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This Harcros safety video I now have it coped onto DVD want a copy then E-Mail me.
Site History of the Foundry
By Mark Nicholls
In 1843, the business was taken over by Richard’s son John. In 1847 the property had become an Iron foundry and blacksmiths shop, worked by a small steam engine outside the building .At this time it only employed 10 people , but nine years later it had developed further with an office and storeroom. This is probably the oldest part of the present factory building situated to the right of the main entrance.
On the death of John in 1853, the business was run as a partnership between his widow Caroline and his eldest son Edwin, then only seventeen. Six years later Edwin took full control of the business. Under his guidance the property was enlarged during the next decade. In 1861, one acre of ground together with the old Fox and Hounds public house, situated immediately e behind the original foundry buildings, was purchased and later became the main office, a new public house of the same name being built 80 yds away. In 1866 a row of seven cottages to the left of the entrance, built in 1852 on the site of the outhouse and maltings of the old Fox and Hounds, known as Maltings Row was purchased. They remained until the factory again expanded in the late 1930’s. In 1864, the foundry extended its boundary across the road with the acquisition of five and half acres of land between the High Street, Patrick’s Lane, Wicken Road and the canal. Only a small amount of this land between the brook and the high street was developed for industrial use.
In 1875 Henry, Edwin’s younger brother, became a partner in the business. Some fifteen years later, they formed themselves into a Limited Company with total assets of~,37,000, trading under the name of ’E&H Robert’s’. The only surviving bill head refers to the business as the ‘Deanshanger Iron Works’ but it was also known from time to time as ‘Britannia Iron Works’. The expansion of the industry came mostly under Edwin. The business undertook agricultural, general and hydraulic engineering as well as Iron and brass founding and millwright . The associated business of Albert Robert’s who was a builders merchant, oil broker and general agent, was also incorporated.
Railway access was 5 miles away in Wolverton with the L&NWR and for a short period the Wolverton and Stony Stratford Tramway provided a connection to Deanshanger. Raw materials such as pig Iron, coal , timber from London and finished export products e.g. elevators to France, Algeria and India as well as ploughs to South Africa were also extensively transported to and from the canal side wharf running to the back of the works. The canal was the Buckingham branch of the Grand Junction Canal.
In 1885 75 people were employed. The factory continued to flourish into the earliest part of the century. In its heyday, it employed 100-150 men including 30 apprentices. They produced articles such as elevators, binders, mowing machines and other agricultural equipment as well as windmills for driving water pumps, manhole covers, Iron gratings, railings, gates and kitchen ranges. They also produced the Mephisto Prize Medal Gang Plough, a specimen of which , was permanently exhibited at agricultural shows throughout the country and also exported to many parts of the world.
Edwin Robert’s died in 1907 and Tom, one of his sons became Managing Director. On 11th September 1912, a disastrous fire destroyed several shops. The origin of the fire remained a mystery although , it was thought to have began along side the canal. The building which contained the carpenters and wheelwrights shop and paint shop burnt so fiercely that they were destroyed in less than two hours, the only undamaged part being a front wall along the village High Street. The newspaper report said that the carpenters and wheelwrights shop contained ‘new and valuable machinery’ and the damage from the fire was estimated at over £5000. Immediately after the fire the lean-to’s on the opposite side of the road were converted to wood stores and painting sheds. The Insurance Company compensation allowed the buildings to be reconstructed and modernised. This enabled the foundry to meet the substantial Increase in output brought about by the World War At the time when so many men were away in the services it became necessary to employ women and girls in the foundry.
This boom continued until 1923 but after an economic upheaval caused by the Iron molders strike and then the General Strike, the business went into decline. Despite a rescue attempt by Robert’s, the business was wound up and it went into liquidation in 1927. Machinery, stock and registered trademarks were sold off at auction in 1929. The site, comprising of 36,000 sq.ft. of buildings and three acres of land, remained unsold and lay vacant until the mid, thirties when purchased by the Wreschner family.
