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British Industrial History

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Alfred Hickman (1830-1910)

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Sir Alfred Hickman (1830-1910), founder of Alfred Hickman

1830 Born, son of G. R. Hickman, ironmaster and colliery owner

Later on worked with his brother, George Haden Hickman, at the Groveland Ironworks, Tipton,

1851 Entered into partnership with his father.

Subsequently he acquired the blast furnaces at Spring Vale, near Bilston, which he quickly enlarged, making it the most important of its type in Staffordshire.

1882 Established the Staffordshire Steel and Ingot Iron Co

c.1890 Founded the steel-making firm of Alfred Hickman on another site close to Spring Vale

1910 Obituary [1]

Sir ALFRED HICKMAN, Bart., Member of Council, died on March 11, 1910, at his residence, Wightwick, Wolverhampton. He was born in July 1830, and was therefore in his eightieth year at the time of his death. He was the son of Mr. G. R. Hickman, an ironmaster and colliery proprietor, of Tipton. He was educated at King Edward's School, Birmingham, and at the age of sixteen joined his father in business.

Later on he for a time worked with his brother, the late Mr. George H. Hickman, at the Groveland Ironworks, Tipton, and in 1851 entered into partnership with his father. Subsequently 'he acquired the blast-furnaces at Spring Vale, near Bilston, which he quickly enlarged, and the equipment is now among the most important in Staffordshire. About twenty years ago he founded the South Staffordshire Steel Ingot Company, Ltd., the works of which have since been considerably extended, so that nowadays the two concerns known as Alfred Hickman, Ltd., employ a number of men approaching 2000. Some time ago he transferred to the Steel Company the Spring Vale furnaces and the Ladymoor colliery. These various businesses did not, however, alone represent his interests. He was also owner of the Haunchwood and Tunnel collieries, near Nuneaton, and of extensive ironstone quarries in the neighbourhood of Banbury. He several times represented the West Division of Wolverhampton in Parliament, having been elected in 1885 the first Conservative member for that borough.

In 1883 and 1884, as chairman of the Wolverhampton Chamber of Commerce, he endeavoured to reduce the rates charged by the railway companies for the conveyance of goods to and from the Midlands. He held that these rates were excessive and that they were crippling business. He was an advocate of cheap conveyance in every direction, and was in favour of an improved means of water communication between the ports of London, Liverpool, and Gloucester, and was the author of a pamphlet on the subject. He was, further, made a member of the Commission appointed to consider the question of light railways, on the lines of the Report of which the Light Railways Act was based.

He was a member of the Mining Association of Great Britain, and Past-President of the British Iron Trade Association. He was made a member of the Advisory Committee of the Commercial Intelligence Branch of the Board of Trade in 1900.

He was elected a member of the Iron and Steel Institute in 1879, and a member of Council in 1896.

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