Timeline     1790 – 2015

(Dates in Italics are approximate)

1788   Parliamentary Act – Canals Committee approve a new canal from Langley Mill to        Cromford with a branch from Codnor Park to Pinxton

1790    Outram and Co. formed. Francis Beresford buys the freehold of Butterley Hall

1791     First blast furnace fired at Butterley

1792   First partnership deed signed Benjamin Outram, Francis Beresford, William Jessop and John Wright. (Wright owned the Butterley Park estate)

1792 / 3  Canal wharf built at Bullbridge (Amber Wharf)

1793     Fritchley gangroad opened – limestone taken from Crich down to Amber Wharf

1794    Cromford Canal opened / wharf built at Golden Valley

1796      The Company leased from Rev Leigh Hoskins Masters all mineral rights underlying a large part of Codnor Park estate for 63 years

1796      First plate rails supplied to a private company – George Morewood’s Colliery

1800      1st Bill of Exchange engraving – showing a single blast furnace at Butterley

1801      London Docks equipped with Butterley’s rails

1802      Limekilns built at Codnor Park

1802    Carr Wood pit – sunk in 1794. It was connected directly to the Canal Wide Hole under the Foundry. The pit closed in 1817.

1803      Death of Francis Beresford (1737 – 1803)

1803    Butterley fail to get the rail order for the Surrey Iron Railway but supplied rails to  the Croydon, Merstham and Godstone Iron Railway (completed in 1805)

1805      Death of Benjamin Outram (1764 – 1805)

1805      Codnor Park limekilns leased to Edward Banks, George Harrison and Henry Wright for £600 per annum

1806      Wright bought Beresford’s shares for £10,000

1807      ‘Benjamin Outram & Co’ name changed to ‘The Butterley Company’

1807      Derby to Alfreton turnpike completed passing by Butterley Works

1808      William Brunton becomes Company Chief Engineer

1808      Codnor Park Foundry established

1809      The Company builds 13 cottages at Codnor Park to become known as Forge Row

1810     Codnor Park ironworks established – building begins (furnace and forge)

1810 – 1811   (< March)   Butterley pig iron production 3,221 tons (from 3 furnaces)

1811    Cast iron footbridge erected at Boston Lincs over Maude Foster Drain (2nd bridge made by Butterley)

1811     Foundry and Furnace Rows built at Codnor Park

1812      2nd Bill of Exchange engraving – Three blast furnaces shown at Butterley

1813      Codnor Park Ironworks opened – one furnace completed with another under construction. Forge reported to be half finished (Butler’s inventory). Start-up delayed until 1818 because of the post Napoleonic war depression

1813      New partnership agreement drawn up between Wright and the Younger Jessop

1813    Brunton builds his Mechanical Traveller locomotive – successful tests made on the Butterley Gangroad (Crich to Amber wharf).

1814      Death of William Jessop (1745 – 1814)

1815   Castings produced for Vauxhall Bridge and bridge over the River Gomptee,  Lucknow India (2560 castings shipped – 11 broken in transit)

1815     William Brunton resigns as Chief Engineer (1777 – 1851)

1816    Post Napoleonic war depression affects coal and iron production –food tokens used as payment

1817      Joseph Miller becomes Works Engineer

1817      Pentrich Revolution led by James Brandreth – failed and later hanged and beheaded

1818      Forge construction completed and commissioned

1819   Mansfield to Pinxton Railway built for transportation of coal and Mansfield  moulding sand for Codnor Park and Butterley foundries.

1819    Codnor Park Forge started, first ball of iron shingled by a Mr Lindley

1821    Butterley Park pit opened near Knowts Hall, Golden Valley

1822    Portland Pit (Bentinck Pit) sunk

1822    Portland Wharf construction begins at Jacksdale – coal transported by tramway from Kirkby and Selston to the Cromford canal

1825    Joseph Glynn becomes Chief Engineer and was especially famous for draining 90,000 acres of the Fens

1824 to 1847    A total of seventeen Butterley engines mainly to Glynn’s designs were built and installed in the Fens.

