TitleHallamshire Steel & File Company Limited, Steel and File Manufacturers, Bardwell Road, Sheffield
AdminHistoryThe Hallamshire Steel and File Company Limited was one of the first English firms to be incorporated as a limited liability company on 19 June 1873. The company's founder, and first Managing Director, was William Smith, a file manufacturer from Sheffield. Smith had formerly traded under the name of Earl, Smith & Company (established 1852) with his partners, Mr J.C. Earl and Richard Smith.

Earl, Smith & Company was a small-scale steel and file manufacturing firm. It had started life as a file making business called Earl & Company which was based in Rockingham Street, Sheffield. The growing market for steel during the Industrial Revolution resulted in an increased demand for steel. As a result of this, Earl went into partnership with Richard and William Smith to enable the company to increase its steel production. This economic growth was mirrored by the firm's rapid acquisition of land and property in the Neepsend area of Sheffield to accommodate the expansion of their steel and wire works. By 1871, they had leased or purchased a number of properties situated on Bardwell Road, including; the Albion Iron and Steel Works, a number of cottages and the Prince of Wales Hotel. Together, this would form the basis of company's Hallamshire Steel Works.

Upon the formation of the Hallamshire Steel and File Company in 1873, Smith began to consolidate the firm's ownership of the Neepsend lands and property. He purchased the freeholds of all land formerly held by lease in order to facilitate the rapid expansion of the steelworks. In 1877, Smith ordered the construction of a new rolling mill. However, this still did not meet the increasing demands of production and further land was acquired including the Neepsend Tannery.

William Smith died on 25 August 1885, leaving an estate which was valued at £38,385 16s 2d. He was succeeded by John Hunt as Managing Director of the Company. Hunt had been a Company Director since 1880 and chose to follow his predecessor's ideas for expansion to accommodate further additions to buildings and machinery. By 1900, the company had sold off the Prince of Wales Hotel and reinvested the capital into Thomas Lawrence and Company (steel casting manufacturers). This was a steel casting manufacturers based at Attercliffe Road an Warren Street, Sheffield which had suffered financial difficulties during the slight economic depression of the 1890s. The records of the company from this period are included in this list as it seems that duplicate minutes were held by the parent company.

Despite holding the majority of shares, Hunt chose to run Lawrence and Company as an independent subsidiary, with himself as Managing Director. However, by 1905, Lawrence and Company was still suffering heavy losses despite the financial aid given to them by the Hallamshire Steel and File Company. A decision was reached whereby Lawrence's should cease trading to enable the parent company to wind up the concern before further financial losses could be made. Lawrence and Company formerly ceased trading in 1905 and its surviving machinery, buildings and capital was either absorbed by the Hallamshire Company, or sold off to recoup some of the financial losses.

John Hunt died on 23 March 1903 after acting as Managing Director for twenty-four years. Probate records show that his personal estate was assessed to be worth £14,241 7s 5d. He was followed by Francis P. Smith (d. 1920), John E. Hunt (d. 1934), J. P Hunt (retired 1953) and B. Warden (retired 1960) as successive managing directors of the firm.

Defying the economic depression of the 1930s, the Hallamshire Steel and File Company continued to expand its interests in Sheffield. In 1936, it began the construction of a wire rod rolling mill in Bardwell Road. This was followed by the building of a 22 inch and a 20 inch hot rolling mill on the site of the old wire mill between 1937 and 1938. This reflects the fact that during this period, the company was rapidly building up a reputation as a manufacturer of special steels. This is shown by the certification of trademarks of some of its products as 'Hallamax', 'Hallamite' and 'Hallamitier'.

Under the 1949 Iron and Steel Act, the Hallamshire Steel and File Company was acquired by the Iron and Steel Corporation of Great Britain as part of the government's nationalisation programme. The Ministry of Supply determined that shareholders should be compensated for the amount of 52/- for each 5/- unit or share that they held. The company remained under central government control until 1954 when it was sold to James Neill & Company (Sheffield) Ltd.

James Neill & Company, later James Neill Holdings, was a firm of composite steelmakers. Established in 1919, it was one of the largest composite steel manufacturers in Britain. The Hallamshire Steel and File Company was kept as one complete working unit and was run as a wholly-owned subsidiary of James Neill. As such, the company remained largely independent from its parent company and continued to produce steel and wire as it always had. However, in March 1958, the company was re-named 'The Hallamshire Steel Company Limited' and the official office address was changed to that of Neill and Company's Head Office in Napier Street, Sheffield.

The economic decline of the steel industry during the 1950s resulted in Neill and Company rationalising their assets. This included closing a number of mills and plants at the Hallamshire Works which were proving to be uneconomic. Eventually, in 1969, Hallamshire Steel was merged with other steelworks in Sheffield to create the Sheffield Rolling Mills Limited. Of this, the British Steel Corporation (special steels division) gave 45%, Balfour and Darwins Limited 38% and James Neill Holdings 17% of the total initial assets. As the Hallamshire Steel Company made up the bulk of Neill's contribution, the company effectively ceased to exist as a separate entity from 1969.
DescriptionBUS 1/1 - Corporate Records
BUS 1/2 - Shareholding Records
BUS 1/3 - Correspondence
BUS 1/4 - Financial Records
BUS 1/5 - Patents and Trademarks
BUS 1/6 - Staff Records
BUS 1/7 - Property Records
BUS 1/8 - Promotional Matrial
Date1785 - 1956
Extent77 items
AccessConditionsUnder the Data Protection Act, certain records may be subject to access restrictions. For further information please refer to a member of staff.
CustodialHistoryThe surviving records of the Hallamshire Steel and File Company were held by British Steel PLC until 1994. They were then donated to Sheffield Archives respectively on 21 March and 15 September 1994 (accession numbers 1994/18 and 1994/56) by British Steel's Northern Regional Records Office at Middlesborough. This collection includes records from Thomas Lawrence and Company and Sheffield Rolling Mills Ltd which, directly relate to the Hallamshire Steel and File Company. All original numbers noted on the boards or spines of volumes have been indicated [in square brackets].
ArchNoteCatalogue prepared by Will Bell, 2003.
    Powered by CalmView© 2008-2024