Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 146,884 pages of information and 232,615 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.
The Brymbo Steelworks was a large steelworks in the village of Brymbo near Wrexham, Wales.
1793 Iron works were founded at Brymbo by John 'Iron Mad' Wilkinson who built a blast furnace in 1793, just after he bought Brymbo Hall. The reasons for his move from the nearby Bersham Ironworks are not clear, but it may be that there was no room for expansion, that he only rented Bersham, or due to difficulties with his brother William, who was claiming a share in his business.
1805 A second furnace was built by 1805 and a third about 1869, but from 1892 no more than two were used, and from 1912 only one.
After Wilkinson's death, his estate was contested between his natural children and legitimate heirs and the works passed through various hands.
1842 Henry Robertson, civil engineer, was approached by a group of investors, (including William Mackenzie, William Betts, and A. M. Ross) to report on the practicality of restoring the derelict Brymbo ironworks. Robertson was favourably impressed by the industrial potential of the area and, when the necessary capital had been raised, he moved south to Chester.
The Brymbo Iron Co was formed to manage the works
1874 Charles Darby and Jonathan Green, furnace manager, gained a patent on improvements related to blast or smelting furnaces
After the Darbys died in 1883 and 1884, the business was incorporated as Brymbo Steel Co in 1884.
1883-4 John Henry Darby designed and erected the Brymbo Steel Works where basic open hearth steel was first made in Britain on a commercial scale.
c.1931 The works closed
1933 A receiver was appointed
1934 The business changed company name again in 1934.
1936 Due to pressure of demand the works were kept going through the Christmas period
1938 The works were stopped because customers had too much stock in hand
1940 Installed new electric furnace melting shop and planned to blow-in the blast furnace for making basic pig iron
1942 A blowing engine was installed by Richardsons, Westgarth and Co
The works were served by the Wrexham and Minera Branch of the Great Western Railway, later of British Railways.
1959 Installation of electric arc furnace which for the first time (in the UK?) could receive a major charge of molten iron from a blast furnace. Mill enlarged.
Was a branch of GKN Steel Co. Ltd in the early 1960s.
1967 After some argument about whether GKN's vertical integration should mean that Brymbo was not nationalised with the rest of the steel industry, it became a division of British Steel
1973 After lengthy negotiations, GKN repurchased Brymbo Steel Works from British Steel, for £20million, including the sale of GKN Dowlais to British Steel. GKN took about 70 percent of the output of Brymbo; most of the output of Dowlais (ingot moulds) went to British Steel
1990 The steelworks lasted until 1990, when it was closed. 1,100 jobs were lost