20 July 1889
  15. Sheffield and Rotherham Independent, 28 May 1889
  16. Birmingham Post, 4 March 1891
  17. The Times, 2 October 1912