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.