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British Industrial History

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Richard Hill and Co

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Newport Wire Mills, Middlesbrough.

1866 Company established.

Yesterday, the Newport Wire Works, Middlesbrough, were opened with great success. Wire-making in Cleveland is new industry, and is a a welcome addition to the busy hives of Teesside. Messrs. Hill and Ward hare secured a most convenient site for their mills, between Lloyd and Co.'s blast furnaces and Fox, Head, and Co.'s iron works. There is a line into their mills from the Darlington section of the North-Eastern Railway Company, and they are an easy distance from the river side. The mills stand on an acre and a quarter of ground, and are intended to produce wire for fencing, for telegraph systems, and colliery ropes. There are huge guide-mills for the rolling of the wire, which have been constructed by Claridge, North and Co., Staffordshire, and two heating furnaces, fitted with all the newest appliances. In the “drawing” department there is a splendidly-finished engine, by the same firm, and a large number of blocks by Crossley, of Cleckheaton. Several ladies and gentlemen assembled, yesterday, to witness the christening of the mills. Amongst the company present were Miss Ward, Mrs. J. A. Jones, Messrs. Theodore Fox, Jeremiah Head, Hill, J. A. Jones, Gjeers, H. Watteau, Dr. Husband, &c. A little after noon the mills were started by Miss Ward, amidst loud cheering, having broken a bottle of wine on the large fly-wheel of the guide-mill, and christened it the "Pioneer." A stock of puddled bar billets had previously been supplied by Fox, Head, and Co. — the works adjoining — and these were quickly heated to a welding temperature. Skilled workmen then convoyed them to the guide-mills, where, with marvellous rapidity they were passed through the guides, and, after being whirled about like firey serpents, they were in few moments drawn out to thin wire, several hundred feet in length, and coiled up, ready for another process. The coils were then carried away and placed into large tubs, where they were “pickled” in a dilution of sulphuric acid. Next they were taken into the block-shop, where they were drawn through a “die,” coiled on a drum beautifully polished, and fastened up ready for market. The process was very much admired, and as, hitherto, Cleveland iron has been unfit for use in the production of wire rods, the success of the undertaking was the subject of general congratulation. These works will give employment to nearly one hundred men, and will produce one hundred tons of finished wire each week. Coals, iron, and chemicals are obtained from Middlesbrough firms, and the wire will be sent over all parts of the kingdom. The Cleveland Nut and Bolt Company, Middlesbrough, will galvanise wire for the firm. The establishing of wire works in the centre of North of England iron trade is a most desirable thing, and Messrs. Hill and Ward deserve success for the way in which they have entered into this new industry, which it is hoped will be tbe means of inducing capitalists to start other branches of the finished iron trade in the progressive town of Middlesbrough.' [1]

1899 Incorporated as a limited public company. The company, Richard Hill and Co (1899) was registered on 18 March, to acquire the business of steel wire drawers, of a private company entitled Richard Hill and Co[2].

1914 Wire manufacturers, rollers of wire rods, bars, strip and hoops. Speciality: gun wire[3]

1926 They were represented in the London area by Arthur Campling of 3, Victoria-street, Westminster.[4]

1941 Name changed.

1947 Name changed.

1951 Nationalised under the Iron and Steel Act; became part of the Iron and Steel Corporation of Great Britain[5]

1955 Firth Cleveland Ltd acquired Richard Hill and Co as result of its denationalization[6].

1960 Part of Firth Cleveland Ltd, as was Richard Hill Rolling Mills Ltd[7].

1961 Reinforced concrete engineers, wire drawers and manufacturers of "Maxweld" reinforcement fabrics. 319 employees. [8]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Newcastle Daily Chronicle, 9 September 1869
  2. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  3. 1914 Whitakers Red Book
  4. The Engineer 1926/10/29
  5. Hansard 19 February 1951
  6. The Times 8 August 1955
  7. The Times, 28 June 1960
  8. 1961 Dun and Bradstreet KBE