I know this isn’t immediately local to Brownhills, but it’s such a remarkable description of industry at the time that I couldn’t ignore it. Marvel, if you will, at the white heat of technology…
This auction advert is from the Birmingham Journal of Saturday, 22 June 1867. It details the sale of Birchills Ironworks and Collieries, which remained extant until the 1930s. Marvel at the description of the machinery, the transport arrangements and mineral resources.
I’d like to know what ‘Copyhold’ is, and maybe help decoding what some of the names of the Ironstone measures indicate. Any contributions on the technical or transport details are welcome. I’m looking at you chaps – Ian Pell, Dave Moore and Andy Dennis!
Note also that Birchills Ironworks was host to one of the industrial tragedies that made Sister Dorothy Pattison such a well-loved figure. There was a dreadful explosion here in 1875, which killed three men outright, and wounded twelve others. Dora’s care for these wounded men is legendary, and recorded in one of the reliefs in her statue in the centre of Walsall.
Cheers to Peter for the spot, and I typed this one up myself, so sorry for any errors…
THE BIRCHILLS IRONWORKS AND COLLIERIES
TO BE SOLD BY AUCTION
BY Mr. HENRY FARRINGTON, at the George H0tel, Walsall, on MONDAY. the last day of July next, at Four o’clock in the afternoon, in one lot, without any reserve –
The very valuable Freehold. Copyhold, and Leasehold IRONWORKS and MINERAL PROPERTIES, known as the ‘BIRCHILLS IRONWORKS AND COLLIERIES,’ situated in the Foreign of Walsall, in the county of Stafford.
The Works, which are erected on the Freehold part of the Estate, comprise ﬁve Blast Furnaces with two Steam Engines and Blowing Apparatus of great power and modern construction; Hot Air Stoves and Steam Boilers and Inclined Planes (worked by a separate engine) for the conveyance of materials from the Bridge Houses to the tops of the furnaces.
Mine Kilns and Coke Hearths adjoin the Furnaces, and a Siding from the Cannock Branch of the South Staffordshire Railway runs mto the Bridge Houses, by means of which Limestone and ‘foreign’ ores may be delivered at the foot of the inclines or to the kilns.
The Manufacturing part of the Works consists of two Forges with Puddle Bar Rolls, worked by efficient and powerful Engines, with four supplemental Steam Boilers.
There are twenty-eight Puddllng and Mill Furnaces, with vertical Steam Boilers attached all in good condition; and provision is made for the erection of a greater number of Puddling Furnaces.
The Mills consist of three Sheet Mills, two 10 inch- Hoop and Merchant Iron Mills, one 8-Inch ditto, and Guide Mills, with Shears, Bundling Benches. &c.. all complete.
There are nine Mill Furnaces with Boilers, and two Annealing Furnaces; a powerful horizontal Engine, driving one of the merchant iron and guide mills; and a large pair of patent shears.
The Weigh-bridges and Offices, the Store Rooms, Stables, Smithies, Carpenters’ Shops, &c., are conveniently situated for the purposes of the respective departments; and there is a Foundry, with cupolas &c. on the ground.
Pipes from the Walsall Gas Works are laid to the whole, and the requisite ﬁttings are made.
The Collieries are in working condition, with Engines erected and Shafts sunk, and well-constructed Tram and Rail Roads convey the Produce of the Mines for consumption at the Works or to the Canal Basin, or elsewhere for Sale.
The Coal Seams, already proved. are the Yard Coal, the 4-feet coal, the Fire-clay Coal, and the 4-yard coal.
The Ironstone Measures are the New Mine, the Brown Stone, the Rough Hill White Stone, the Gubbin Stone, the Blue Flats, the Silver Thread, and the Diamond Stone, all of excellent quality.
Limestone is believed to exist under the whole Estate, and there are excellent Beds 0! Fire Clay and Common Brick Clay.
The Area is as follows:-
Freehold. Copyhold. Leasehold.
139A. lR. 36P. 11A. 3R. 23P. 64A. 3R. 15P.
Total Area of Surface, 216A. 0R. 34P.
Freehold. Copyhold. Leasehold.
152A. 2R. 16p. 11A. 3R. 23P. 73A. IR. 29P.
Total Areaot Mines, 137A. 3R. 28P.
The reservations in respect of the Leaseholds are very triﬂing, consisting of surface rents only.
The Property Lies within halt a mile of the town of Walsall, and is divided by the Cannock Branch of the South Staﬁordshire Railway before alluded to. In addition to this, the Wolverhampton and Walsall Railway, now in the course of construction, will run through the Estate, which is already traversed by the Wyrley and Essington Canal, and the Turnpike Road from Walaall to Stafford.
The Houses on the Estate, and the other part of it in the occupation of tenants, produce an aggregate rental of £327. or thereabouts per annum.
The Property may be viewed on application to Mr. George Williams, Mine Agent, at the Works.
Particulars and plans, and any further information, may be obtained in London, of Mr. W. H. Duignan, Solicitor, 57, Chancery Lane; in Walsall, of Messrs Duignan, Lewis, and Lewis, Solicitors; or the Auctioneer; and in Wolverhampton, of Mr. Thomas Bolton and Messrs. H. and J. E. Underhill, Solicitors. Particulars and plans may also be obtained at the principal Hotels in Walaall, Wolverhampton, and Dudley; and at the Offices of the Midland Counties Herald, Birmingham.