Steelway Article E & S 30.12.10 Carl Chinn Page 1


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Article on Steelway by Prof. Carl Chinn - Express and Star page 1 of 2

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Steelway Article E & S 30.12.10 Carl Chinn Page 1

  1. 1. 22 Express & Star, Thursday December 30, 2010 The Carl Chinn page Jack’s long a firm that M Black Country ORE than a year ago, Black Country Memo- ries highlighted the history of the long-established and important Wolverhampton firm of Steelway on the Bilston Road. Memories This pioneering company manu- factured the UK’s first pedestrian safety barriers, which were in- stalled in July 1934 at the busy junction of Princes Square in the Dr Carl Chinn town. After this launch, a second installa- received by Steelway from New Scot- After an accident there involving a tion was carried out three days later land Yard. It read: boy, council officials had sought a on March 22, 1935, at Whitechapel “Now that the coronation is a mat- means of protection to stop pedestri- Crossing for the Metropolitan Bor- ter of history, I should like to express ans walking off a blind corner into ough of Stepney. my thanks to your firm for the effi- the path of motorists. This was a remarkable achieve- cient way in which you met the de- They approached Steelway, which ment for a relatively new business mand for barrier material. then designed the safety barriers in which had only been founded in 1928 “As you know the barriers were of consultation with Edwin Tilley, the at the Queensgate Works site in unusual design, which required spe- chief constable, and Mr H B Robin- Wolverhampton by C W. Goodyear. cial attention by you in manufacture. son, the borough engineer and sur- Innovative They proved most satisfactory, and I veyor. have not had any complaints regard- The barriers were a resounding Three years later it had merged ing them. This is a matter of satisfac- success and quickly the company with F Hammond & Co, a noted man- tion to all concerned.” gained national attention for its pio- ufacturer of handrail standards – and Some of the parts were used again neering product. now it was hitting the national head- for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth On March 19, 1935 Mr Hore-Bel- lines. It continued to do so. II in 1953. isha, the Minister of Transport whose In 1937 the innovative Wolver- A pioneering enterprise in indus- name is recalled in the Belisha bea- hampton company manufactured the trial metalwork access, Steelway be- con, inaugurated London’s first sockets and detachable uprights to came well known and highly regarded pedestrian safety barriers at Britan- form crowd control barriers for the for its flooring, ladders, stairs, nia Crossing, Camden. They were coronation of King George VI. After handrails, guardrails, and platforms. also supplied by Steelway. the event a letter of appreciation was It continues to be held in esteem for Left, one of the Steelway dinners, per- haps the 1953 welcoming party for Fred Willetts, who had just bought the company. John Carrier is the chap with the glasses on, sit- ting at the left-hand table, second from the left. Right, one of the Bennett Clark photos of Princes Square, Wolverhamp- ton, in about 1934 showing the UK’s first ever pedestrian safety barriers which the com- pany supplied free of charge to Wolverhamp- ton Council as part of an ex- periment. This is the photo that stirred Shirley into writing in about her father. Jack was in the Home Guard during the Second World in an indoor shelter on the floor of our front room. We War because, as Shirley explains, “he was in an essen- lived at 140 Bushbury Lane until it was demolished in tial war-time occupation”. She thinks his unit was the 1970s, when my parents moved to Pendeford (to based at Dunstall Race Course and recalls that “he be near me). I remember him polishing the buttons on talked about a look-out post for enemy aircraft. I was his uniform using a special guard which fitted round born in 1939 and my very first memory is of sleeping the buttons to stop the polish going on the uniform.”