one day at a time…
Monday, 10 November 2003

Pix Of The Day: Rebirth Of An Industrial Titan
CREDITS: © Garth & Sandra Newton/IlkCAM.com
MAPS: Stanton-by-Dale town, HQ office (PDF file), Erewash area interactive.
Thumbnail clicks pop-up source pages with larger images.
Village Cross © Garth NewtonStanton Hall © Garth NewtonAlmshouses © Garth NewtonSchool Lane © Garth Newton
The urban landscape of the UK, below as well as above ground, bears the indelible stamp of 'Stanton & Staveley'. It was an industrial titan in its day, named after two villages where the company began operations, manufacturing water distribution pipes, access covers, rainwater collection ironmongery, and later concrete street lighting columns. The S&S name was a familiar site to those of us who examine the names, insignia, and descriptions emblazoned on everyday utilitarian objects. The local administrative authority, the Erewash Borough Council has a brief history of the area. The following succinct industrial history comes from the University of Nottingham 'Manuscripts and Special Collections' introduction to 'Copies of records of the Stanton Ironworks Co. Ltd and the Staveley Coal and Iron Co. Ltd, 1863-1939':

Stanton-by-Dale and Staveley are two villages near Ilkeston, Derbyshire in an area rich in ironstone. In the 1780s, quarrying began and ironworks were set up on Stanton Moor between the villages of Stanton-by-Dale and Dale Abbey by Charles, the third Earl Stanhope. The first blast furnace plant at Stanton was completed and prepared for use in 1846 and this was followed by further furnaces constructed to meet the demands of the boom in the iron and coal trade. Production at Stanton increased from 500 tons of pig iron a month in the mid nineteenth century to 7,000 tons at the close of the century. Iron pipe manufacture began at Stanton in 1919 and concrete pipe production followed a year later. The Stanton Company acquired the share capital of Holwell Iron Co. Ltd near Melton Mowbray in 1918, the Oakwell Red and Blue Brick Co. Ltd near Ilkeston in 1919, Riddings Ironworks near Alfreton in 1920, and the Wellingborough Iron Co. Ltd in 1932 as well as the blast furnace and pipe foundry businesses of several other conglomerates. The Stanton Company merged with Stewarts and Lloyds Ltd, pipe manufacturers in 1939.

Quarrying for iron ore took place on the Duke of Devonshire's land at Staveley from the 17th century and an iron foundry and furnace was established there. The Staveley Coal and Iron Company became a public limited company in 1863-1864 at a time when the ironworks was producing 20,000 tons of iron castings per year. Charles Markham (1823-1888) took over as managing director and chief engineer in 1863 overseeing a massive expansion in the company, particularly in iron pipe production and coal mining. His elder son, Charles Paxton Markham held the chairmanship from 1894 to 1926 with cast iron production increasing from 700,000 tons a year at the start of his tenure to 2.5 million tons by 1905. The coal industry was nationalised in 1946 and the Staveley Iron and Chemical Company was sold to Stewarts and Lloyds Ltd for six million pounds in 1960.

Stanton PLC was acquired in 1985 by the French Saint-Gobain Group, one of the largest industrial holdings in the world, which operates as Saint-Gobain Pipelines from several sites in the UK. Today, there are over 40 UK and Irish subsidiaries, spread over more than 800 sites. Total annual sales exceed 2.4 billion and the Group employs over 18,000 people in the region.

We expected to find vast tranches of information about the industrial history of the company from its formation in the second half of the 19th century, to its break up and sell off in the second half of the 21st century. We thought after a hundred years of operation there would be as much evidence on the web as there is on and under the streets of the UK. We have not so far found much. Things look a bit brighter on the social history side of the area: the featured pictures you see at the head of today's item come from the IlkCAM.com web site, where there is an eight part [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [latest] (the latter link probably becoming [8] at the time of the next site update) photo investigation of the village of Stanton-by-Dale, where it all began.

We found this in-depth coverage of one small location very interesting. All we need now is to find the on line history of the Stanton & Staveley company. The featured pictures are (left to right): the octagonal shaft of the village cross dating from medieval times with the fleur-de-lys at the head dating from 1632; Stanton Hall, home to Benjamin Smith 'The Ironmaster', and later the Crompton family; the Middlemore Almshouses built between 1711 and 1904; and properties at the end of the village on School Lane. We are inspired to undertake a similar project.

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Jules Laforgue (1860-1887)
"Ah! que la vie est quotidienne."
Oh, what a day-to-day business life is.
'Complainte sur certains ennuis' (1885)