THE HAWARDEN BRIDGE, SHOTTON, CHESTER, IRON AND STEEL WORKS OF MESSRS. JOHN SUMMERS AND CO.* P. S. RICHARDS, M.A., M.PHIL. The GROWTH OF THE INDUSTRY In 1842, John Summers, the founder of the firm, owned a workshop in Dukinfield, Cheshire, where he made clogs for the local cotton workers. He was hardworking and thrifty and soon took on assistants to help him with his expanding business. In 1851 he visited the Great Exhibition at the Crystal Palace where he saw a machine for making nails. He bought it for about forty pounds. The premises at Dukinfield became too cramped and shortly after his visit to the Great Exhibition (about 1860, the precise date is unknown) he bought an old engineering works in Stalybridge. Although transport facilities were excellent (road, railway and canal were adjacent to the works), room for expansion was limited. John Summers, however, was an enterprising person. He had started by making clogs, then he made the nails for those clogs and in 1860 he introduced a mill for the hand-rolling of crude steel sheets from puddled iron. The first steps in backward integration had been taken, which resulted in a small nail-making business in Staly- bridge becoming a complete iron and steel works, where iron ore was processed to become steel sheets, many of which were given a protective coating to make them even more durable. Towards the end of the century, he was rolling high quality sheets of steel, from bars imported from America and the Continent instead of using the puddled iron made in this country, and although he started galvanising in 1894, and corrugating, the manufacture of nails remained the chief activity. This original plant is still the largest producer of cut nails in Great Britain. When, however, the galvanising pot was put down the firm was taking the first steps to becoming the largest producer of galvanised sheets in the country. Expansion during the closing years of the nineteenth century was very rapid and by 1895 all the available land at Stalybridge was covered with buildings, some thirteen mills, a number of galvanising pots and finishing equipment. The MOVE TO Hawarden Bridge In 1896 the Hawarden Bridge iron and steel works were opened. The Stalybridge site was inadequate for the expansion that the firm contemplated in order to supply the rapidly-growing markets both at home and abroad and the present site on the Dee flats was chosen. The decision to move was taken in 1895, and in 1896 six (some references say eight) steam driven sheet mills, together with galvanising pots, anneal- ing furnaces and finishing equipment were working. About 600 tons of sheet steel *Based upon the author's thesis, The Deeside of North Waleø-A Study in Industrial Location (M. Phil., London 1873). (It should, perhaps, be added in fairness to the writer that this article was prepared before serious doubts were cast upon the future of the Shotton Works. Ed.)