A Brief History Of Corby, Northamptonshire.

Corby has grown and is still growing to this day, but once upon a time it was just a village, dating back several years from the arrival of Viking tribal leader Kori to the Romans and on to Corby’s first written proof of existence in William the Conqueror’s famous Domesday Book.

The entry of Corby in the Domesday Book shows an agricultural economy with people living off the land and forest. For over 800 years the lifestyle prevailed without any change, but the old ways of England were about to be challenged by steel making. The income would still be provided by land but not in an agricultural way, the iron ore beneath the fields and woodland would fuel the building of one of Europe’s largest combined steel works.

Andrew Stewart and Samuel Lloyd were the two pioneers of the steel industry. Their company, Stewarts and Lloyds, would bring big changes to Corby.

Samuel Lloyd decided to make what would be the best decision of his life and invest in running his own Ironmaking business; this led him to take a visit to Corby in Northamptonshire and in 1879 that would lead him to set up the Lloyds Ironstone Company who would eventually join with A & J Stewart and Menzies of Glasgow.  Together, they built in Corby, what would become the largest combined Steel Works in not just the United Kingdom, but the whole of Europe. In 1933, the new Stewarts and Lloyds works cost £3.2 million to build.

Corby, which once was an old forest village located in the East Midlands, would change forever and its destiny would be to become a Steel Town on a grand scale.

Mr  Stewart started his own tube making business  in 1860 call Clyde Tube Works, it was based in St Enoch’s Wynd, Glasgow.

The growth of the business was increasing so fast that by 1867 his business had already outgrown the Glasgow site and had to move to a much larger works at Coatbridge.

Andrew Stewart was now known as an ironmaster, the business he started nearly 40 years earlier was now about to take its next big expansion. Andrew Stewart and Samuel Lloyd were competitors in an expanding industry, the worlds big demand for steel was increasing all the time. Two pioneers decided rather than fight and compete against each other, to become one single large company making both steel and tubes on one site in Corby.

The extraction of ironstone in the Corby and North Northants area goes back to the days of the Iron Age Settlers and the later Roman invaders, Production at this time was on a very small scale.

However the arrival of the Lloyd Ironstone Company in the 1880s would begin to change the process of Corby’s small scale production to one of the largest steel producers in Europe.

In 1903, Stewarts and Lloyds was formed, with A & J Stewart and Menzies of Glasgow and Lloyd and Lloyd of Birmingham would join together. However, even though Corby was no longer a small scale steel industry it wasn’t until the 1920’s that it became apparent to Stewart and Lloyds that a large expansion in tube making was desirable and that none of their existing tube works’ sites would be suitable.  Their search for a new site led them to Corby and its 500 million ton iron ore field which lay beneath the soil.

After extensive surveys, studies and endless financial negotiations, construction could finally begin in Corby in the depths of the Great Depression of 1933. A high proportion of the Stewart & Lloyds labour force would be local, by the end of 1936 the total of employees would be around 3,000, half were recruited from the area, about a third were transferred from other steel works and only the balance of about a sixth were engaged from other districts. Men without work were offered a job and provided with a rail ticket and a subsistence allowance by the department of Employment and Productivity. They were also giving temporary accommodation by Stewart and Lloyds in hostels in Corby. The journey for Corby to be a great Steel town in the UK had truly begun.

Stewarts and Lloyds Corby used technology from the very beginning none more so than in its methods to extract the vital iron Ore beneath the Northamptonshire soil. Lloyds Ironstone Company Corby in 1895 purchased a steam powered Wilson Navvy Shovel becoming the first company to use the machine in the iron industry. The idea for the Shovel came from the Manchester Ship Canal which used over 100 of these shovels to build it between 1887 and 1894.

In the 1930s there were still quarries in Northamptonshire being dug out by hand labour to remove the topsoil to get to the Iron Ore.

New quarrying methods were continuing to be invested by Lloyds Ironstone Company and later went on to purchase the Large Long Boomed Steal Shovel in 1905. This giant shovel was made by the American company Atlantic Equipment Company of America who were at the time developing large machinery for use in the planned construction of the Panama Canal (1906-1914)

In the 1980’s, an estimated 6,000 people were to become unemployed as British Steel (Stewarts and Lloyds) closed the steel works. However, this did not stop the people of Corby and the councillors of Westminster and Europe.

They were determined that the town did not die; a quick decision was made to pull the old works down as quickly as possible to show the commitment to redevelopment. Just 15 months later 15,000 new jobs were created by 1,500 new businesses occupying 1.5 million square feet of new business units

Corby was designated a New Town in 1950 and a majority of the housing stock was built after this date. The first new street of many more to be completed was Bessemer Grove, and about the same time the rebuilt Blast Furnace was officially lit by Miss Elspeth MacDiarmid, the daughter of the company’s chairman. In October 1935, the first steel was tapped from the Bessemer converters. The social life of the town then began to settle down again with the new housing and facilities provided by the growing population.

Where is Corby?

Corby is in the north of Northamptonshire, England, and is approximately 104 miles north of London.

Seatons Solicitors Corby

Seatons Solicitors was established in September 1983 when Paul Seaton set up the firm in a small office in Elizabeth Street, Corby using the name Paul Seaton and Company.

In 1989 they merged with another Corby Practice, Walford and Co and moved into their present offices of 1 Alexandra Road, Corby. In 1993 Paul Seaton and Adrian Chambers entered into a partnership together. In 1997 they changed their name to Seaton’s Solicitors.

It’s proven that they’re successful because they offer a friendly and professional legal service to every client. Indeed, the vast majority of our work is directly from or referred from our past clients.

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