Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Lancashire Steel Corporation

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1933. General View of the Works at Irlam.
1933. The Works at Irlam.
1933. Coke Oven Plant and Crusher House. Crusher House with Washery and Coke Quencher Behind.
1960. Irlam Works

of Warrington and Irlam.

1930 The Lancashire Steel Corporation was formed to acquire the iron and steel businesses of the Pearson and Knowles Coal and Iron Co Ltd, the Partington Steel and Iron Co Ltd and the Wigan Coal and Iron Co Ltd[1]. Another new company was formed to hold the coal interests which would be called the Wigan Coal Corporation Ltd of which the Lancashire Steel Corporation would hold a 40 percent interest. The share capital of Rylands Brothers of Warrington, perviously held by Pearson and Knowles Coal and Iron Co also transferred to the new steel company. New capital would be raised which would be used for investment in expanding the Irlam steel plant[2]. The works at Irlam (west of Manchester) was located on the Manchester Ship Canal, and was an integrated iron and steel works. The 2 new companies were formed under the auspices of the Securities Management Trust, formed by the Bank of England to facilitate reconstruction of the iron and steel industry[3].

1930 Became a public company

Formation of Pearson and Knowles Engineering Co to handle the structural and general engineering activities of Pearson and Knowles that had been built up over the past 60 years.

1931 'THE LANCASHIRE RATIONALISATION. The Lancashire Steel Corporation, Ltd., which represents a recent fusion of steel interests in Lancashire, intends to concentrate its activities at the Partington iron and steel works near Manchester. Developments to be carried out there include new coking plant to enable the company to utilise waste gas for driving rolling mills and steel furnaces, a dock capable of handling 4,000 tons of ore per day, new furnaces which will the largest of their kind in the country, with an output of 400,000 tons of steel ingots per year, and a cogging mill — the first of its kind in Great Britain — to roll ingots up to five tons. The supply of iron ore is being safeguarded for several years ahead.' [4]

1932 Acquired Whitecross Co of Warrington[5]. Also acquired at/around this time Pearson and Knowles Engineering Co Ltd, Penfold Fencing and Engineering Ltd of Watford, and Fleming and Company of Warrington, makers of fibre core for wire ropes[6].

1933 Jointly Lancashire Steel Corporation and Monks, Hall and Co purchased William Robertson (of Warrington), manufacturers of bright drawn products[7].

1935 See Lancashire Steel Corporation:1935 Review

1936 Purchased interest in Broughton and Plas Power Coal Co Ltd[8].

1937 Jointly with Stewarts and Lloyds formed Lancashire and Corby Steel Manufacturing Co Ltd and Lancashire and Corby Steel Selling Co Ltd for the production and sale of cold rolled steel strip[9]

1948 Subsidiary companies included Rylands Brothers, Whitecross Co and Pearson and Knowles Engineering Works, which had been expanded in its speciality area, oil well rod equipment[10].

1951 Nationalised under the Iron and Steel Act; became part of the Iron and Steel Corporation of Great Britain[11]

1954 Announcement of offer for sale of shares in the company; this was the second public offer for sale of shares in a company held by the Iron and Steel Holding and Rationalization Agency. Preference would again be given to former shareholders[12].

1961 Holding company for eight subsidiaries (one of which was presumably Lancashire Steel Manufacturing Co). Works at Warrington and Irlam. Employs 9,000 persons

1963 Consideration was being given to resiting the Warrington Works of Pearson and Knowles Engineering Works in order to achieve modernisation[13].

A new Rod & Bar Mill was opened in the early 1960s, with rolling mill equipment by Davy-United driven by electrical plant from the English Electric Co.

1967 One of the 14 largest steel companies, representing about 90 per cent of the UK's steel making capacity, brought into public ownership as part of the British Steel Corporation[14].

1971 It was decided to end iron and steel production as part of the industry's rationalisation, despite the site being highly profitable.

1973 British Steel sold its carbon- and mild-steel wire-making activities at Warrington (Rylands and Whitecross) and at Middlesbrough (Dorman Long) into a new company Rylands-Whitecross, jointly owned by Tinsley Wire Industries and British Ropes[15]

1974 Iron and steel production ceased at Irlam, leaving only the modern Rod & Bar Mill in operation.

1979 Closure of the Irlam Rod & Bar Mill

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times, 13 January 1954
  2. The Times, 22 May 1930
  3. The Times, 20 December 1932
  4. Sheffield Daily Telegraph - Saturday 21 March 1931
  5. The Times, 20 December 1932
  6. The Times, 13 January 1954
  7. The Times, 13 January 1954
  8. The Times, 13 January 1954
  9. The Times, 13 January 1954
  10. The Times, 3 June 1948
  11. Hansard 19 February 1951
  12. The Times, 7 January 1954
  13. The Times, 23 January 1963
  14. The Times, 1 May 1965
  15. The Times, Aug 17, 1973