A brief history of Whitehead Bowls Club will be published here.
A brief history of Whitehead Steel Works Newport
Whitehead Iron and Steel Co
of Tredegar and Courtybella, Newport, Mons. Producers of various rolled steel products, pioneer in the UK of continuous rolling of steel.
1903 L. D. Whitehead purchased at scrap value an old mill at Tredegar; early work was re-rolling axles into iron bars.
1906 Imported one of the few continuous rolling mills from Morgan Construction Company of USA in the face of scepticism in the sector which made financing difficult, which started operation in 1907 but there were teething problems which took years to resolve.
1909 Had run out of money to develop the mill.
1910 Continuous rolling mill finally operating successfully.
1914 Whitehead Iron and Steel Co considering moving from Tredegar to Newport, where the company had purchased land
1920 New mill installed at Newport.
1925 New electro-galvanising process developed and marketed.
1925 Customers were slow to accept the advantage of using coils of steel instead of 10 to 20 foot sections; partly as means of increasing usage of Whitehead’s mill, installed the first 16 Robertson cold rolling mills. Acquired wire mills of J. C. Hill and Co of Cwmbran; at some point the name was changed to Whitehead, Hill and Co.
1930 Second mill announced to be built at Newport.
1931 Closure of the older mill at Tredegar.
1933 Established brickworks.
1933 Agreement with Richard Thomas and Co to supply billets from Redbourn works at Scunthorpe to the Newport rolling mills; Mr L D Whitehead to join the Richard Thomas and Co board. Issue of new shares to pay for completing the no.1 semi-continuous mill at Newport and transfer of the semi-continous (finishing) mill from Tredegar to the Redbourn works which will be operated by a company jointly owned with Richard Thomas and Co named Whitehead Thomas Bar and Strip Co.
1934 New mill at Newport and the transferred mill at Redbourn brought into operation; redeemed oustanding debentures in Whitehead, Hill and Co; electro-galvanising process was a great success – the company was the only manufacturer.
1946 Plan to add an extra strip mill. Carried out major expansion and refurbishment of W. A. Baker and Co to provide a modern engineering department for Whitehead Iron and Steel Co, replacing the Courtybella engineering works at Newport, as well as to supply iron and brass castings at competitive prices to external customers.
1955 Iron and Steel Holding and Realisation Agency offered for sale the whole of the share holding in Whitehead Iron and Steel Co; received eager response with all shares sold very quickly unlike some previous offerings.
1962 The British Cabinet decided that Stewarts and Lloyds‘ attempt to acquire Whitehead Iron and Steel Co (in order to improve integration in the British steel industry) should be prevented and that Richard Thomas and Baldwins should be encouraged to make a competitive offer; recorded as having works in “West Wales and North Lincolnshire”(sic)
1963 Richard Thomas and Baldwins duly made a counter-offer, saying it wanted to protect its market as Whiteheads, an independent reroller, was one of the major customers for slab produced by its new plant at Redbourn. This was seen as a form of re-nationalisation, hence counter to government policy, since Baldwins were the only steel company still owned by the government. Nevertheless Baldwins bid was eventually successful.