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ReferenceBDB 47
TitleMillom Hematite Ore and Iron Company Limited (and associated companies)
DescriptionComprises business records of the Millom Hematite Ore and Iron Company Limited 1890 - 1968 (previously known as the Millom and Askam Hematite Iron Company Limited), it's predeccesor the Cumberland Iron Mining and Smelting Company Limited 1875-1890, and associated companies including the Whicham Mining Company Limited 1881 - 1895; Alquife Mines and Railway Company Limited 1900 - 1951; Whitehaven Colliery Company Limited 1914 - 1933; Barrow Ironworks Limited (previously Barrow Hematite Steel Company Limited) 1859 - 1963; Ullcoats Mining Company Limited 1900 - 1968; Wyndham Mining Company Limited c1890 - 1924; North Lonsdale Iron and Steel Company Limited 1873 - 1968 and it's subsidiary Gatra Mining Company 1919 - 1959; Randolph Coke and Chemical Company Limited (previously known as Sadler and Company (Coke Ovens) Limited); Gjers, Mills and Company Limited; and Millom and Barrow Hematite Iron Company (Sales) Limited.

The records held are corporate, including minute books, Director's reports, and share records; financial; legal; production, including transport records, boring records, and mineral analyses; property records for land, buildings, plant, equipment and quarry; staff records including time and wages, health and welfare, and recruitment; advertising and sales; various correspondence; and some maps, plans, and photographs.

For related collections see
BDHJ/147 - 173, 406, 430, 438,439, and 443
YDB 40 - Florence and Ullcoats
BDB 70 - Barrow Hematite Iron and Steel Company
BDBUC - Buccleuch Estates
BDB 21 - Hodbarrow Mining Company Limited
Date1824 - 1970
Extent14 subfonds
ContextThe Cumberland Iron Mining and Smelting Company Limited, was incorporated on the 29 Jun 1865. Thomas Barlow Massicks was the managing director, and George Henry Horsfall of Aigburth Liverpool was the Chairman. The company held land at Holborn Hill and Borwick Rails, adjacent to the Hodbarrow Mining Company Limited.

By Sep 1867 the first iron was being produced from two furnaces and by 1870 there were 6 furnaces with a daily output of 100 tons, and these were replaced by yet higher capacity furnaces in 1874.

The company merged with the Askam and Mouzell Iron Company Limited on 23 Sep 1890 to create the Millom and Askam Hematite Iron Company Limited. The Askam works closed for some time as production could be met at Millom and the furnaces were only in blast intermittently between 1900 and 1914. They went out of blast completely in April 1919 to concentrate works at the Millom site, and it was finally demolished in 1938.

Other associated companies mentioned within the collection during this early period are the Whicham Mining Company, Eskett Iron Ore Company, Murton Mining Company, Salter & Eskett Park Mining Company, Highfield Mining Company, and the Waterblean Mining Company.

The Millom and Askam Company were also major shareholders or held a controlling interest in the Whitehaven Colliery Company, Barrow Hematite Steel Company Limited, Camerton Coal and Firebrick Company Limited, and Wyndham Mining Company.

A primary subsidiary company was the Alquife Mines and Railway Company Limited of Granada, Spain. In 1900 the Millom Company entered into partnership with the Coltness Iron Company Limited of Glasgow and formed the Alquife Mines and Railway Company Limited. Ore could be obtained from here cheaply and it ensured a competitive supply of ore from Europe. Output was much more than the company required so the excess was sold to the open market. By 1925 the Coltness Company had been bought out for £100'000. There were issues with labour and strikes due to changes in government, political tensions, and a decline in industry. This led up to the Spanish Civil War of 1936 - 1939. The site remained surprisingly intact and continued to be worked after peace. To ship ore directly to Millom there was a railway branch from Alquife to the port of Almeria, where they owned a large ore loading terminal known as "El Cable Inglés". Due to nationalisation in 1951 the Alquife Mines and Railway Company Limited shares were transferred to a new holding company, the Alquife Ore Company Limited.

Another subsidiary was the Ullcoats Mining Company, incorporated 20 Aug 1897, that eventually owned the Florence and Ullcoats Mines in Egremont. Millom involvement came in 1917, when in partnership with the North Lonsdale Iron and Steel Company and the Barrow Hematite Steel Company, the Ullcoats Mining Company was purchased to avoid outside competitors getting involved. Millom held a controlling share and when in 1932, the Millom Company merged with the North Lonsdale Iron & Steel Company, they gained full control of the Ullcoats Mining Company. Sinking of Florence Number 2 shaft began in 1940, was finished by 1946, and ore was being raised from 1948. In the 1950s the Ullcoats Mine was connected to the Florence Mine underground, to make one large working. The Ullcoats mine was closed in about 1968 on the liquidation of the Millom Company. The Beckermet mines (part of the British Steel Corporation) took over in 1971 and worked it successfully until Oct 1980. Florence Mine refused to die however and under the Egremont Mining Company, Florence became the last deep working iron ore mine in Europe. A heritage centre opened alongside it, but both closed in 2007 due to spiralling costs.

The Millom and Askam Hematite Iron Company Limited merged with the North Lonsdale Iron and Steel Company Limited in 1932. Not only did they get the full control of the Ullcoats Company, but they also acquired the Cleator Moor Ironworks, Plumpton Mines, and royalties at Lamplugh and Red How. In 1938 the three furnaces were blown out to concentrate production at Millom. Negotiations were entered into with Glaxo Pharmaceuticals over the sale of North Lonsdale land in Ulverston and an agreement was reached in Feb 1947. Cleator Moor Ironworks was sold to the Board of Trade in Apr 1948 for £2400. The company was finally liquidated in 1959.

On the 15 Feb 1951 the Millom and Askam Hematite Iron Company Limited was nationalised under the Iron and Steel Act of 1949, and became part of the Iron and Steel Corporation of Great Britain. When nationalisation ended in 1958 it's properties, and as mentioned earlier, the Hodbarrow Mining Company Limited, were sold to the Millom Hematite Ore and Iron Company Limited. Not long after, in 1959, the company's shares were acquired by the Cranleigh group, but the Millom Hematite Ore and Iron Company Limited continued to exist as a subsidiary company, and the organisation was left fully in-tact.
It was under the Cranleigh Group that the Randolph Coke and Chemical Company Limited in Evenwood was acquired. Previously called the Sadler & Company (Coke Ovens) Limited, it became a wholly owned subsidiary of the Millom Company in late 1960. Gjers, Mills and Company Limited of Middlesbrough was another late addition to the Millom Company. It was bought from the Holding Realisation Agency in 1963, but disappears from the records after Oct 1966.

It was also under Cranleigh that a decision was made to attempt to develop the production of steel. In partnership with the British Iron & Steel Research Association, a pilot plant was set up that converted iron to steel by injecting oxygen, basically a spray steel process, that in this instance was known as the Millspray process. After various trials, negotiations were entered in to, to open a revolutionary new steel plant, that would generate over 1000 jobs. This political and financial battle was unsuccessful due to the government's doubts that it would provide a large scale, continued steel-making process. Millom Ironworks was closed on Fri 13 Sep 1968, ending over a 100 years existence.
Catalogue levelFonds

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Persons
CodePerson/Corporate namesDates
NA294Millom & Askam Hematite Iron Co Ltd; 1866-1969; iron ore proprietors and pig iron manufacturers1866-1969
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