Stewarts & Lloyds Ltd

Stewarts & Lloyds Ltd, iron and steel tube manufacturers, Corby, Northamptonshire, England was created in 1903 by the amalgamation of two of the largest iron and steel manufacturers in Britain, A & J Stewart & Menzies Ltd , Coatbridge, and Lloyd & Lloyd Ltd, Birmingham.

Andrew Stewart had been employed by Eadies of Dalmarnock, as a sales representative. Eadies specialised in the manufacture of lapwelded and loose flange tubes. However, Stewart recognised that there was a market for gas pipe but when Eadies refused to acknowledge Stewart's proposals, Stewart set up on his own.

Stewart and his brother established a small works at St Enochs, Glasgow, Scotland. They met with rapid success and in 1867 moved to Coatbridge where they could expand.

Here they build the Clyde Tube Works. In 1882 the company was incorporated with limited liability as A & J Stewart Ltd.

 Clyde Tube Works

The c omp a n y ex p a nd e d to b ec om e the l a r ges t t ub e m a nuf a ctur e r s i n Gr ea t Brit a in , its Sun Found ry and Tube Work s b e ing o p e n e d in 1 88 4 , t h e Briti s h Tube Work s in Dun dy v a n R o ad fi ve y e a r s lat e r , a nd th e l a rg es t , th e Impe r ial Tube Work s in 1 9 00. At th e Imperial , t ubin g o f a ll s i zes, f rom on e-eighth o f a n inch t o 6 f t in diam e t e r w a s once manufactured . Th e a re a a ro und Co atd y k e thu s b e c a m e k now n as St ewart ' s L a nd.

In 1889, Andrew Stewart saw his sons set up their own business in Glasgow as tube manufacturers under the name of Stewart Brothers.

A & J Stewart Ltd recognised the need to safeguard their business and adopted the policy to control some of the raw material required for the manufacture of tubes. In accordance with this policy they merged A & J Stewart Ltd, Stewart Brothers, and the Clydesdale Iron & Steel Co in 1890. The Clydesdale Iron & Steel Co, established in 1870, were suppliers of strips and plates for tube manufacture. The new company name was A & J Stewart & Clydesdale Ltd.

In 1898, the company acquired the business of James Menzies & Co and was renamed, A & J Stewart & Menzies Ltd.

James Menzies had also previously worked for Eadies of Dalmarnock but in 1875 had set up on his own manufacturing tubes at the Phoenix Works, Rutherglen, Glasgow. 1899 saw further expansion with the construction of new works at Airdrie, North Lanarkshire. In 1901 Andrew Stewart died and his son John Graham Stewart succeeded him as chairman of the company. 1903 saw the merger with Lloyd & Lloyd

Clyde Tube Works c1914

Clyde Tube Works c1916

From its creation in 1903, Stewarts & Lloyds Ltd set about establishing its position and extending its interests. In 1908 Stewarts & Lloyds Ltd  acquired the controlling interest in Robert Addie & Sons (Collieries) Ltd, although they later sold out in 1924.

In 1912 they acquired the business of the British Welding Co Ltd, Motherwell, North Lanarkshire, manufacturers of hydraulic welded tubes. 1914 saw the establishment of new works at Tollcross, Glasgow, for the manufacture of seamless tubes. In 1918, Stewarts & Lloyds Ltd acquired the controlling interest in North Lincolnshire Iron Co Ltd, although they disposed of this interest in 1931. In 1920 the company acquired the firm of Alfred Hickman, steel manufacturers, Bilston, Midlothian, Scotland, together with its subsidiaries; Lloyds Ironstone Co Ltd and Ernest N Wright Ltd.

In 1925, John Stewart died and was replaced by R M Wilson. However, a year later Wilson resigned and A C MacDiarmid took over as company chairman. In the 1920's the company gained controlling interests and acquired various companies in England.   In 1932, the company acquired Scottish Tube Co Ltd that was also established in that year.

In 1932, the company moved to Corby, Northampton shire, England. By this time, production of basic steel from steel tubes and strips was limited and so to obtain cheap basic Bressemer steel the company relocated to the ore fields of Corby. By 1953, the company was the main producers of steel tubes in Scotland producing 250,000 tons of tubing, the bulk of which were used at the Corby site.

At this time, the firm still had 8 of its original works in Scotland: the British Clyde & Calder works, Coatbridge; Imperial Works, Airdrie; Tollcross Works, Glasgow; Phoenix Works, Rutherglen; and Clydesdale Works, Bellshill. In 1958, the company's main office was still in Oswald Street, Glasgow.

The end of Stewarts & Lloyds ownership came in 1967, when the steel industry was nationalised for the second time, and the company became part of the British Steel Corporation .

Due to the high cost and low quality of local iron ore, steel production at Corby was set to close in November 1979. This was delayed until 21 May 1980, due to a national steel strike, when the last coil came off the mill. In nearly 40 years of steel production they had made almost 2.5 million tons. Tubemaking continues to this day, initially based on steel supplied from Teesside , and today Corus Tubes is the largest customer of steel from South Wales. Stewarts & Lloyds was formally dissolved in 1997.

Clyde Tube Works - Demolished after Stewarts & Lloyds transferred production to Corby. William Lawson & Sons Whisky Bottling plant and  now Howdens Joinery on this site

Charles C. Smith  (1954). Notes on the History and Development of Stewarts & Lloyds Ltd

P hotographs from The John White Collection

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