1825      Ormonde Colliery sunk (rear of Codnor Castle)

1825      Joseph Miller resigns as Works Engineer (1797 – 1860)

1825    Cromford & High Peak Railway – Middleton Top engine built – 2 cylinder 20HP condensing beam engine and 14 ft diameter flywheel

1828      No.3 Blast furnace installed at Codnor Park

1828      Bailey Brook pit sunk (Heanor Colliery)

1829      Six furnaces at Butterley and Codnor Park – 2 in blast at each site – 35 tons / week  each

1829      James Beaumont Neilson invents ‘Hot Blast’ process in Scotland

1830     John Wright’s son Francis takes over his father’s shares and position in the Company

1830’s   Hot blast installed on blast furnaces at Butterley and Codnor Park – visit to Butterley (1833) by a French engineer (Monsieur Dufrénoy) to study hot blast practice.

1834      Codnor Park No.3 blast furnace complete with hot blast facility

1835     Tramway extended from Portland Wharf into Ironworks providing alternative coal source to Codnor Park Colliery

1835      Butterley Works had by now expanded to cover a 12 acre site

1837      Queen Victoria ascends the Throne

1838      One Butterley blast furnace rebuilt (date-stoned)

1838      Butterley pattern shop built (date-stoned)

1839      Railway bridge built over the River Trent at Sawley

1840      Death of John Wright, last of the original partners (1758 – 1840)

1840      Pentrich Pit (Haslam’s Pit) opened. Closed in 1944

1841      First experiments with steel production at Codnor Park

1842      Report on presence of Ti in ‘blown out’ blast furnace at Butterley (Report by Joseph Glynn F.R.S. and Company Engineer, to the Royal Society)

1843      Cloddy No.7 and No. 8 pits opened supplying 100 coke ovens in Butterley Park, Golden Valley.

1843     Codnor Park limekilns reduced from four to three.

1843    Mechanics Institute built at the bottom of King William Street, Ironville, later to become the Butterley Colliery Offices

1844      ‘Penny Magazine’ visit report ‘A Day at the Butterley Ironworks’ published

1840’s                Construction of the Victoria Foundry at Butterley – (estimated date)

1845    The Forge was one of five suppliers of iron plate for Robert Stevenson’s tubular  ‘Britannia Bridge’ over the Menai Strait, Anglesey.

1845      Britain Colliery built next to Brands Pit (in vicinity of today’s Swanwick Junction)

1847      Lime kilns demolished at Codnor Park after being reduced from 4 to 3 in 1834

1848      Six furnaces in blast out of 20 in Derbyshire (20 – 21,000 tons per year)

1848      Britain Pit opened (includes the Western Fan shaft). Closed 1946

1850      Joseph Glynn resigns as Chief Engineer (1799 – 1863)

1850      4th Blast furnace at Codnor Park (was possibly a modern replacement)

1851      No. 9 Exhibition Pit opened (New Main Colliery) sunk alongside Cloddy pits at Golden Valley

1852    William Jessop (the Younger) died and John Alleyne becomes Chief Engineer and General Manager. Edward Reynolds also joins as Works Engineer (resigns 1860)

1854    Jessop Monument built by the Butterley workmen at Codnor Park in memory of William Jessop II.

1856      Bessemer sells steel converter license to Codnor Park (the process was not installed)

1858      Butterley Bulb Process patented by Sir John Alleyne at Codnor Park

1859     Method of manufacturing wrought iron beams patented by Mr Alleyne

1860      Bullbridge – 8,000 tons of lime and 30,000 tons of stone produced during this year

1861      Extract from Ilkeston Leader and Erewash Valley Advertiser / Visit to Codnor Park Works by The British Association (250 members) whilst in conference at Nottingham