In 1935, Ashby Smelting was founded as a joint venture between Morris Ashby and the Wreschner family to manufacture Red Lead on the site. Two years later , Iron oxide production started.
The Billiton division of Shell took over Morris Ashby in 1979 and in 1982, Harrisons and Crosfield purchased Deanshanger Oxides from the Wreschner family and Shell.
RED LEAD/ OLD FITTING SHOP/ CARPENTERS SHOP
Part of Robert’s old Iron foundry etc. converted to Red Lead about 1936. Used to be a well in the corner for water. There also was a small steam engine housed in another part. Out side main doors ran steel tracks up to the canal The building also housed the fitters and carpenters .In 1980 the carpenters moved to a new work shop inside the bag store .The fitters moved into their new purpose built three storey Maintenance / Mess block, built in the Pony field in early 1989. Red lead production ceased in December 1991, the majority of the buildings being decontaminated and demolished starting in December 1995 and completed in 1996. That which is left, is now used as a store for imported Chinese Iron oxide.
N/F - BOILERHOUSE / ENGINE ROOM
There was no factory on the south side of the road in 1945, only a small weighbridge and an old stable, willow trees were growing along the side the brook, with a wooden bridge leading to a paddock and vegetable garden to Lodore.
1946 Saw the rise of the old boiler house chimney, It was then left to cure for three years. (The boiler house and chimney were situated in N/Fl where vats 27,28,29, were later built.) December 1949 was when the three coal boilers where commissioned, fed manually by shovel .The coal being brought in on the Companies new lorries from Wolverton coal yard These lorries were also used to dispatch all the oxide and red lead to customers and the docks. Also collecting the steel cans from London and the copperas from Grimsby.
Another chimney was built in 1952 on the site of the new boiler house which was purpose built to house 4 second hand Lancashire boilers that were to be automatically coal fed .Elevators outside fed the coal from a storage hopper built into the ground, up to a conveyor system that fed hoppers above each individual boiler, but this was never used. In the late SOs oil tanks were built opposite the new boilerhouse (across the now covered in brook) .Two tanks were built originally and a third added in the early 70s, these tank held heavy oil for the boilers .The tanks were bedded on gravel.
Maxecon boilers replaced the old Lancashire boilers in the early 70s and an extension was built over the top of the old coal storage hopper to site number 5 boiler , it having its own steel chimney. There is a pit at the back of boiler house for spring water. The makeup water for the boilers is river water which has been filtered and then treated in the water softeners situated between N/Fl and N/F2 .In 1985 Esmill water system was placed at the back of the boilerhouse, this ~was to reduce oil levels in boiler water but was not a success .Natural gas was supplied to the site in September 1985 after the installation of a high pressure main which runs up the centre of the High Street.
Number 4 boiler exploded on the 21st February 1983, killing the boilerhouse man. On 6th July 1991 the boilerhouse chimney was struck by lightning, the flash over blew out bricks from the top of the chimney and between the conductor strip and the stack access door a hole was blown.
The old boilers from the original boilerhouse were cut up in the early 60s and the old chimney was knocked down some 30 years later in 1996.
The boilers used to supply live steam for the vats and later the engines.
The engine room was originally part of Lodore garden and was purpose built to house steam driven generators (initially 2). The third engine being added in the70s and the forth in the 80s. The steel tank under floor plates is for blow down purpose on steam inlets for engines. The engines used to supply electricity for the factory and low pressure steam for the Vats. The condensate being gathered in tanks in N/F. 1,2 &3 then pumped back to the boilerhouse for re-use In January 1997 the Engines were shut down.
Bag store purpose built for storing finished product and housing the Companies own fleet of lorries. Carpenters shop in small part of building. The Bag store N/Fl & 2 were old Aircraft Hangars
The garage is situated at the bottom of the bag store, all lorries trucks and tractors were repaired on site.
N/Fl built in 1947 as Vat house with storage area O.L.P. (old large pit )under the floor and condensate tank in the corner. There is also a pit in centre of shop for keeping the level of spring water down. 17 Vats used to be housed in N/Fl .These were knocked down in 1995, It is now a store for oxide.
