Shelton Iron and Steel Co | Shelton Bar | Earl Granville Works


Chronology of the Shelton Steel Works

1841 4th Earl Granville began to produce pig iron by smelting locally mined ironstone. Much of the pig from the blast furnaces at Earl Granville's "Shelton Coal & Iron Works" was converted into wrought (malleable) iron in the puddling furnaces of an adjacent, but nominally separate business, the Shelton Bar Iron Company (Granville had a large financial stake in this business).


1841 The racecourse west of the Cobridge Road (where horse racing had taken place since 1824) was closed and coal and ironstone pits sunk on the site.


1850 Earl Granville erected a bank of blast furnaces on the west bank of the canal at Etruria, and further industrial expansion on this site - sometimes referred to as the 'new side' - brought considerable growth to Hanley in the second half of the 19th century.

The first rolling mill installed and in 1855 the "Shelton Bar Iron Company" won the silver medal for wrought iron quality at the Great Exhibition in Paris.


1850 A mineral railway built to serve the ironworks and Shelton colliery.


1864 Passenger branch of railway opened to Hanley.


1873 Railway extended northwards (the Potteries loop) via Burslem to Kidsgrove.


1888 Open-hearth steel converters installed on the 'new side'.


1889 Earl Granville's iron and coal business finally amalgamated with the Shelton Bar Iron Co. the new company was named Shelton, Iron, Steel & Coal Co. Ltd.


mid 1890's The 'Racecourse Pits' were employing over 800 men and boys.


1900's A Simon-Carves Coking and by-products plant installed, which transformed the works into a modern, fully-integrated iron and steel making complex.


1920 The Shelton complex acquired by John Summers & Sons Ltd, to provide them with raw materials (pig iron, coal and coke) for their Shotton ironworks on Deeside.
Under Summers ownership Shelton was transformed into an extremely efficient, modern plant.


1937 Racecourse pits closed.


1947 Shelton's coal operation were nationalised as part of the National Coal Board.

At this time the workforce amounted to more than 10,000. There were five coalmines on the site, steelworks and rolling mills, a coking plant, blast furnaces and a bi-product factory.

1951 UK Iron and Steel making (including the Shelton Works) nationalised.


1953 Industry denationalised by the incoming Tory administration, effective 1956.


1964 A 18 million scheme commissioned consisting of a Kaldo steel converter, Distington continuous casting complex and new section rolling mills.

In 1964 Shelton was the worlds first steel plant using 100% continuously cast production.


1967 Shelton works was re-nationalised. 
Iron & Steel Act 1967
The Iron and Steel Act of 1967 brought the 14 largest steel companies, representing about 90 per cent of the UK's steelmaking capacity, into public ownership as the British Steel Corporation.
1978 Iron and steelmaking was discontinued under the British Steel Corporation's rationalisation plans - the blast furnaces and steel converter were closed.
The relatively modern section mills on the 'new side' survived and rolled steel blooms from British Steels Teeside Works.


1986 National Garden Festival
Stoke was chosen as the site for the National Garden Festival in 1986. It was located around Wedgwood's Etruria and Shelton steel works, reclaiming an expanse of land devastated by the effects of heavy industry. The site is now Festival Park, a complex of leisure and business facilities attracting visitors from the Midlands area and beyond and contributing to the City's economic infrastructure.


In 1988, after a period of profound rationalisation, British Steel Corporation was privatised to become British Steel Plc.


1999 British Steel Plc and the Dutch firm Hoogovens merged to form 'Corus'


2000 27th April 2000, Closure of the Shelton Works - last day of operation with loss of the entire workforce (almost 300).

questions/comments/contributions? email: Steve Birks