Beaver Iron and Steel Works

The steel works were founded around 1857 by Isaac Jenks who also owned the nearby Minerva Iron and Steel Works.

He learned how to convert puddled, or malleable iron into puddled steel during his time at Solley Brothers’ Great Bridge Iron Works.

His high quality steel was ideal for making springs. At Beaver Works large numbers of railway springs were produced.

Jenks’ main products other than springs and spring steel were iron, blister steel, merchant bars and sheets, wire rods, and rolled taper brake lever bars.

Jenks became one of the wealthiest ironmasters in Wolverhampton, and by the early 1870s supplied up to 80% of the total UK steel exports to the USA.

Beaver Iron and Steel Works in 1872.

An advert from 1872.

The works are marked on the 1919 Ordnance Survey map as Beaver Iron and Steel Works (disused). The buildings adjoining Lower Horseley Fields seem to have survived for many years and were still in use in the 1960s when occupied by a press working company,  Carbjectors (Silencers) Limited.

The site of Beaver works, as it is today. Neve's Opening is on the extreme left.

Swan Garden Iron Works

Swan Garden Iron Works is listed in White’s 1851 Staffordshire Directory as belonging to Edward T. White.

Around 1858 the site was purchased by G.B. Thorneycroft & Company, the owner of Shrubbery Ironworks.

The factory was used for the rolling of lengths of iron plate, and rounds and squares.

In the early 1880s John Lysaght decided to expand into the Midlands and purchased the Osier Bed Iron Company and Swan Garden Iron Works. It’s likely that he purchased both factories for their rolling mills. Both factories produced galvanised sheet steel, and galvanised corrugated steel.

After his death in 1895, his company, John Lysaght Limited decided to move to Newport in South Wales. As a result both factories were closed. It seems however that Swan Garden ironworks remained in the company’s ownership for many years.  It is listed in the 1938 Wolverhampton Red Book as belonging to John Lysaght Limited.

In 1953 Qualcast came to Wolverhampton after purchasing the Swan Garden site, and the nearby Crane Foundry.

Several new buildings were erected at Swan Garden, some of which still stand today. In the factory Qualcast produced a range of castings from 0.5 to 3 hundredweights for motor cars, commercial vehicles, farm tractors, stationary engines, electric motors, refrigerators, and domestic water heaters.

Things started to go wrong during the recession of the 1970s when many of the country’s foundries closed.

Qualcast was hit hard by a series of industrial disputes and the Swan Garden Foundry lost a lot of orders due to the recession in the tractor industry, which resulted in the workforce being reduced from 420 to 280.

The work’s output fell from 500 to 290 tons per week, which proved to be unprofitable.

An advert from 1970.

The Swan Garden Foundry closed on 24th June, 1972 and the site remained derelict for many years. Today the site is occupied by Commercial Truck Repairs Wolverhampton.

The front of the derelict Qualcast factory. As seen from Colliery Road in 2001.


The back of the remaining Qualcast buildings in 2001.

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