Industrial Ventures in Birmingham

In 1698, the year of his father’s death, Sampson Lloyd and his wife Mary moved from their farm in Leominster to 56 Edgbaston Street in Birmingham to avoid the continuing persecution of the Quakers, and particularly the Five Mile Act, and the Conventicle Act, which banned non-conformist religious assemblies of more than five people. Both Acts were designed to limit the spread of non-conformity and to encourage worship in the established Church of England. Birmingham attracted many Quakers, its atmosphere seemed to favour religious liberty and intellectual freedom.

Sampson and Mary had three children: Charles, born in 1697, Ambrose, born in 1698, and Sampson, born in 1699. On his arrival in Birmingham, Sampson senior opened an iron warehouse and became a successful iron merchant. Sampson and his son, Sampson II erected a slitting mill at the bottom of Bradford Street, near the centre of the town, powered by water from the River Rea. Slitting mills converted iron into rod and bar suitable for nail makers, a commodity in great demand at the time.

After a successful career in the family business, Sampson Lloyd & Sons, he died in 1724 at the age of 60. After his death, his sons Charles and Sampson bought the Town Mill and traded in iron. Sampson also bought a forge in Burton upon Trent, and by 1741, when Charles died, he had become a wealthy man. In 1742 he bought an Elizabethan house in the middle of 56 acres of land, out in the country at Sparkbrook, known as Owens Farm, for £1,290, and over ten years built a grand Georgian house called ‘The Farm’, which is now a listed building, called Lloyd House. Members of the family occupied the house until 1912.

Sampson’s elder brother Charles remained at Dolobran and made many improvements to his family’s home. In 1719 he opened an ironworks nearby, the first in the area. At the time, the price of iron was quite high, and so the high cost of transporting it over long distances on poor roads, from such a remote place, was affordable. Within a few years the price fell, and the business became unprofitable. In 1742 he decided to leave Wales and move Birmingham, where he died in 1747. He had two sons, Exton and James, who both died unmarried.

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