N/F2 built in 1948, originally used as product storage ~and converted into vat house in late SOs with a condensate pit in the corner. NSP( new small pit) and NLP (new large pit) dug out. In 1987 Lightning stirrers were fitted in the NLP , replacing the old wooden ones. Spring water runs at the top end of the building. Original wooden vats 21-24 knocked down in 1987 and gravel dug out for installation of stainless steel vats 2 1/22 and the pit they sit in. Vats initially commissioned in August-November 1987 . Vats 17-20 were knocked down in 1983 after the boiler house explosion, two portable boilers were temporarily installed on the site. New wooden vats were again built in 1985. All vats in N/F2 are still serviceable although mothballed.
N/F3 originally used as despatch hanger and converted into vat house in early 70s. Floor area was dug out and stone added and vat bases cast. Condense pit installed in corner. Extension added to front of building in late 70s , around 82/83 for housing extra vats. Pit dug out in 1990 for installation of vat 23.
N/F4 originally used for product storage and then converted into vat housing in the 60s. Area dug out in early 80s for holding 2 glass fibre tanks. Brew pit outside main door which was filled in early about 1990. Underground diesel tank outside which was taken out early 1990 due to leakage.
Originally transfer of slurry between the two sides of the factory was under the High Street (edge of N/Fl N/F4 to where number 1 Hoesch press is installed) In the late 60s a pipe gantry was installed which now carries the majority of the lines and service lines in use. The pipe gantry was extended in 1985 , it runs from N/F4 across the roof of N/Fl to the Boiler house and from there to the A.DVats
Tin yard was built on part of the Grand Union Canal ( Buckingham Arm ), dug out and back filled with stone before concreting in 1970. Up until then there was still water in the canal, the fish were removed and taken to the local pits. Also around this time the old canal bridge over High Street was knocked down. The steel cuttings now are brought in, loaded onto large bucketed trucks , which tip the loads into the vats. Years ago the tin cans were brought in, washed, then forked into wheel barrows and taken to the vats.
AD wooden vats were also built on top of the canal in 1985. Area dug out and back filled with stone before concreting.
Car park was 2 semi detached houses and gardens plus a converted barn which was used for bicycle repairs and the selling of hardware. The houses were demolished in 1987.
Farm and out buildings used for storing redundant machinery and reject block payers.
Wicken tip opened as a quarry when Ml motorway was being constructed, all old vat stampings were tipped here. Stopped being used in 1985 . Now has small holding on top.
Stony Stratford tip used for tipping vat waste , stopped being used in 1960
53 High Street purchased July 1992 ,it was going to be used as a training centre . It still stands empty.
Lodore was a private house belonging to the Wreschner family until 1982 when it was converted into offices.
Weighbridge and despatch warehouse. The new warehouse was built in 1972 on Brayfields old farm field, with the new weighbridge being built Just after.
Blue shop was built in 1970 on Brayfields Old farm field, on top of the old village pond. Roadway between Blue shop and river tank used to be old Blue shop pits , these were filled in when the Blue shop was extended. All Blue vats and storage vats were made of glass fibre , this caused a problem at a later time when 1 of them spilt knocking down a side wall and filling the car park with Strongs. The old wooden settlers were replaced initially with concrete vats and eventually stainless steel vats. Just inside door opposite warehouse, was an underground pit for caustic soda dilution .Which was filled in with concrete in 1988, after the new caustic facility had been built. The new caustic facility was built between the Despatch Warehouse and the canal , on an allotment which had been reclaimed from the rubbish that had been left after the building the Warehouse. The caustic soda used to be stored under the river tank on the first floor, in three large tubular tanks , these were removed in 1991. The ground floor was used as a copperas bay for the old Blue shop up until 1970.
Expansion of Blue shop in 1987, involved installation of a rovac filter for the lime plant operation ,also two Edward and Jones presses and the lime silo. Where lime silo was installed, there was an underground pit for making up lime which was inside the lime storage shed. There was a pilot plant built inside the Blue shop , this was for experimental work (in one of the tests Black iron oxide was produced) .1992 Sulphuric acid dosing plant is installed next to Iron pits.
