- Markham & Co.
Markham & Co. Ltd Industry Heavy Engineering Fate Taken over Predecessor J&W Oliver Successor Davy Markham Founded 1889 (as Markham & Co.) Defunct 1998 Headquarters Chesterfield Products Coal winder, Valves, Tunneling M/c Parent John Brown, Kvaerner
Markham & Co. is an ironworks and steelworks company near Chesterfield, Derbyshire, England.
The Victoria Foundry near Chesterfield, Derbyshire was owned and successfully run by father and son partnership John and William Oliver from the mid-1850s until 1862 when, following the death of the father, it became the sole property of son, William. The Victoria Foundry, located at what was formerly Shepley's Yard, relocated to a greenfield site at Broad Oaks Meadows, south east of the town centre close by the Midland Railway’s main line. Disaster hit the business in 1885, a slump in the coal and iron trades and the high overheads of the new factory and equipment undermined the firm and the following year Oliver had to call in the receivers. In 1889 the business was sold to industrialist Charles Paxton Markham and became Markham & Co. Ltd.
Mining. Markham's continued the business of building winding machinery for collieries begun by Oliver and supplied many of the collieries in Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and South Yorkshire. So well known were Markham's products that in the ten years from 1927, in a time of economic depression, the Markham works built 20 winders for gold mines in South Africa, giving the Chesterfield workforce regular work in a difficult period.
By 1948 the company had built more than 200 steam and electric winding engines and their associated machinery for both the home and export markets. Included in this was a mine winder with a 34 feet diameter drum, 7 feet larger than that which made William Oliver move to new premises.
The company had diversified over the years and, again in 1948, the Broad Oaks works were making haulage gears, rolling mills and ancillary equipment, steel girders, large steel-framed buildings, light alloy extrusion presses, spun cast iron plant, blast furnace plant, large iron castings and research equipment in addition to its involvement in turbine and tunnelling operations.
Tunnelling. In the early years of the twentieth century, as a departure from mining machinery, the company built and supplied tunnelling equipment for the construction of London's new (deep tunnel) Underground, the Mersey Tunnel and during the 1930s the Moscow Underground. The tunnelling equipment was a success and more orders followed, post-war productions included tunnelling shields for the Dartford Tunnel under the River Thames and in the 1980s the same for the Channel Tunnel.
War Time works During the Second World War the firm worked on several secret projects including building X craft submarines for Vickers-Armstrong. They built X22 Exploit, X 23 Xphias, XE 11 Lucifer, XE 12 Excitable. Others were built by Marshalls of Gainsborough and Broadbent of Huddersfield.
They also built a large number of presses for Loewy during the war for other firms making components for the war effort, as well as gun barrel turning lathes and riffling machines for Cravens Ltd a sister company.
In 1925 Charles Paxton Markham reconstituted his company as part of the Staveley Coal and Iron Company and so ensuring its future. The following year Charles Paxton Markham died.
Ownership of the company changed again and by 1937 the firm had been bought by Sheffield-based steel makers and engineers John Brown and Company Ltd for £50,000, the Chesterfield works continuing operations as before.
The works was closed down by Kvaerner in 1998 and the site subsequently redeveloped for housing following a sale by the firm who took over John Brown's parent company.
The company is now merged with another former Trafalgar House engineering subsidiary Davy in Sheffield to form Davy Markham, and specialises in large engineering fabrications and machining works, from the Davy site in Sheffield.
Davy Markham recently worked on the fabrication of the "B of the Bang" sculpture installed outside the City of Manchester Stadium in Manchester, England. This was the tallest sculpture in the UK till recently.
- Mine Winders - 280 between 1869 & 1998
- Steam powered - 140 built 1869 and 1938
- Electric powered - 140 built 1938 to 1998
- Tunnelling Machines - 516 shield & TBMs
- Water Turbines
- Castmaster die casting machine
- A Spun pipe caster for Staveley Iron Works under licence
- Stowing Machines - for backfilling mines
- TLP test rig for Oil Platform anchor tendons
- Subcontract machining and engineering
- Trunnions for Thames barrier
- Nuclear reactor refuelling machine parts
- Machine tools
- Mini submarines
- Official Company Handbook.
- Mine Winders - 280 between 1869 & 1998
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