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RichardB

Samuel Fox

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Can't put a date to this, but I guess it is old, as there are no 'phone numbers

Railway Bylines (Irwell Press) has a detailed two part article on the Stocksbridge Railway and Sammy Fox's - Volume 12 Nos 6 and 7 (May and June 2007). As the title of the magazine suggests, this is approaching the subject from the railway angle, but there is plenty of background as well.

The Stocksbridge Railway was the main line form Samuel Fox's Works to the exchamge sidings with the M S & L R (later GCR, LNER and BR) at Deepcar, and was nnominally a separate company, although it was wholly owned by Samuel Fox & Co. The internal railways in the works belonged to Samuel Fox & Co.

The article contains a quite splendid map (extracted from the OS 25 inch map of 1931) of the whole railway.

For some recent photos of the Stocksbridge railway, see here:

http://www.topforge.co.uk/Other%20Industri...e%20Railway.htm

Looks to me that the whole of the Wortley Top Forge Site (www.topforge.co.uk) coul dbe usefult o anyone interested in local industrial history and archaeology.

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At one time Foxes were famous for their springs.

One of their customers was Rolls Royce.

Now, most companies would be happy to have springs delivered wrapped in oiled paper and stacked in a wooden crate but not the chaps from Crew.

Foxes employed a man whos sole job it was to sit in a locked cage and stitch the springs by hand in to greased up leather pouches!!

Bet BMW dont do that these days!!

I used to work at Fox's in the BSC days and further to the above,, the guy who carefully stitched the leaf-springs into the leather cases used to first coat them in a very thick layer of a special substance. This gunk was specially formulated by, I think Havoline, and was similar to brown boot polish when the solvent had evaporated. If you were on very good terms with the guy, he would give you a bit to paint around under your wheel-arches. It made amazing underseal, but you couldn't tell anyone else as it was supplied from RR and they only sent enough for the springs.

This was about 35 years ago and the guy was knocking-on then 'so I don't think he will get into trouble.

Happy Days !!!

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On a warm, bright, summers day we get the bus to the main gate, wearing high visibilty vests, we walk on the old part what was the disused corn mill. Over the road is a public footpath going past part of this vast site, having been told of live CCTV and Security we keep an eye out. Into the first part of the empty buildings, here had been stripped, we move back onto the Public Footpath and chance our luck at another empty. We walk up to the upper part here we encounter security, oh forgive us mate, we thought it was part of the path, so we walk on back down and back onto the path.

Going past the back of the Old Corn Mill we walk upwards now over looking the other side and older part of the works in the valley, time for a rest for one of us. Off alone I wander and pushing my luck I take a walk down some rusty old steps, we know the old forge is empty but another white van looms, he meets us and becomes a little aggressive, soon we have him talking away for over 15 mins.

images of our time there http://underclassrising.net/reports/Samuel...pany/index.html

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I worked at Stocksbridge on the technical side from 1970 until ill-health forced me to find a less physical occupation in 1984.

I enjoyed almost every minute of my time there and eventually worked my way up to manage a team of technicians. It makes me very sad to see a once great integrated steelworks that produced products ranging from a 7.5 tonne alloy steel ingot to a tiny coiled spring for a kitchen timer becoming a tiny shadow of it's former self. They even produced "nit combs" out of brass strip for a medical shampoo company. When I went there the main No. 2 Melting shop had 4 electric-arc furnaces taking a total of something like 60 Megawatts (enough for a town like Doncaster). The furnace transformers were fed at high voltage (66kV ? or it could have been 33kV), from huge circuit-breakers located high up on the hillside.

The circuit-breakers were made by Brown Boveri and used an air blast to make or break the contacts and to blow the arc away from the contacts. They were housed in seperate block-houses with 6 chimneys on the roof to take the blast and flame from the double-break 3 phase breaker. The principle of operation was to charge up a large air cylinder from an even larger cylinder beneath it and then release the air into the breaker arms via giant poppet valves. The noise that these breakers made could be heard all over Stocksbridge. Mounted adjacent to the breaker was an off-load motorised isolating switch. In order to have a fail safe indication of the isolator operation to the control cabin down in the melting-shop, a CCTV camera was mounted in a little annexe.

This camera looked through a barred hole high in the wall towards the isolator and the monitor was down in the melting-shop. This was in the days of valved camera's with vidicon tubes and regular maintenance was required.

As you can imagine the task of servicing the camera was not popular, with the ever present possibility of a heart-stopping huge bang accompanied by flashes of flame less than about 6 feet away. An attempt was made to fit a plastic window but this very rapidly became covered in dust and dirt and had to be removed.

The engineer in charge of the high-voltage engineers was asked to look into the problem and hauled his portly frame up the ladder and looked through the bars. At that moment the breaker opened and the blast blew his bowler hat off his head,out through the door and into the switching compound.

I can't remember what the eventual outcome was but I don't think he went up the ladder again.

To be high up on the walk-ways of the melting shop when several furnaces were "cogging down" on fresh scrap loads was akin to being present at the end of the world. Watching large ingots being squeezed like soft butter in the primary mill in the billet mill was awe-inspiring.

All these things now happening to a large extent in other parts of the world, while we British work in service industries and work at passing around other peoples money.

Rant over !

HD

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A fine collection of photos of the railway rolling stock at Stocksbridge Steel Works:

http://paulbartlett....cksbridgewagons

The main focus is on the various wagons, but some cranes and locomtoives are also included.

Of note is the one of loco 38 which is carrying a "Stocksbridge Railway Co" plate on the cabside, this being the last loco to be nominally owned by the Stocksbridge Railway Company rather than the steel works.

Also of interest is the fuel oil tanker, built in 1908 and still going strong!

All the locos in this collection are of the "Janus" type, made at Meadowhall by the Yorkshire Engine Company :).

Edited by madannie77
added some more detail

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Late 1950's

Hi just watched this film, brilliant memories especially the holerith depart where i worked at this time ,sotted my old boss and a few old workmates , thanks for the memories.

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From "A Technical Survey of the Iron & Steel Works of Appleby-Frodingham Steel Company" published by Iron & Coal Trades Review in 1955:

i-zh53CF8-X3.jpg

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On 17/05/2009 at 20:44, madannie77 said:

post-6334-1242588692_thumb.jpg

 

Can't put a date to this, but I guess it is old, as there are no 'phone numbers

 

Railway Bylines (Irwell Press) has a detailed two part article on the Stocksbridge Railway and Sammy Fox's - Volume 12 Nos 6 and 7 (May and June 2007). As the title of the magazine suggests, this is approaching the subject from the railway angle, but there is plenty of background as well.

 

The Stocksbridge Railway was the main line form Samuel Fox's Works to the exchamge sidings with the M S & L R (later GCR, LNER and BR) at Deepcar, and was nnominally a separate company, although it was wholly owned by Samuel Fox & Co. The internal railways in the works belonged to Samuel Fox & Co.

 

The article contains a quite splendid map (extracted from the OS 25 inch map of 1931) of the whole railway.

 

For some recent photos of the Stocksbridge railway, see here:

 

http://www.topforge.co.uk/Other%20Industri...e%20Railway.htm

 

Looks to me that the whole of the Wortley Top Forge Site (www.topforge.co.uk) coul dbe usefult o anyone interested in local industrial history and archaeology.

The Umbrella frames were produced in Penistone by a company called "Foxes Frames" There was a blue plaque on the wall of the offices recording the connection with the Samual Fox company. Today that site is now a housing estate. If you google Foxes Frames you will find the company is now in China.

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