In 1987 saw the commissioning of the new tank farm , cited to the north of the Raymond Milling building, along the side of the maintenance block. Tank farm and maintenance block were both built in the Pony field, on the other side of the canal. 1992 saw the commissioning of the effluent monitoring, allowing treated water to be discharged back into the river at Passenham.
Water is pumped from the river up to the river tank, which then supplies water to the whole site. The tank was replaced in 1978
3 Hayes Road used to be the Village school from 1899 to 1939 when it closed , when a short while latter it became a private house . It was then bought by the Company in 1985 and turned into the training centre in 1987
Red Milling / Reclaim ,building was built in 1976 on the Canal. The area that was dug out was the Old Foundry Wharf and the barge turning point, all back filled with stone and then concreted. The building was originally built for the storage of Earthen Iron Oxide which was brought in by lorry from South Wales. The Oxide was neutralized, in two large pits cited in the corner of the building, (It was then pumped to the number I Red plant) there was also a small sump pit in front. Pits where then used for brewing back to red production and wet M.Y.L. blends. infilled with concrete in 1996. With the cessation of recovered oxide calcination January 1987, the building was used for the installation of red milling and Vrieco storage hoppers 1987, conveying from the calciners being pneumatic. Number 1 Red calciner shuC down in May 1994 . Building changed over to Yellow dispersion facility in 1996, paint making facility built inside building ,on top of one of the old pits 1997. Paint making plant used to make paint for Lillieput Lane. Area at side originally grass has been used for storage of off standard material and also for burning of old bags, pallets etc. which ceased about 1990.
~Raymond milling was built in the early 80s on hard standing used for old machinery. Was primarily built for the storage of recovered oxide but this never took place. In 1988 a Raymond Mill base was installed but again this was not used. In 1994, base was removed and the building used for the installation of a rotary blender and associated equipment (April 1994). Second drum was installed in July 1995. Both of these blenders are to be moved to Birtley in County Durham in the early part of 1999.
The Tin yard was built on Pony field and old Canal in 1987, area dug out to level and excess soil being used to build screens in next field, also deposited in lagoon. The lagoon was dug right out and the spoil taken away .Then filled up with top soil from the field opposite for use as an allotment in 1998.
Present bund area was where old wooden effy vats and red hot water vats were. There also was a central drain which ran across to behind old lead plant drain. Vats were knocked down in 1988 dug out and bund installed.
Big vat built 1987/88/ on old hardstanding area where pipes, mechanical spares, faulty equipment and storage of drums used to take place. Also built at this time were storage vats and boiler house. Big Vat was to increase production by 50% and place Harcros in the top 3 of Oxide producers in the world, at a cost off 10 m plus. The ground work was done and base made for a second Big Vat. Big Vat will cease production in early December 1998
OLD FACTORY FILTER HOUSE
The old original roof was removed in 1980 and a new high span roof fitted. The High Street was closed for this time ,because of the crane straddled across it.( Crane was largest roadcrane at that time!)
In late 1940s four bran ramming machines were bought from Egypt. These were then used for the packing of the iron oxide into hessian open mouth sacks, as previous to these machines being installed, all packing had to be done direct from the hopper. From 1966 onwards saw the modernisation of all packing plants with on going upgrades.
Filtration used to be done on the rotary vacuum filters and the Weir presses feeding the dryers or calciners ( Some of these filters were still in use in 1987) .The first Hoesch press was installed in 1979, (number 1) number 3 in 1983 and number 2 in 1990. In 1988 the Dorr Oliver was installed.
Number 2 Yellow plant was the first yellow plant to run back in the 1940s ,( Being built on the old Maltings Row ) It used a calciner to dry its product. Being changed to a Mitchell dryer in the late 1 960s and upgraded in the 1 990s. Number 1 Yellow was commissioned in 1965 with air controlled packer and a Mitchell dryer again all being upgraded as the years went by. The first blender was installed under the number 1 mill platform in 1984. Then in 1993 the number 1 Blender was installed following the removal of the 400ft filter and its associated dewatering presses. In 1991 a Spray Drying Unit was being investigated, for the purpose of producing Granulated iron oxide, this was never introduced.