1861      Reversing mill design patented by Mr Alleyne for Codnor Park Forge

1862      Company has seven blast furnaces with five in blast – one fifth of all Derbyshire iron   production

  • Butterley rolls wrought iron beams

1866      Material rolled and cast for St Pancras Station (~ 9,000 tons gross)

1866      Saw mill with steam driven 60 inch diameter circular saw installed on the Top Plain at Butterley

1867     The Leeds Mercury – Quarterly Blast Furnace Report lists Butterley with 7 furnaces – 6 in blast

1867      St Pancras Station finished and later opened

1872      Wrought iron bridge built over the River Maas, Dordretch, Holland.

1873      Francis Wright died (1830 – 1873)

1874      Admiralty instruction to replace wrought iron with steel for boiler production at Codnor Park

1874     Butterley and Codnor Park Boat Clubs’ August regatta at Trent Lock, Long Eaton, hosted by Sir John & Lady Alleyne.

1877 – 1887   Installation and development of the Siemens Martin open hearth furnace at Codnor Park for steel production

1880     JGN Alleyne retires as Company Engineer and Manager

1880 – 1890  Butterley Foundry moved from the Victoria Foundry into a new building

1880     O/S map shows evidence of three cupola furnaces at Butterley (No.1 Sand Foundry)

1884     28 inch plate mill opened at Codnor Park

1886     New sheet mill at Codnor Park

1886    Machinery Market Article – visit to the Butterley Ironworks reports one blast furnace demolished at Butterley. The Company now employs over 10,000 men

1887     Steelmaking in a Siemens Martin Furnace begins at Codnor Park

1887     New 10 inch mill installed at Codnor Park

1888     First steel joists rolled at Codnor Park from Siemens Martin open hearth furnace steel

1888    Butterley incorporated as a Limited Company

1888     November 7th –  One blast furnace relit at Butterley after standing idle for many years

1889     April 3rd  – Two idle stacks at Codnor Park blown in.  Two in blast at Butterley

1889     July 3rd Derby Mercury   – Reported that remodelling of the Siemens Martin Furnace had begun

1890     20 ton open hearth furnaces increased from two to four to increase steel production

1890’s  Liquid iron transported by rail from Butterley to Codnor Park via Swanwick Junction

1895     Plate mill electric plant installed

1901     Ironstone mining finished – Haematite ore now mostly imported from Spain.

1901     Death of Queen Victoria

1902      Mr Leslie Wright becomes MD – majoring restructuring of the Company

1902      Blast furnace operations (at Butterley) stopped (according to Coote & Mottram)

1905      Eustace Mitton appointed mining engineer

1905      Initial discussions about closure of the steel production facilities

1907      December 31st – Steel production ends at Codnor Park

1908      Final horse drawn wagon train on the Denby Colliery to Little Eaton Gangroad

1910      A new 18 inch mill for iron installed at Codnor Park

1911      New electricity generating power plant built at Butterley (powered by 6 boilers)

1911      Major upgrade of Butterley No.1 and No.2 foundries – electrification and installation of overhead gantry cranes.

1913      Photo album produced of large No.2 Foundry castings – copy in Derbyshire Records Office.

1914     Butterley becomes a Public Limited Company through a special Parliamentary Act.

1915    Codnor Park brickworks closed. Mr Fred Leighton Snr. starts work (later to become Forge Manager up to the closure in 1965). Brick production transferred to a modernised Waingroves Brickworks.

1915     Government take-over of Butterley Ironworks (WWI munitions procurement)

1931 /2   Butterley No.1 and No.2 Foundries further extended. The Company ends its own power generation.  New small power house built, later to become the foundry laboratory.

