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Vol. 23 1979

Enterprise and capital for non-ferrous metal smelting in Glamorgan, 1694-1924

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Herefordshire, Esq., Samuel Munckley, Richard Bright, Levi
Ames, William Delpratt and Thomas Sims of the City of Bristol,
merchants". Little information is available about membership of
the firm in the nineteenth century except that Jeremiah Ames,
Benjamin Heywood Bright, John Freeman and a certain Beckett
were lessees of land at White Rock soon after 1800[9].
In the 1790s three groups of copper-users from the Birmingham
district operated smelting works in Glamorgan. The first, the
Birmingham Mining and Copper Co., had been established in 1790
as a co-operative venture for buying mines and setting up smelting
works to meet the needs of the shareholders. Its formation was part
of the reaction in the Midlands against the monopolistic practices of
the Anglesey and Cornish mining interests led by Thomas Williams.
The company initially had a capital of £ 50,000 in £ 100 shares, each
subscriber being limited to five shares and obliged to buy a certain
amount of metal per share held. It set up its new Ynys (alias
Birmingham) Works in the Tawe Valley in 1793 and held it for a
period of forty years. Four years later a similar co-operative
partnership of Birmingham people, the Crown Copper & Spelter
Co., opened works on the Neath river which it operated until 1839.
In 1797 also, another Birmingham based firm, the Rose Copper
Smelting Co., took over and "considerably enlarged" a smelter on
the river Tawe which had been operated since 1780 by Fenton &
Co., of Leeds. This partnership produced mainly for the market
rather than for meeting the requirements of the members who
included Matthew Boulton, Joseph Gibbins, W. and A. Baldwin,
Walter Gibbon and T. Holbrook (the latter having been the
Swansea agent of Fenton & Co.) [10].
The Cheadle Brass Wire Co., from Staffordshire, took over the
copper works at Penclawdd, probably in 1792, and operated it until
1812 when they moved to an establishment near Neath Abbey
which they held for about ten years. This important partnership had
been set up in 1719 by people with a wide range of interests, and it
operated brass works at Cheadle. By 1788 the share capital was
£ 30,000, of which Thomas Patten, son of the firm's founder, owned
fl8,000 the remainder being held by six partners. Borrowed
capital then amounted to L10,000 and to £ 29,500 in 1793, by
which time also a call for a further £ 10,000 had been made on the
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