Number 1 Red was calcined after filtration ,over the years it had various milling systems including steam .In 1979 there was a fire on the milling platform ,which burnt away most of the roof. The packing station was removed in 1987 ,with the product being pneumatically conveyed to the red milling .The number 1 red was shut down in May 1994.
Number 2 Red was very similar to number 1 red in the way it produced the finished product , but was on a bigger scale.. The old spray chamber and chimney used for both reds was demolished in 1987 . The three gas scrubbers which were installed to take the place of the place of the old spray chamber and chimney were used for only 6 years.( Also the Delta stack which had to be run with the scrubbers.) These were replaced with the Dry Bag Filter in 199 l, and ran until the 2nd September 1995. This was when the number 2 red finally ground to a halt, an end of an era of making reds at Deanshanger. Soon after all of the plant was removed.
Old Stores and Laboratory modernised, with the first floor being turned into offices in 1991. The Old Fox and Hounds were used as offices
Factory was Closed at the end of June 1999.
Material Copyright © 1999 Mark Nicholls
Many Thanks Mick Burgess for the picture of his dad with the single lorry and the one of the fleet
And what would be the date?
The Roll Call of Harcros 1995 (to be updated)
|Denis Anderson||Dawn Stimpson||Nigel Johnson||Shaun Peach||Tony Street|
|Chris Andrews||Barry Dicks||James Johns||Jamie Peach||Andrew Styles|
|Kevin Andrews||Paul Digger||Eric Jones||Kevin Peach||Sue Warren|
|Gawaine Aries||Mark Doherty||John Jones||Chris Pepper||Mike Symons|
|Norman Baker||Kevin Dorrill||Lee Jones||Peter Godbold||Terry Clark|
|Dave Barker||Andrew Drury||Tony Jones||Colin Piosek||Mick Thomas|
|Dave Bartlett||Richard Drury||Jean Rhodes||Steve Piosek||Mark Tolley-Goodger|
|Ian Bartlett||Tony Dumbleton||Ken Buckingham||Phillip Piosek||Colin Townsend|
|Mick Bartlett||Trevor East||Judith Hackitt||Steve Power||Colin Turnbull|
|Peter Bassey||Eric Dakers||Ken Heaton||Gary Prior||Mick Umney|
|Bill Jones||Nick Eldridge||Alfred King||Andrew Prodanovic||Steve Vaughan|
|Brian Johnson||Mick Eley||Lee King||Steve Prodanovic||Colin Walker|
|Nigel Brooker||Paul Fearn||Mick Lawlor||Derek Ray||Kevin Walker|
|Roger Brown||Craig Foskett||Graham Lewis||Robert Easterbrook||Douglas Walker|
|Bryn Cooper||Morris Frohawk||David Lloyd||Clive Richards||Miles Warnes|
|Sean Byrne||Maurice Gay||Mark Lloyd||Robin Mills||Allen Warren|
|Michael Bywater||George Mills||Bob Marshall||Brian Russell||Graham Warren|
|Mitch Canvin||Richard Gibbs||John Mc.Allister||Sarah Williams||William Warren|
|Tom Cartwright||Dave Goodman||Gary Mills||Pete Saunders||Paul Waugh|
|John Cascone||Tony Harris||Gil Moore||Steve Saunders||Malcolm Webb|
|Jonathan Chalk||Robin Hart||Dave Moultrie||Steve Carter||James West|
|John Clements||Harold Atkins||Stuart Murphy||Tony Schumacher||Mark Wright|
|Lionel Coppin||Robert Hearne||Eddie Murray||William Scott||Matt Young|
|Colin Read||John Higgs||Tom Newitt||Steve Selby||Andrew Johnson|
