Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Madeley Wood Co

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Brick and tile makers, of Ironbridge; makers of Broseley roofing products

1757-8 The first Madeley Wood Co erected blast furnaces at Bedlam.

1770s the Madeley Wood Co was acquired by Abraham Darby (1750-1789); at that time the company had natural tar works at Coalport.

1796 the interests of the Darby and Reynolds families were separated - William and Joseph Reynolds (1768-1859) took charge of the Madeley Wood and Ketley ironworks.

Early 19th century, William Reynolds's interests in Madeley Wood had passed to the Anstices.

1832 A relaunched Madeley Wood Co moved the blast furnaces from Bedlam, eastwards to a canalside site on Blists Hill, where the company had mining operations

1832 The company built a new blast furnace

1840 Another new furnace

1844 Another new furnace

With limestone from Lincoln Hill and local coal and ores the company produced first class grey forge iron.

Took over brickworks near Bedlam which had been established by Roger Cock in the early 19th century to make white bricks.

By 1849 there were brickworks of the Madeley Wood Co at Bedlam and Blists Hill, white bricks at Bedlam and red bricks at Blists Hill

1867 Management of the business was taken on by William Reynolds Anstice and his nephews (presumably) John Arthur Anstice and Richard Edmund Anstice

Late 19th century: The company's technology was old fashioned but its cold-blast pig iron was widely considered the best for hollow-ware manufacture, and the company survived the depression by concentrating on that product. But profits came from coalmining rather than iron making.

Mid 1880s Madeley Wood Co was advertising a wide range of Broseley bricks and tiles; manufacture was concentrated at Blists Hill.

By 1891 Advert: Were making bricks and tiles - Broseley roofing products

1908 Two of the furnaces were blown out shortly after 1908

1912 The third was blown out after a strike; the company concentrated on its colliery operations

By 1912 the Blists Hill Brickworks had been taken over by George Legge and Son

1915 the Madeley Wood Co. negotiated a new lease of the manorial coal and ironstone.

See Also


Sources of Information

  • From: 'Madeley: Economic history', A History of the County of Shropshire: Volume 11: Telford (1985), pp. 40-56 [1].