Wigan Coal and Iron Co. - 1800s

Started by: shaas1 (4)

Who owened the company?

Were the steel mills any different?

I'm specifically talking the 1800s; how long has Wigan Coal and Iron been around? My great grandfather worked there as a puddler back before 1881.

I really want to know! Thanks, sh

Started: 11th Dec 2008 at 23:40

Posted by: ayrefield (4465)

Hello shaas1 As far as I am aware Wigan Coal and Iron Company was always owned by the Lindsay family (Earl Crawford of Balcarres) who owned Haigh Hall and the estates. There are items about this company on this site, use the Search box at the top of the page.

Replied: 12th Dec 2008 at 00:00
Last edited by ayrefield: 12th Dec 2008 at 00:09:30

Posted by: ©art© (6154)

Here's the ironworks, known as "Top Place".

Replied: 12th Dec 2008 at 01:23

Posted by: vera howarth (2584) 

I think ayrefield s probably right=t aboutthe owners of Wigan coal &iron co.
This company was a major player in the Wigan coalfield and owned many mines and the iron works as well.
The original name of the works at top lock was Kirkless iron and steel works and it made locomotives from 1865 to 1912.

Replied: 12th Dec 2008 at 11:58

Posted by: nicola (3236) 

I once did a desk based assessment into the development of Kendal, with its canal...Wigan Coal and Iron Co. had an office in Kendal, good trading obviously!

Replied: 12th Dec 2008 at 14:13

Posted by: xrh59 (inactive)

Situated on the right of the canal towpath is land once owned by the Kirkless Hall Coal and Iron Company. It mined the special Cannel Coal. Cannel Coal was mined not just at this site but also within the grounds of Haigh. Cannel is a coal so clean to touch that many statues have been carved from it and even the ladies toilet seats at Haigh Hall were once made from it. So clean it would not dirty the Victorian dresses.
The Kirkless Hall Coal and Iron Company diversified in 1850 to producing iron from 280 coke ovens.

Replied: 12th Dec 2008 at 15:24

Posted by: ayrefield (4465)

The mill at the bottom of Leyland Mill Lane what used to be Potter's Herbals and the Malt works used to be an iron foundry which was always said to have once belonged to the Wigan Coal & Iron Company, the Laxey Wheel is said to have been cast there. When I worked at Potter's in the early 1970's the hooks on which they hung the iron bedsteads etc onto after being laquered were still evident along with the old railway line which would have gone to Red Rock station.

Replied: 12th Dec 2008 at 16:22

Posted by: gaffer (7098) 

THis historical note gives an idea of the vastness of the Kirkless site.

1886 Kirkless has 10 blast furnaces 5 - 80ft high, 5 - 65ft high, 670 beehive coke ovens

1887 Alexandra Pit deepened to Arley Seam

1887 LNWR Amberswood East Jct to Standish Jct opened for passengers

1890 Steelworks opens with 5 open hearth furnaces

1891 Hindley Deep Pit and California Pits close

Replied: 12th Dec 2008 at 16:23

Posted by: ianmcl (inactive)

For much more info try Here

Replied: 12th Dec 2008 at 19:16

Posted by: shaas1 (4)

Thanks to everyone for answering in such a short time! When did this company begin - 1865? What about before then?

Also, did this company supply coal to all of the then England?

What kind (generally)of services - to whom - did this company provide? No, I'm not writing a book, just trying to get a general idea in my head as to the type of company it is - was.


Replied: 13th Dec 2008 at 00:08
Last edited by shaas1: 14th Dec 2008 at 23:44:20

Posted by: shaas1 (4)

I read with great interest about type of Jobs at this place - inside Haigh Hall, that is; NOT list were the gateman, definately a fixture during the 1700-1850 I would think, yet this position is not mentioned. Am I wrong? - sh

Replied: 13th Dec 2008 at 20:48

Posted by: shaas1 (4)

Probably not much is known about gatekeepers since no one has responded to my question concerning gatekeepers.

Let me say that they did once exist, though probably at the beginning, during, or at the end of the 18th century; I'm trying to learn about the history of the big mining mills; and I think coal began all that.

Let me also say that I've use the "search" function on this site (as has been suggested), and I've looked at so much of what is offered; still I find no "gatekeepers", which leads me to believe that I must I must wait to hear more as well as look for more.