|Phil Crook||Bernard Hiorns||Mark Nicholls||Shaun Flynn||Martin Deards|
|Chris Watts||Doug Hogg||Andrew Nicholls||Brian Sharp||Roy Goodger|
|Trevor Dale||Ted Howe||Roy Nicholls||Steve Simpson||Bob Chapman|
|Chris Davis||John Gregory||Ollie Smith||Chris Simpson||Alan Darby|
|Alaric Davis||James Ivatt||Jeremy Page||Alan Standen||Ken Brown (Contractor)|
PERSONAL ADDRESSEE ONLY
Ms. Judith Hackitt Operations
Mr. Hugh Mc.Aulay Operations Dept - Management
Mr. Denis Anderson Operations Department - Dry
Mr. Kevin Andrews Operations Dept - Wet Area
Mr. Mitch H.R. Canvin Operations Dept - Dry
Mr. Tony Harris Operations Dept - Wet Area
Mr. Brian Johnson Operations - Dry
Mr. Robin Mills Operations Dept - Wet Area
Mr. George Mills Operations Dept - Wet
Mr. Kevin Peach Operations Dept - Dry Area
Mr. Gary Prior Operations Dept - Wet
Mr. Paul Waugh Operations Dept - Wet Area
Miss Sarah Williams Operations
Mr. Laurence Gregory Technical Mgr - Market Harborough
Mr. Chris Andrews Operations Services -
Mr. Norman Baker Phoenix Team
Mr. Bob Chapman Operations Dept - Wet
Mr. Mark Doherty Operations Services - Laboratory
Mr. Bernard Hiorns Operations Services -
Mr. Bob Ratcliffe Operations Services - Laboratory
Mr. Chris Simpson Operations Services -
Mr. Steve Simpson Operations Services - Laboratory
Mr. Colin Turnbull Operations Services -
Mr. Ian Bentley Operations Dept - Engineering
Mr. Jonathan I. Chalk Operations Dept -
Mr. Nick Eldridge Operations Dept - Management
Mr. Bob Marshall Operations Dept - Wet
Mr. Roy D. Nicholls Operations Dept - Engineering
Mr. Colin Walker Operations Dept - Dry
Mr. Nick Carter Operations Dept Dry Area
Mr. Tony Jones Operations Dept - Dry
Mr. Lee King Operations Dept - Dry Area
Mr. Gary Mills Operations Dept - Dry
Mr. Chris Pepper Operations Dept - Dry Area
Mr. Steve Vaughan Operations Dept - Dry
Mr. Ted Howe Operations Dept - Dry Area
Mr. Chris Davis Operations Dept - Dry
Mr. Peter Godbold Sales Mgr - UK Construction Ind
Mr. Ken Heaton, Business Mgr - Coatings & Chemcials
Mr. David Hodges UK National Sales & Mkt Manager
Mr. Mark Nutbeen Sales
Mr. Peter Farmery Sales Manager (SEAME)
Mr. John Gregory Export Sales Mgr
Mr. Harold Atkins Export Sales
Mr. John Gregory Export Sales Mgr
Mr. Harold Atkins Export Sales
Mr. Bill Jones Export
Mr. Don Wallace Technical Services
Mrs. Sue Warren Customer Services
Mrs. Lesley Marshall Customer Services dmin
Mr. Chris Shooter Chief
Mrs. Rita Bedford Accounts Dept
Mrs. Denise Bowes
Mr. John Cascone Operations Management
Mrs. Jean Davies
Mrs. Dilys Henson Accounts Dept
Mr. Bob Johnstone Accounts
Mr. David Millman Accounts Dept
Mrs. Carol O'Neill Telephonist/Receptionist
Mr. Dave Moultrie Operations Dept - Warehouse
Mr. Robin Hart Operations Dept -
Mr. Eric Jones Operations Dept - Warehouse
Mr. Colin Read Operations Dept - Warehouse
Mr. Alan Darby Operations Dept - Safety
Mr. Peter Emery Operations Dept -
Mr. Steve Selby Operations Dept - Engineering
Mrs. Susan Hatton Purchasing
Miss Dawn Stimpson Secretary Operations Dept - Management
Updated 05/08/2017 14:49:05
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