Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Banks and Onions

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1781 John Wilkinson complained to Matthew Boulton that Banks & Onions had copied his cylinder boring mill (which was not patented).[1]

1788–9 The Coneybury or Broseley Bottom Coal furnace, located on the Broseley Hall estate, north-east of Broseley was operated by Banks and Onions. They began to supply pig iron to the Stour Valley forges.

By 1800 William Banks and John Onions operated the works, probably as Banks and Co., along with a foundry west of Church Street

1801 William Wilkinson described the products of Onions's new Broseley foundry as the neatest he had seen anywhere.

1802 The Lilleshall Company was founded to take over the works at Lilleshall. The partners were the Marquess of Stafford' second son and four local capitalists, John Bishton the elder, James Birch, John Onions, and William Phillips [2]

1803 Banks died; Onions bought his share

1806 Onions took over another Broseley furnace soon after it had been built by John Guest by the Coalport Road. Blown out by 1840.

1810 Produced one of the first iron boats, the 50-ton Victory. John Onions continued to trade as an ironfounder and brickmaker in 1810 as the Broseley Furnace Co.

1819 John Onions senior died; he was succeeded by his son John junior.

1823 The Broseley furnaces may have been blown out but limited production continued for some time; buildings still stood at the foundry site in 1844.

By the 1840s Onions’ foundry was the only ironworks left on the south side of the Severn at Broseley.

The Onions also owned furnaces at Benthall and Brierley Hill.

1845 John Onions, ironmaster, was director of several railway companies including the Dudley, Madeley and Broseley Railway[3].

1851 John junior lived at Whitehall, Broseley.

1859 John Junior died

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. 'The Early History of the Cylinder Boring Machine' by E A Forward, Trans. Newcomen Society, Volume 5, Issue 1 (1924), pp. 24-38
  2. 'Lilleshall: Economic history', A History of the County of Shropshire: Volume 11: Telford (1985), pp. 155-164 [1]
  3. The Times 31 October 1845
  • Broseley's History Coal and Iron
  • Broseley's History [2]
  • 'Broseley', A History of the County of Shropshire: Volume 10: Munslow Hundred (part), The Liberty and Borough of Wenlock (1998), pp. 257-293. [[3]