I do appreciate what's been given by everyone. -sh

Replied: 15th Dec 2008 at 00:19
Last edited by shaas1: 15th Dec 2008 at 00:25:30

Posted by: marken (375)

Shaas,if you mean the gatekeepers who lived in the lodges at the entrances to the Haigh estate. There are four lodges that I know of. One off Wigan Lane, one in Whelley,one in Hall lane and one in Higher Lane. A Mr.Snape was in the one in Whelley in the 1930s/40s.

Replied: 15th Dec 2008 at 23:51

Posted by: ©art© (6154)

Wigan Lane Lodge
Hall Lane, (Basin Lane Lodge)
Red Rock Lodge
Mowpin Lodge

Replied: 16th Dec 2008 at 01:01

Posted by: ianmcl (inactive)

Am I alone in finding this thread confusing?

The lodges were just that: nothing to do with WCI...

The foundry at Brock Mill was, I believe, much older than WCI

I do get the impression that English may not be Shaas1's first language and that s/he may have an incomplete idea about the situation.

Can I refer once again to the excellent website I quoted above?

Replied: 16th Dec 2008 at 01:34

Posted by: ©art© (6154)

The foundry was at the bottom of Leyland Mill Lane, Ian.( Blueprinters at Brockmill) JT&E
JT&E castings are still there , plus Foundry Cottage, & the first building on the right, by the cast iron gateposts, was Foundry Garage,(now summat different) which my cousin owned & I worked for a while, late 50's early 60's.
I think the "gates" come in as part of the ownership of WC&I Co, being the same as Haigh Hall.
the poster seems to be stuck on gates for some reason, probably a relative who was a gatekeeper
Another point, she speaks of Mining mills & steel. No such thing
Coal mines are what they say they are.
Iron foundrys smelt iron into billets
Steel mills produce steel goods from iron.
I think she may be a bit mixed up in her thinking, in terms of the situation, like you say

Replied: 16th Dec 2008 at 10:52
Last edited by ©art©: 16th Dec 2008 at 10:55:57

Posted by: ianmcl (inactive)

Thanks Art - I always mix up Brock Mill and Leyland Mill Lane

Replied: 7th Jan 2009 at 18:07

Posted by: gaffer (7098) 

Wigan Coal company, after the iron era, employed 10,000 people in their pits in 1945.

Alexandra 188
Chisnall Hall nos 1 & 2 1138
Clock Face 1231
Giant's Hall 493
John & Taylor pits 340
Mains 758
Maypole 1686
Moss nos 3,4,5, & 6 870
Parsonage 1398
Victoria 941
Wigan Junction nos 3 & 4 731

Replied: 7th Jan 2009 at 18:53
Last edited by gaffer: 7th Jan 2009 at 19:00:17

Posted by: explorations (468)

Wigan Coal & Iron by Donald Anderson has all you need. Unfortunately, Smith's bookshop has reduced dramatically and i'm unsure as to whether they continue with a local history section.

All you need to know is in this very book. Thank god for Donald Anderson many do say.

St Helens and Leigh claim their respective pits as their own (Clock Face & Parsonage), but seem to forget the fact WC&I sunk these! Also they did Manton down in Worksop. The Earl at the time was a keen visitor to all of his mines, boosting moral and also gaining the vote to keep his seat. He also defended the rights of miners and had much pity for their low earnings. He never went against them in strikes. One particular story is well documented. Miners surrounded Haigh Hall during a strike in the 1800's incase of attack from the Bolton Miners, the Earl being grateful by allowing them as much as they could drink. Some of the stories you read as to what would happen to miners who didn't strike are pretty vile to say the least!

See my website and scroll through the Earl of Crawford section, this may well offer more information other than the book itself.

p.s. The picture put on by Art of Kirkless is amazing, a classic picture if there ever was one of the former empire. Some buildings still stand, but only in minority. The Kirkless Offices are still there with original doorway, staircase and decor once you have a wander about.

Replied: 12th Jan 2009 at 02:15
Last edited by explorations: 12th Jan 2009 at 02:21:21

Posted by: gaffer (7098) 

Replied: 14th Jan 2009 at 09:09

Posted by: gaffer (7098) 

Replied: 15th Jan 2009 at 17:06

Posted by: explorations (468)

Typical! Here is I over the past few years having pestered the poor bloke in the model shop of Market St (closed down)about getting any WC&I models in so I can start a railway!

Superb wagon by the way. He did tell me a company went through a spell of producing a small amounts WC&I material, but the interest from the public wasn't enough to continue production.

Replied: 15th Jan 2009 at 17:29

Posted by: gaffer (7098) 

Taken from Wigan Corporation marketing dated 1925-26.

Replied: 1st Feb 2009 at 19:01


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