1934 / 5 No.1 Slinger foundry moved into the new No.1 extension. Small greensand hand moulding located between old slinger shop and extension.  Cupolas converted to BCIRA balanced blast type

1937       Butterley buys the patent for floor tiles from Iron Paving Ltd, Park Royal, London

1937      Butterley Foundry becomes a licensee of the International Meehanite Metal Co Ltd.

1937      Mechanised plant moved from Iron Pavings Ltd (Park Royal) along with two small cupolas. Installed in Butterley Foundry as No.3 Mechanised Plant

1939      War declared and the Company goes onto a ‘war footing’.

1940   Wartime steelmaking operations begin at Codnor Park (Tropenas converters) producing manganese steel for track links and spindles (Government financed ‘agency’ factory)

1940       Victoria Foundry buildings used as Gun Shop in WW II

1941       Two Meehanite Equiblast 2 ton/hr cupolas installed on No.3 Mech Plant (replaced two solid bottom cupolas – the third remained standing until 1960’s).

1943        Production of agricultural machinery begins at Codnor Park with a contract signed with Sunshine Harvester Ltd, Australia.

1944       Government orders the steelmaking plant at Codnor Park to be closed down.

1944        Meehanite Equiblast 5 ton per hr (42 inch dia.) cupolas installed in extended No. 1 shop (Top cupolas)

1944        Steel Foundry officially de-commissioned according to government instructions and turned into a shop for steel wagon production

1946       Meehanite Foundry School established at Butterley

1947       First section of the huge Kafr-el-Zyat bridge completed for the River Nile, Egypt

1947      Coal industry nationalised,  Butterley hands over 7 pits, Kirkby brickworks, land and    houses

1949      Sunshine Agricultural (Australia)  ship over 2052 food parcels for Butterley workers

1950      Victoria Foundry buildings used for the production of axle boxes for the Wagon Works

1957       Butterley No.1 and No.3 Foundry modernisation programme begins

1960        High strength ‘nodular graphite’ iron production started in Butterley Foundry by International Meehanite Metal Co Ltd

1960    HMS Agincourt broken up in Ward’s yard, Grays, Essex – F. Leighton (Snr) photographed on the deck. 1500 tons of wrought iron recovered for the Forge

1965       Butterley Foundry modernisation programme completed with installation of the Rol-a- Draw moulding plant

1965         Codnor Park Forge closes down

1966          Retirement of Mr Monty Wright – Chairman

1966          Mr R.F Wilberforce becomes Chairman with John Wright as Vice Chairman

1967          Board disagreements – John Wright sells his shares to James Hansen

1967      New No.3 Foundry Pallet conveyor installed replacing the pre-war pendulum conveyor taken from the Iron Pavings plant

1968          First take-over – Butterley Company becomes part of the Wiles Group

1968         Meehanite Foundry School closes

1973         New fettling shop built on Cinder Bank – Includes heat treatment furnace, (first one in the Foundry’s history).

1973        Butterley Co taken over by Crittall-Hope Engineering Ltd

1975         Codnor Park Wagon Works closes down

1976       Butterley Foundry separated from Butterley Engineering to become part of Lion     Foundry, Kirkintilloch, Scotland

1981      Cupola melting operations stopped – electric melting begins in a 2 ton induction   furnace.

1981       Butterley Foundry separates from Lion Foundry to become Butterley Foundry Ltd, an   autonomous company in the Norcross Engineering Division

1986        Butterley Foundry closes. Last melt made about 100 yards from the first melt in 1791!!

The Foundry’s closure in 1986 marked the end ofthe old Butterley Ironworks, having been engaged for two centuries in smelting, melting, forging, rolling and founding.

1987 / 88   Foundry buildings demolished except for No.2 fettling and despatch bay which was converted into a paint shop for the Constructional Department.

2000      Butterley Engineering Ltd produces and erects the Falkirk Wheel (Scotland)

2005       Butterley Engineering Ltd  produces and erects the Spinnaker Tower at Portsmouth

2009       Butterley Engineering Ltd finally closes

2010       Demolition of the Constructional Department buildings

2013   The blast furnace wall and section of the Cromford Canal Tunnel designated as a ‘Scheduled Ancient Monument’ by English Heritage.

2014    The works site is ‘in administration’ following the collapse of the previous owner’s business. The buildings have significantly deteriorated since last occupied in 2009.

2015    The site is sold by auction Aquarius Estates, to a London based property developer but no further developments had taken place by January 2017.