TitleArthur Balfour and Company, steelmakers, subsequently Balfour Darwins
AdminHistoryThe firm was founded in 1865 by Henry Seebohm and George C. Dieckstahl, and was known as Seebohm and Dieckstahl. They owned an 18-hole crucible furnance in Leadmill Steet, Sheffield. The company had business interests across the world. In 1899 the company was incorporated. The early day books show that a large amount of business was conducted with German firms. In 1915 the name of the firm was changed to Arthur Balfour and Company Limited, named after the head of the firm (who had joined the firm in 1888 as an office boy), as anti-German feelings increased.

In 1937 the firm was recorded in the The Aeroplane Directory of the Aviation and Allied Industries as a steel manufacturer who produced "Balfalloy" steel products, "Capital" steel Products and "Griffin" steel products. In 1950 the company became a public company. In 1961 it was recorded as a high grade steel manufacturer and processor and small tool maker. In the same year Arthur Balfour and Company Limited merged with Darwins Limited of Sheffield to form Balfour Darwins Limited. Initially a private company, by the end of 1961 the company became a public company.

The records in this collection relate only to Arthur Balfour and Company Limited. Further records of the Darwin Group can be found in the Aurora collection (Aurora).

The day books in this collection consist of 71 day books from a large accumulation at the office of the company, and also a few volumes of the firm’s Paris office. Owing to the size and the number of the day books, it was not possible to retain them all. A selection was made to show, as far as possible, the areas where the firm traded and to cover different periods.

Arthur Balfour and Company Limited acquired C. Meadows and Company Limited in 1921.

Administrative history based on previous catalogue and Grace’s Guide to British Industrial History [ accessed 28 Mar 2018] and Portrait of Arthur Balfour - Company of Cutlers in Hallamshire [ accessed 28 Mar 2018].
DescriptionArthur Balfour and Company 1869 - 1966 (BDR/1):

Pre-incorporation 1879 - 1922 (BDR/1/1)
Company minutes etc 1899 - 1966 (BDR/1/2)
Finance 1930 - 1962 (BDR/1/3).
Papers relating to formation of companies etc 1902 – 1926 (BDR/1/4)
Steel production records 1905 - 1961 (BDR/1/5)
Day books for Great Britain, Europe, Australasia, South Africa, the Far East, North America, and South America 1869 – 1950 (BDR/1/6 - 14)
Records from the Paris Office of the Company 1919 - 1965 (BDR/1/15)

C. Meadows and Company Limited, steel manufactures, forgers, tilters and rollers, Alliance Rolling Mills, Tinsley Park Road 1891 - 1953 (BDR/2):

Company minutes 1891 - 1953 (BDR/2/1)
Finance 1891 - 1951 (BDR/2/2)
Plant 1925 (BDR/2/3)
Trade Associations 1933 - 1936 (BDR/2/4).

Records of subsidiary companies trading abroad 1902 - 1960 (BDR/3)

Balfour staff superannuation society 1926 - 1954 (BDR/4)
Date1869 - 1966
Extent329 items
RelatedMaterialSheffield City Archives:

Darwin Group (Aurora).

Day books 1865 - [1868] (Aurora/585).

Arthur Balfour and Company Limited, Sheffield: Cash book and register of female employees c 1916 – 1958 (MD8068).

Balfour Family: Papers of 1st and 2nd Lords Riverdale and members of their family, including family records and photographs, some of 1st Lady Riverdale's family (nee Bingham); also House magazine of Arthur Balfour and Company [20th cent] (MD8166).

Stainless Steel License: Arthur Balfour and Company Limited, Capital Steel Works, Sheffield 30 Nov 1933 (NVT/1/8).

Details of firms visited: Arthur Balfour and Company Limited 21 Oct - 5 Nov 1958 (LD2445/1).

Sheffield City Council, Planning Department: Greenland Road and Tinsley Road, Works and Offices. Owner: Seebohm and Dieckstahl 24 Nov 1911 (CA206/23298).

Sheffield Trade Cards: Seebohm & Dieckstahl, Dannemora Steelworks, Sheffield - card of J Crosland of Southport [Lancashire] (with engraving of works) [c. 1890] (SY214/1/13).

Sheffield Local Studies Library:

Billheads: Steel, Metals & Engineering: A collection of correspondence, letters, invoices etc from businesses based in Sheffield from the 19th century to the late 1990s. There is no personal correspondence. This collection concerns Steel, Metals & Engineering related companies. (MP Folder 34).

Sheffield, the City of Steel: The Imperial Review. Vol.3, No.3 31 Mar 1936 (338.4 SQ).

Histories of famous firms: Yorkshire survey: Sheffield 1957 - 1958 (338.4 SQ and 338.4 SSTQ).

Steel city: entrepreneurship, strategy, and technology in Sheffield 1743-1993 by Geoffrey Tweedale, 1995 (338.4 S and 338.4 SST).

Capital and Scimitar News, Arthur Balfour and Company Limited, 1957 - 1968 (052.74 S Journal).

Balfour's Publicity News, Arthur Balfour and Company Limited, 1922 - 1931 (052.74 S Journal).

An imperial German consulate in Sheffield : its rise and fall,1892-1914 by Gerald Newton (327.2 SQ).

Acero herramientas [steel tools]: catalogue general by Seebohm & Dieckstahl Ltd, c. 1910 (TRC SEEB).

Dannemora Steel Works 1890 (MP 3964 M PHOTOCOPY).

Visits and excursions [to some of the main Sheffield and Rotherham steel manufacturing firms by members of the Iron and Steel Institute] 1905 (MP 1854 M and MP 1854 M Photocopy).
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